How to Become a Basketball Referee


Over the last few years, the popularity of organized youth basketball and AAU basketball has created a surge in the demand for men and women that choose to become a basketball referee. There is quite simply a lot of work out there. And with teams organizing at younger and younger ages, there seems to be no letting up.

Basketball is a great game to officiate because it can be played year round. It many areas, it is equally popular outdoors in the summer as it is indoors during the winter season. Also, it has become almost as popular among the girls as the boys. And because officials must move with the pace of play, reffing basketball is a fine way to be part of the game and stay fit at the same time.

Basketball Referee Training

To become a certified basketball referee, you must achieve a passing grade on a written rules exam. In many cases, you must also pass a floor test during which you officiate live action. This is to show that you also understand how to apply the rules in a game situation.

Because basketball referee training and certification is done on a state by state basis, you must go to the website which handles high school sports in your own state to find information about how to become a basketball referee.

What you do next will depend on your state. Some states provide all of the training and testing online. In this case you will be asked to complete an application and submit a registration payment before you can proceed. After that, you will be provided with study materials and instructions on how to take an online test to demonstrate you understanding of the rules.

In other states, you will register with a local association or chapter where you will receive individual training and testing from veteran basketball officials within your area. These veteran officials will instruct you on the written and unwritten rules of basketball as they prepare you to move forward as a referee.

Go to the choose a state page to find the links for your state athletic or activities association.

Ready to see what the written rules of high school basketball are all about? Here is the place to start: 2015-16 NFHS Basketball Rules by Topic

And for a more visual resource, this book is excellent: 2015-16 NFHS Basketball Rules Simplified & Illustrated

Basketball Referee Uniform and Equipment


  • Black court shoes

Reebok Zig Energy Ref Mens Basketball Shoe

  • Black socks
  • Black slacks
  • Black belt (if pants are not beltless)
  • Black and white stripped shirt
  • Fox 40 whistle

Fox 40 Mini CMG Whistle, Black

  • Lanyard or Smitty
  • Pre game Jacket if required


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