top of page

Bench Duty Guide


How to Run the Electronic Scoreboard

Each score board is slightly different so you should ask the referee to show you the basics about 
⁃ starting and stopping the clock
⁃ How to add points
⁃ How to add team fouls 
⁃ How to delete points or fouls if you make a mistake (this is essential knowledge and not always simple!)
⁃ How to operate the “jump ball / ball in from side” switch. 

The clock 

The refs will set the clock to 20 minutes at the start of each half. They will usually come and start the clock before they throw the ball up. Sometimes before the teams have even come onto the court, as a way of getting them all moving. If the ref doesn’t start the clock, you should do this as soon as the ball is thrown up. 


⁃ Make sure you know which team is LIGHT and which is DARK - you need to know this as the scoreboard has LIGHT on left and DARK on right - check with refs and with scorer before game starts so you all agree - write this down so you don’t forget, and make sure scoresheet does the same. 

⁃ Update the score on scoreboard - quickly and accurately - make sure points are recorded against the right team (or fix it quickly if you make a mistake)

⁃ Put up the team fouls - again make sure it’s against the right team (important the ref can see this - each team can only have 8 fouls in one half and when it gets to 8th and every subsequent foul, opposition gets free throws) - you or ref should clear team fouls back to zero at half time 

⁃ Indicate the time outs - there is only one time out permitted for each team in each half - so you or ref should clear this back to zero at half time 

⁃ Stop the clock in last minute: At the end of the second half, if there are 5 or fewer points between the teams in the last minute (60 seconds), you have to stop the clock for every whistle and made basket, then restart when ball is back in play. 

⁃ Operate the bench switch for “Ball in from side instead of jump ball”. Note that sometimes the refs will do this but it helps if you can do it! Here’s more info:
⁃ When 2 players tussle for a ball and the ref can’t decide who should get it, they call a jump ball. 
⁃ Possession alternates between the teams as to who gets to throw it in from the side. 
⁃ This is tracked by a switch not on the scoreboard but in the bench itself. 
⁃ Every time there is one of these situations, the ref will look at the bench - there is a red arrow or light indicating a particular team. 
⁃ After the ref has given the ball to one team and play has resumed, the score board operator should press the switch, which will switch the red light to the other team. This then shows the ref which team has the next turn.


The scorer and timekeeper can help each other by constantly talking out loud, eg repeating anything the referee says or what’s happening in the game. It’s useful to say out loud:
⁃ The number of a person who has scored and how many points eg “Newtown number 15 - 2 points”
⁃ The number of the person who was fouled eg “foul on Newtown - number 5”. 

You’ll constantly want to check with each other that what the scoresheet and the scoreboard says is the same.



At the end of the game you should sign the bottom of the score sheet as “Timekeeper” 


How to Complete the Score Sheet for Basketball

First make sure the score sheet has the number and name of every player in both teams. If not, chase it up from the coach or manager or any other person on their bench. 

Refer to numbers a to f of the sheet below:


a. Team A baskets scored.
Please enter player number and cross out points - i.e. 
- Player Number -  5
- 2 points

b. Team B baskets here same as point a
- Player Number - 6
- 2 points

If a player scores a 3 pointer (outside the 3 point line) the referee will tell you, and the team will cheer the house down so will be pretty obvious. 

c. Free throws are scored by 1 point each - in this game, for Team B, the first two points were free throws.
- Player Number - 6
- 1 point


d. Each foul is assigned against:
- the player (personal foul) and 
- the team (team fouls).

e. Here at the end of the first half, there were no team fouls against that team - so during half time, draw a horizontal line through all 8 boxes. (Don’t worry if you forget to do this as referees will do it at half time)

Personal fouls: a player can have a maximum of 5 fouls per game. 
If a player is up to 4 fouls, let the REFEREE and the player’s COACH know. If they reach 5 fouls you should let the referres know and they are benched for the rest of the game. 

Team fouls: Each team is allowed up to 8 fouls per half. Once a team reaches 8 fouls, the opposition are given 2 free throws every foul after that. The TEAM FOULS are cleared FROM THE SCOREBOARD at halftime and start again BUT the fouls recorded on each player do not reset. 


f. Each team is given ONE TIME OUT in each half. 
(It gets marked on here and out up on score board)

Now see below the bottom part of the score sheet (numbers 1 to 7)

Complete score sheet by:

1. Entering the final team score for TEAM A

2. Entering the final team score for TEAM B

3. Entering the name of the WINNING TEAM

4. Signing the sheet as timekeeper if you were running the electronic scoreboard.

5. Signing the sheet as the scorer if you were on the score sheet. 

6. Enter the score for e each team A & B at half-time.

7. Enter the score for each team A & B at the end of the game.

Other Duties

A player or coach may approach the bench and request “Subs please” or “Time Out”.

The next time the referee blows the whistle for a foul, ball gone out of court, or other violation (travel, double dribble etc), you should:
⁃ Call out “Ref, subs Newtown” or “Subs Easts” - at same time signal this to referee by crossing your arms above your head / in front of your face then pointing to the team who is asking
⁃ Call out “ Ref, Time Out Newtown“ - signal this to ref by making a T-sign with your hands and point to team asking. 

If the subs or time out was called after a foul, remember to add the foul to the scoreboard against the right team. 

Also remember to put the Time Out on score board. 


A timeout can also be called following a made basket by the other team (but not subs).

*Original notes and images courtesy of Inner City Basketball Club

scoresheet 2.jpg
bottom of page