Whether you're a coach or a fan, there will be times that you'll find that you don't agree with what the referees have called in a particular situation. Of course, the same can be said about the 'no-calls' in sports, as well. Regardless of the sport, there will always be a certain level of disagreement, as they're not always going to get it right. Baseball seems to be the worst in this - however - basketball can sometimes be just as bad in this, especially at the youth level.
In all of the missed calls, it does seem as if the 'over the back' call is one that's generally missed more than many. I watched a NBA playoff game on cable.tv the other day and in my opinion counted 20 ‘over the back’ situations and only 3 were actually called by the refs, which resulted in a foul. They are better at referring games than I am and I’m watching it from the television, but the ‘over the back’ call isn't a subjective call nor is it difficult to see happen as it occurs. These plays happen right in plain sight. They aren't "missed calls", they are blatant "no-calls".
One of the most infuriating things about the no call is that it's flying in the face of the fundamentals. It's extremely important to teach young players how to be fundamentally sound, especially when we're on the defensive side. Boxing out is imperative to properly crashing the boards - a trait that all players should have - regardless of the position that they play.
One of the worst things about the controversy is that there's a chance that the players would be hesitant in game time situations because they may have a player climb all over their back to grab the ball. Not only is it something that can lead them to some level of injury, but it may stop them from making a bigger impact on the glass going forward. If they know that there's a chance that they'll have another player jumping all over them, they may simply choose not to exert the effort.
There are a few theories as to why referees don't call over the back as much as they should. For one thing, coaches may assume that their player has better inside positioning than the other - often taller - player, however he doesn't quite get the rebound because of sheer size. The referees generally won't call it because - while there may be a little contact - that's what they assume is supposed to happen. It's the law of nature. It's not often that you'd expect a 6-foot guy to get a rebound over a player who outweighs them by 50 and has 6 inches on them.
This doesn't excuse them, but the point is to give a bit of perspective into the mind of the referee. Either way, its a slap in the face to the game of basketball for those of us who are purists.
Make no mistake about it; the over the back call is one of the most under-utilized call in basketball. Unfortunately, this is something that's the case in basketball at basically all levels. Coaches do everything they can to assure that their players have the technique down to a T, even if they're going against a much taller player going for a rebound.
There may not be a time where fundamentally-sound athletes are rewarded for doing what they should do in this case, but it's important that young athletes continue to exert the effort even if they don't get rewarded for all of their hard work.
Author: Lamar Hull is a former NCAA basketball player for Davidson College. He also played overseas professionally. Lamar loves writing about sports and teaching young kids how to play basketball. You can follow Lamar @lamarhull20 and then be sure to check out his website @ www.inspirationalbasketball.com
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