Good refereeing is the key to a fair contest in nearly any sporting event. A bad call has the potential to alter a game in favour of one team over the other. Bad calls eliminates fair play in the game, causing it to become more a game of chance. Basketball is particularly reliant on referees to call fouls. Dealing with a bad referee requires patience.

The referee should not be making calls maliciously and it is likely that he is unaware of his own bad performance. Do not point out the bad call in a rude way as this will not help your cause, mentioning your problem in a more general way can alert the referee to your concerns and give him/her things to watch out for. For example, if the referee is calling fouls unfairly against your team, ask them to watch the other team for drawing fouls. Talk to the other referees on the court as well to address bad calls if a specific ref is to blame.

A bad referee is more likely to penalise you for aggressive play in basketball since the game is not considered a contact sport. Give the other team a little more space when dealing with a bad referee to try to prevent unjust calls. Playing more conservatively for a little while may calm the referee and get him/her to start calling things more fairly.

While two wrongs don’t make a right, one bad call sometimes counteracts another. Try drawing fouls if you have a referee that is overly eager to blow the whistle during the game. If an opposing player nudges you or a teammate during the game, play up that contact. Do not overuse this tactic, as other referees on the court may pick up on it and start penalising your team as a result.

When you are limited in what you can do during a game, you have the right to file a formal complaint after the game is over. Nearly every organised basketball league has standards and policies that their officials are expected to live up to. You can video tape your game and write a formal complaint explaining what calls were made by the referee and why those calls were faulty. Even if the referee isn’t removed from duty, they may be prevented from overseeing your future games.

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