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How to run the scoreboard (clock) for a Basketball game

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Written by Bill Hanks   



When an individual is asked to run a scoreboard at a basketball game, their first thought is "no way".  For an individual that has never done it before, I can understand that feeling.  However, running the clock is easier than keeping a score book.  This article will give you some tips on how to master this task.

1.  Arrive early.  Get to the gym at least one hour ahead of time.  Ask the athletic director to have the clock set up so that you can practice.

2.  Jump right in and practice on it.  Get familiar with the basics of the clock.  All clocks are different.  However, they are all set up to make it easy to do.

3.  Don't fear a mistake.  The thing that freaks people out is a mistake.  An inadvertent horn, points on the wrong side, wrong team fouls being posted are all there to be seen by everyone.  A score book doesn't show that.  That reason alone can keep a person from wanting to run the clock.  Keep in mind, all errors are correctable.  I have even seen outcomes of games decided by a correctable error, after the game was over.

4.  Clock Operation.  Game times are established in advance.  They can be by quarter, half and skill level.  The officials make the final decision on what time to place on the clock.  Your job is to operate it.  On timeouts, there are two types a 30 and a 60 second time out.  You begin the timeout, once the official tells you to and not before.  For a 30, blow the horn with 10 seconds to go in the time out.  With a full time out, blow it 15 seconds before it is over.

There is one minute between quarters and usually 10 minutes at half time.  Once again the officials can add or subtract this time.

5.  Listen to the scorekeeper.  They should always tell you loudly who the foul was on, number of them and number of team fouls.  The two of you should sit next to each other and as close as possible.  this is for better communication.  Remember at the half to clear everything off the clock except the score and running time between halves.  Fouls for teams start over.  But, fouls for players are accumulative and stay the same.  The person on the score book is in charge of this.

6.  The most important tool on your clock is the start and stop switch.  Usually this is in your hand.  Never start a clock until the official signals by moving their arm in downward motion to start the clock.  Do not go by the ball.  Go by the official.  You don't have to worry about the final horn.  It will go off by itself.

Finally. always blow the horn for a substitution.  Only do this, when the clock is dead.  Players can only enter the game, while the clock is stopped.

Once you become proficient at this job, there is money to be made.  You will be in high demand as a timer.  Most schools are clubs pay you for your service.  You will get better every time out.






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