Earlier this year
What is home cooking?
- Home cooking is when most of the calls go in favour of the home team. Where the refereeing appears to favour the home team.
Why does this happen?
- Psychology. The crowd effect. This is why the alleged home bias often worsens throughout a game- because the crowd gets louder.
Is this an intractable problem?
- Learning to block out the noise is incredibly difficult, and takes many years of practice. Only the best of the best, the uber professional ever get adept at it.
- There is no simple solution. We can't make the refs wear ear plugs, because communicating with players and coaches is another key role of the referee.
Why is Home Cooking such a big issue in basketball?
- The crowd is in closer proximity to the refs than most other sports.
- Referees have a greater influence on the result in basketball than many other sports. Basketball rules are quite complex. And there’s differences game-to-game in reffing style and this is often apparent early in the game. This means basketball coaches and players have to make bigger adjustments to accommodate how the game is being called. This can often inadvertently advantage one team or another.
- Other sports have the ability to effectively mitigated the impact that poor decisions have on the result. Eg: In Cricket, a team can appeal if they believe the dismissal was incorrect. Tennis players get a set number of appeals. There are only a certain number of "grey area" decisions in tennis and cricket. 90% of the calls are quite obvious. It’s only occasionally where a review might be called upon. Whereas basketball has a greater percentage of 50/50 calls. And we can’t review everything. The referees are required to make more continuous decisions in basketball than referees in other sports (again, consider tennis or cricket). Again, basketball is complex in this regard.
- Basketball players have a set limit. 5 fouls and you’re out. In AFL you can give away unlimited free kicks and keep playing. In cricket you can bowl 15 no balls and you’ll give away 15 runs, but you can keep bowling. In basketball if a player gets two questionable calls, they’re already walking on eggshells or subbed out. (Refer: Chris Goulding in Game 1 in Sydney. Subbed out within a minute after a questionable foul on an Andrew Bogut screen).