Consistency? My conclusion is that there is very little consistency with throw-in inbounding procedures among the officials that I have been observing here in Utah in the past few weeks. Each official seems to do it a bit differently, and many do not follow the guidelines set forth in the 2017-19 NFHS Basketball Officials Manual.
Giving the ball to the inbound thrower involves several steps. For seasoned officials, it is routine, but for newer officials it can be very confusing. It reminds me of kids learning to simultaneously rub their bellies and tap their heads. In this case, it involves using both hands and sometimes blowing a whistle. It seems easy, but there is pointing to the inbound spot, blowing the whistle (when appropriate), bouncing or handing the ball to the thrower, giving a five count, and chopping the clock. Yes, there are a lot of responsibilities.
This may seem like I am making a lot out of a little, but according to the NFHS Officials Manual, there is a prescribed right way to inbound the ball.
Here is what the 2017-19 NFHS Officials Manual says.....
PAGE 35 * #9 & 10 * 2-Official Crew
9. The administering official shall begin the five-second count, using the arm nearer the thrower, when the ball is at the thrower's disposal. The count is silent and visible.
10. If the clock has been stopped, the administering official should signal to start the clock, using the arm farther from the thrower, when the released ball legally touches a player who is inbounds.
For 3-Person Crews, the same information can be found Page 66 #'s 11 & 12
Watch this short video clip collection of Utah officials going through their throw-in mechanics. Each looks different. Personality comes a bit into play, but we should at least be consistent in the way to get the ball to the thrower, raise the proper arm for the clock, and use the proper arm for the five count.
YOUTUBE LINK - https://youtu.be/ejHETeKcKpI
For me, this was new information with years of little thought being given by me as to which arm did what during the throw-in. After learning the right way to do it, it has taken me quite a while to break the habits from years of doing it wrong. If you are a new official, then start off using the arm closest to the thrower for the five count and the arm farther away to chop the clock. And seasoned officials, evaluate your mechanics (watch some video of yourself) and then clean up this procedure if you are doing it backwards.
Is it a big deal? To those that know, it makes the official look either uninformed, stubborn, or lazy when it is done incorrectly. It shows that they are not striving to read the guidelines and use the mechanics mandated by our UHSAA employer. But this is an easy fix. It may take a dozen games to break the bad habits, but it is a straightforward fix.
Keep in mind that when you do it backwards, then it is obvious to anybody watching you... There is just no way to conceal doing it reversed. I'm sorely tempted to state that doing it backwards makes one look like a Bozo (the clown), but of course I would never say anything disparaging like that. The reality is that we should be striving to create a "No-Bozos" zone on the courts where we officiate, especially when the Bozo is ourself. :-)
Make it a great game! Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah