2 OVERVIEWA lot of good information about volleyball officiating is available from the experience shared by top-level national officials who work closely with the NFHS. Hopefully, some of the information we’re offering in this presentation will be useful to you in growing your officiating!
3 Making a Commitment toward Becoming a Better VB Official A Challenge to OfficialsObtaining your officiating permit for volleyball, renewing it each year and attending meetings are just a start.Schools who contract with you are entitled to quality services which come, in part, from making a commitment to becoming a good volleyball official.This commitment is part of what it means to be a “professional.”
4 Making a Commitment toward Becoming a Better VB Official Your commitment should include constantly improving your officiating which comes, in part, from:Studying the rules.Learning new rules each year.Understanding rules to allow practical application.Engaging in a self-critique process.Soliciting input about strengths/weaknesses.Incorporating feedback.Setting goals.Evaluating progress.
5 Understanding the Rules of Volleyball AND the Game of Volleyball ChallengeReading and studying the rules is important.This is just the starting point each year.Ask yourself this question: Are you interested in becoming a better official, or are you simply putting in your 4 meetings?If the truthful answer is the former, then this presentation is designed with you in mind.
6 Understanding the Rules of Volleyball AND the Game of Volleyball Reading and studying rules is important.Notes:Beyond this, understanding how rules are applied helps determine how good an official you are.Understanding how the game is played today can be the difference in how you officiate and your ability to “facilitate” a match.Observing matches can help you grow as an official.Go with another official so you can compare notes.
7 Preparation Preparation for the season Know the rules. Be up on the current techniques and trends.Observe matches.Discuss situations with each other, brainstorm.Ask questions.Keep notes.Make the uncomfortable, comfortable through confronting your weaknesses; learn from mistakes.Take challenging matches to “grow” your comfort zone. Learn to become comfortable with tension.
8 Preparation Preparation for the season Anticipate situations through visualization, quick realization regarding which rules apply and how to apply the pertinent rules appropriately.If you study the game, you realize the plays and situations that seem to happen on a regular basis.Realize that your preparation is vitally important to the success of each match.Always remain positive.Exude quiet confidence because you realize the match isn’t about you. It’s about the players and teams. That’s why our goal is to facilitate a match.
9 Communication Communication is a key skill It should come as a shock to no one that communication is a key skill for volleyball officials.Officials need to fully understanding the ways in which communication contributes to facilitating a match.The effort to communicate effectively can set a positive tone for how the match goes.
10 Communication Communication is a key skill Notes: Effective communication starts with:Awareness of roles and responsibilities.Being respectful of others.Sharing with openness and consideration.Listening.Self-awareness (understanding how you’re being received and perceived).Spending appropriate time with a number of key parties.
11 CommunicationNotes:Success of any official depends upon effective communication and creating a “climate of comfort.”The climate of comfort involves all of the key parties you will work with at a volleyball match including:Your fellow official.Volunteers (scoretable crew and line judges).Players.Coaches.Host administration/management.Yourself.
12 Working with Your Partner GuidanceCommunication drives teamwork and partnering.Whether it’s your “regular” partner or not, it’s still your partner.Officials are judged in terms of how well they do as a team.You can’t do well unless your partner does well. Your “rating” is logically linked to your partner’s performance.You should support your partner throughout the match.An acknowledged role of the umpire is to “serve and protect” the referee.When the umpire asks for a card, the referee gives it.
13 Working with Your Partner Communication and teamwork/partneringNotes:Entering the court together helps promote that you’re a team.You meet the coaches together as a team, you work as a team and you leave as a team.You arrive timely enough to share the pre-match workload.The umpire “defends” the referee’s decisions.
14 Working with Your Partner GuidanceArrive early enough to share the pre-match workload.Make the time for a productive pre-match discussion.If possible, arrange for a post-match discussion.Agree upon an exit plan allowing both of you to “toot and scoot” after the last match.
