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Duties of Timer in Basketball

The key responsibility for any official appointed with the role of timekeeping during a game is to keep time - with accuracy and fairness!

So, what is the definition of a timekeeper in basketball? This section overviews the job of timer in basketball and eleven important duties that a scorer needs to fulfill.

TIMEKEEPER IN BASKETBALL: The timer will regulate the playing time and track the duration of the game.

There should be at least five (5) officials officiating a basketball game. Hence, the timekeeper will be one of the officials.

Timekeepers are responsible for monitoring game time. But, their key function is tracking basketball time clock rules.

The timekeeper is charged with carrying out the duties of timekeeping according to the regulations of basketball. So, they should be familiar with all the rules and timing obligations in the game.

It is important that stop clock timers do not cause confusion for other players and the officials. Reading through this page will help you master the rules and regulations of timekeeping.

You should keep an accurate record of the playing time and stoppages. It includes time-outs, quarter breaks, the half time interval, and any overtime required.

In case you were wondering:

As the official basketball timekeeper, you will have some extra duties to fulfill as well. You will need to inform the official about any ‘timing mistakes’ that occur throughout the game.

The basketball timer must also notify officials when the playing time has run out. It would be crucial information used to determine whether a late goal will count – or not!

Roles of Officials in Basketball

1. Time for Quarters

NBA games consist of four (4) separate twelve minute quarters. FIBA rules play ten (10) minutes in each quarter. The chief timer should set the clock at the beginning of each quarter and allow the correct amount of playing time.

Note: Basketball timekeepers can confirm the allocation of minutes for each quarter time with the match referee if they are unsure.

2. Keeping Team Score

Role and Duties of Timekeeper in BasketballA vital role of the timekeeper in basketball is keeping score on the clock for each team throughout the game. The referee indicates which is the home team and which is the away team (visitors) before the game begins.

It is important that each team bench is positioned either side of the clock and all players sit on their own bench. So, the home team sits on the side of the court that matches the home team on the basketball shot clock.

3. Basketball Quarter Indicator

It is a ruling, and one of the basketball timekeeper duties, to indicate each appropriate quarter in the game.

4. Alternate Possession Rule

Whenever it’s possible, you should show the direction of the next alternate possession. That means the arrow corresponds to the same direction that the team is playing.

5. Team Fouls and Bonus Shooting

Keep track of the team fouls where possible. The timekeeper can show if the team is in the bonus (shooting 1-and-1) on the clock.

6. Basketball Halftime Length

The official timekeeper should set the clock for three minutes at half-time and then let it run. Even so, the match referee may choose to shorten the half-time length in some games.

7. Running the Clock at a Basketball Game

The chief timer in basketball must start and stop the clock when indicated to do so by the match referee. Furthermore, you should stop the clock any time you hear the referee whistle.

Important: Do not stop the clock at any other time. So for example, the clock does not stop for a made basket.

The referee will drop his hand to signal the restarting of the clock. This will occur when the ball is in-bounded or when a free throw is taken and missed – but touches a player in bounds.

Start the clock when the ball is:

  1. Legally tapped on all jump balls.
  2. Touched in bounds, if resumption of play is by a throw-in after the clock has been stopped.
  3. Legally touched after a missed free throw and the basketball ball is to remain alive.
Stop the clock when:

  1. Time expires at the end of the period.
  2. An official signals a foul.
  3. An official signals a jump ball.
  4. A rules’ violation occurs.
  5. An official orders a ‘time-out’.

8. Problems with the Basketball Stop Clock

The timekeeper in basketball would need to get the immediate attention of the match referee any time there is a problem with the clock.

Note: You can also ask the referee to assist you if you have any questions on basketball timekeeping.

9. Work Closely with the Scorer in Basketball

The basketball timekeeper and scorer must work closely together. You should check often to confirm the score on the clock is the same as the one written in the scorekeeper’s book.

Note: You must get the referee’s attention by blowing the horn if there is a problem with the scoring. The basic list of basketball rules emphasises that ‘if there is a doubt… then the score book is right’.

10. Work in Tandem with the Match Referee

The timer is the official timekeeper for the game. That means you need to work closely with the referee, and NOT with the players or their coaches.

Be sure to take your directions ONLY from the competition referee. Never add time back to the clock (unless you get full directions to do so by the official referee).

Note: The short YouTube video has crucial information explaining how to use a basketball scoreboard. It also shows how the timer and scorekeeper work together in close proximity.

11. Basketball Timekeeper Priority of Responsibilities

The most important of all basketball timekeeper responsibilities is ensuring that the correct time displays on the clock. Also, another one of your jobs is making sure the clock starts and stops at the appropriate time.

Keeping score of the game comes second in priority of tasks for a timekeeper in basketball. Even so, the score should be an exact match to the one recorded in the score book.

Role and Duties of Timekeeper in Basketball