15 Working with Your Partner Notes:Pre-match: net check, area inspection, ball pressure check, and instruction of support staff.Pre-match discussion:Umpire gets answer to “what do you expect of me?”Informal signals are agreed upon.Eye contact before, during and after each play is agreed upon.Post-match discussion with candid assessment of how you partnered, what worked well, what could have been done better. Special situations.Avoiding possible confrontation with toot & scoot.
16 Working with Your Partner EquipmentMake sure you take the time to measure the net with an accurate net chain.Don’t hesitate to ask for help from the host administration in terms of fixing a net that proves problematic to adjust to the right height.Line up each antennas on the outside of the respective sideline using the net chain as a plumb bob/line. Check for sharp edges at the bottom of the antenna. Use adhesive tape.
17 Working with Your Partner Notes:Measure your net chain and verify that the marking is at the correct height. Don’t assume your net chain is marked at the correct settings!Get help from host management or the coach if you can’t adjust the net with the net ropes and cables.The general rule is that antennas should be on opposite sides of the net. You’ll see some experienced referees ensuring the antennas are on the “strong side attack,” one to the right of the referee and the other to the right of the umpire.
18 Working with Your Partner EquipmentMake sure you check pressure in all balls that will be used for the match.All balls for the match should be set at the same ball pressure.Identify who at the scoring table will keep control of the game balls during warm-up to avoid getting them mixed up with warm-up balls.
19 Working with Your Partner Notes:Don’t just feel for correct pressure without also measuring using a reliable ball pressure gauge.Accuracy is difficult to verify. Some officials test the accuracy of their gauges by comparing readings to another official’s gauge.Eventually, officials get pretty good at feeling a ball and ascertaining if pressure has been lost in the course of a match.
20 Working with Your Partner EquipmentMake sure the standards and referee stand are padded.Make sure all court lines are down and at correct distances.Check to ensure the referee stand is properly secured.Ensure the scoretable is set far enough back and that the chairs/benches are back far enough.Get unsafe objects removed from warm-up area.
21 Working with Your Partner Notes:Padding is not an option. For safety purposes, a match can’t be played without proper padding.Blue/white painters’ tape good to fix a line.Check to ensure the referee stand is at the right height for the official. Some officials have a pad that adds height.Keep things out of the substitution zone between benches and score table. Safety is paramount.Pre-match should identify any immovable objects posing a possible safety hazard and how these will be handled.
22 Working with Line Judges (LJs) Who instructs the line judges?Should you have/purchase and use flags?What is an easy technique for teaching LJ duties?How do you place your line judges (which corner)?What do you tell line judges about a call being overruled?
23 Working with Line Judges (LJs) Notes:Referee instructs LJs, evaluates experience, places them in their respective positions, and evaluates performance. The “SALT” acronym (meaning Service, Antenna, Line, Touch) may be used to teach/review signals – with or without flags.Explain why an overrule could occur and how to handle it.Using line judges calls helps involve the line judges and benefits the match.Ask line judges to make consistent eye contact with the referee including after each rally.Use time-outs for further instruction.
24 Working with Scoretable Staff Umpire ResponsibilitiesWhat are reasonable expectations?What is the minimum these folks need to be able to do?Official scorer.Assistant scorer/Libero tracker.Visiting team scorer and libero tracker.Time/Scoreboard operator.Announcer.
25 Working with Scoretable Staff Notes:Who volunteers to do these jobs? Sometimes adults and sometimes students.Creating rapport is important with these unpaid, uncertified volunteers who can make key decisions during the match.Some are experienced; some are not – how to tell?How do you teach someone how to keep score properly?
26 Working with Scoretable Staff Umpire ResponsibilitiesPre-match discussion: evaluates experience of official scorer and discusses expectations.Checks “book” during time-outs.Ensures scorer knows how to mark libero serving.Ensures scorer is ready to provide numbers of next 3 servers when requested.Identify wrong server prior to serve but report after service contact.Show game point, time-outs taken, captain leaves court, when team reaches subs used.
27 Working with Scoretable Staff Notes:Umpire must verify lineups are properly recorded.Scorer asked to ensure score on the scoreboard matches scorebook.Umpire verifies that scoreboard matches book.Umpire attempts to ensure proper information is recorded by giving scorer enough time to record substitutions.Umpire verifies libero serving properly recorded.Umpire verifies time-outs taken with scorer.Umpire verifies game point with scorer.
28 Working with Scoretable Staff Umpire ResponsibilitiesUmpire has a pre-match discussion with the assistant scorer (LT) who tracks the libero.Reviews with LT how libero replacements will be recorded and recording all substitutions.Reviews libero serving with LT.Reviews libero exchange rules with LT.Ensures LT knows when to report illegal libero replacements and how to do so.
29 Working with Scoretable Staff Notes:Umpire ensures LT is partnering with scorer.Umpire reviews with LT how libero replacements to ensure proper libero replacements occur, that same 2 numbers are on either side of the “L” and recording all subs.Libero exchange rules are followed and that libero serving is properly recorded.Illegal libero replacements should be reported immediately when identified by the libero tracker.
30 Working with Scoretable Staff TimerUmpire works with timer to ensure buzzer/horn sounds under certain circumstances and that the score is posted accurately.The umpire observes the timing of match segments throughout the match and addresses any problems.The umpire should communicate expectations for warm-ups, time-outs and between-game intervals.
31 Working with Scoretable Staff Notes:Buzzer/horn: discuss timing for warm-ups, time-outs and between-game intervals.Posting accurate score should be done through partnering with scorer.Same person should not be posting score and tracking the libero.Umpire should observe warm-up to ensure buzzer sounds at appropriate intervals.Umpire should ensure horn sounds with 15 seconds left in a time-out if teams not back on court.
32 Working with Scoretable Staff AnnouncerUmpire works with the announcer to ensure a common understanding of:How/when player introductions and the National Anthem will occur (timing).Address how flash photography and fan behavior issues will be handled.
33 Working with Host Management Affirm you will be officiating the week prior to the match with a phone call or to the Athletic Department.Upon arrival, identify a room where you can change clothes and store your officiating gear.Identify where host management will be located at three important times: before the match, during the match and after the match.Involve host management when there are facility problems, safety concerns, unruly fans, or other such issues.
34 Working with Host Management Notes:Upon arriving, be sure to say “hello” to the Athletic Director or Assistant Athletic Director if you see either person and offer a “thank you” for the opportunity.Involve host management when there are facility problems, safety concerns, unruly fans, or other such issues.This is the reason the officials need to know where help will be if there is a facility issue, a problem during the match or an uncomfortable post-match situation.If a match has to be stopped for good cause, the officials should do so, then get assistance.
35 Dealing with FansFansGenerally speaking, do not respond to fans during a match.If there is an unruly fan, get host management.Stop flash photography during play (safety issue).Avoid using a public restroom and avoid crowds to prevent unnecessary problems.
36 Dealing with Fans Notes: Perception that the official has “rabbit ears.”If there is an unruly fan, get host management involved, especially if what is being said is truly offensive, threatening or aimed at intimidation of the players or the officials.If the opportunity presents itself, you might seek to explain a rule to a fan. But, avoid confrontation at all cost since this is a no-win situation.Avoid post-match contact that could lead to confrontations which are, inherently, no-win situations.
37 Helping Yourself Guidance Use “self encouragement” through positive thinking.Don’t dwell on mistakes; learn and don’t repeat them.Try to create your own personal comfort zone.Set goals for the season and for each match.Evaluate yourself fairly but compassionately.Be aware of how you relate to others.Use a practiced “scan” to create focus and awareness.Try to maintain wide-to-narrow focus while you’re on the stand or working on the floor as umpire.
38 Helping Yourself Notes: If you’re thinking about the call that you might have missed, you’ll probably miss the next one! A comfort zone can come from positive thinking, relaxation techniques (including during a match), a smile from your partner, deep breathing, imaging and other forms of stress relief.Use what you learned in your last match to benefit you for this match.Be aware of how you relate to others and how you are “received” and “perceived.”Train yourself to do a consistent scan of the court area before and after every play.
39 Helping Yourself Appearance How do you look, and how do you carry yourself?Body language says a lot, along with an official’s facial expressions. Create the perception of being laid back but not uninterested. This helps create comfort for everyone around you.Good posture on the stand and on the floor is very important. Never lean on the post or stand. It looks too casual and appears unprofessional.Hands on the hips can project a confrontational feel. Don’t be too rigid. Look and feel relaxed.
40 Helping Yourself Appearance You get one chance to leave a first impression.Be careful and be aware of how you conduct yourself with the people around you.Have a friendly and approachable demeanor, but do not spend time schmoozing. The time should be spent on duties including spending the proper time in your pre-match meeting!Look neat. Good grooming is important.Be fit enough to meet the demands of officiating.
41 Helping Yourself Appearance Wear the proper uniform and look good! Your shirt should be bright white and unstained.Bring an extra shirt and pants in case of an accident.Make sure you’re wearing black dress pants.Bring an extra belt and an extra pair of socks (perhaps for your partner who forget them).White shoes should look white (white polish for scuffs). Black shoes (black socks), black polish.
42 Helping Yourself Notes: Perception is reality. Have a friendly and approachable demeanor but do not attempt to be everyone’s friend.Pressed shirt and pants, white or black shoes that are in good condition and not scuffed, with shirt tucked in help project a neat appearance.Remember that if you wear shorts, you project a casual look. Does this look convey professionalism?Looking and being physically fit helps convey that you are up to the task of officiating.
43 Helping Yourself Show Confidence Confidence can be shown in a variety of ways including through use of signals:Clear and distinct.Marked by signal separation.Set the tempo.Strong but unrushed to avoid creating confusion where players, coaches and fans wonder what was the call, especially when the fault is shown first before who won the rally and serves next.Don’t be sloppy and use CORRECT signals.
44 Helping Yourself Show Confidence Confidence can be shown through use of your whistle; it shows you are in control. Different whistle sounds are based on the reason for the whistle.Beckon for serve.Ending a rally.Acknowledge a substitution request.Indicate a time-out was requested.Call attention to a potential safety hazard.Hold up play.Overrule a line judge.Issue informal warning to a player on the court.
45 Helping Yourself Show Confidence in How You… Do your pre-match inspection of the site, equipment, ensuring no sharp metal protruding from bottom of an antenna.Conduct your pre-match meeting with partner.Hold your pre-match meeting with captains/coaches.Brief the line judges, scorer, assistant scorer, timer/ scoreboard operator and communicate with the announcer.Engage in on-going communication that is verbal and non-verbal.Assist the referee and monitor warm-ups.
46 Helping Yourself Show Confidence Through… Rapport with the bench to create a climate of comfort and an open ear.Making sure the court is ready for play and give it back to the referee as umpire.Control substitutions as umpire.Proper position and transitioning as umpire, focusing on the net and center line and focusing on play between the center line and the attack line while also taking care of coaches’ requests.Following player movement as umpire or following ball movement as referee to provide proper court coverage.
47 Working with Players Guidance Don’t call players by their names. To talk with the captain, say “captain,….”If you do need to talk directly with a player, use the player’s number to address her (“#17,….).Work through captain to prevent problems.Limit post-match interactions to “nice match.”Do not seek out anyone for post-match handshake. Only shake hands if initiated by other person.Never touch player other than a handshake.
48 Working with Players Notes: Calling players by name or seeking out a player for a post-match handshake can convey favoritism. As we keep stressing, perception is reality.Work through the “captains.” They’re the only players who can address the officials.If referee needs to deal directly with an issue involving a player on the court, going through captain is a good way.Umpire needing to deal with an issue involving a player on the court may go through coach or captain, whichever makes more sense.Work through the captains to prevent possible screening, close to illegal alignment, close to delay of serve, close to issuing a card or to carry a communication to a coach.
49 Working with Players Player Issues Both officials should be aware of jewelry and illegal equipment worn during warm-ups.To talk with a player on the court, the referee should use the player’s number to address the player and should keep it short.During the match, if umpire has to address a player on the bench, the umpire should also use the player’s number.
50 Working with Players Notes: Be proactive in getting a player who is warming up off the court as needed for removal of illegal items.New rule results in unsporting conduct charged for failure to address jewelry/illegal equipment during warm-up. Prevention and early intervention help!Examples: “#15, please remove the rubber band from your wrist.” “#25, you have tape over an ear. You can’t warm-up or play with jewelry. Please take care of this now so you can go back to warming up.” “#10, are you okay?”
51 Working with Players Notes: Umpire is in best position to address player getting off the bench for other than one of the approved situations (cheer, sub, greet a teammate, get water).Can go through coach, but get player seated quickly.If player makes an unsporting comment, this may result in card. The umpire is permitted to issue verbal warning.Why you go with a verbal warning instead of a card?
52 Working with Coaches Guidance Both officials should go together to meet with each coach.Introductions, shaking of hands, address new rules or rule questions.Spend equal amount of time with each coach.Be cordial but brief.Do not call coaches by their names.The umpire typically addresses bench behavior through the head coach.
53 Working with Coaches Notes: Spend an equal amount of time with each coach. Do not schmooze!! Perception is reality. You are friendly, not someone’s best friend – regardless of concern about rating!To talk with the coach, say “coach” not coach’s name.During match, umpire gives clarifications or explanations to the coach making clear referee signals an absolute must.While referee works through captains to prevent problems, umpire typically works with head coach such as to fix potential screening, close-to-illegal alignment, close to delay of serve, behavior that could be leading to a card, and to answer legitimate questions.Umpire addresses bench behavior through coach. Head coach will receive a card for unsporting behavior by anyone on bench for failure to control the bench.
54 Working with Coaches Guidance Role of umpire is to serve and protect the referee.Coach not permitted to be up while ball is in play.Remind coach of sitting coach rule (coach is not permitted to be up to argue on a dead ball, just coach).Umpire can go through the coach to address a problem with a player on the court even while referee is going through the captain.Avoid post-match interactions.Don’t initiate post-match hand shake with a coach.
55 Working with Coaches Notes: Umpire protects referee through working with coach. Addressing a coach’s concerns about referee calls can help.Coach required to sit except on a dead ball. Not permitted to be up arguing. There is no disputing judgment calls.Card to a coach means head coach must be seated for rest of match so you can issue a warning for first time coach is up on live ball but card for subsequent violations.Umpire can go through the coach to address a problem with a player on the court even as referee is going through the captain to do the same thing.
56 Conducting Pre-Match Meeting with Coaches and Captains Referee introduces self and partner, asks captains and coaches to introduce selves.Referee covers court and playing area, legal equipment and uniforms, match and warm-up format.Umpire adds comments such as waiting for authorization for subs to enter.Referee asks if there are any questions.Referee conducts calling of the coin toss, identifying home team bench choice, and ensures visiting captain repeats the call and is shown the result of tossWhich team has serve is communicated immediately to scorer and visiting team scorer.
57 Responding to Coach During Match Umpire ResponsibilitiesWhen coach has concern or question, umpire addresses it.Umpire should be proactive in anticipating coach who will have concern about close call or non-call.Umpire does not permit coach to stand to dispute a call or non-call.Umpire should go to coach to address concern, quickly respond, get back into position and turn the court back to the referee.
58 Responding to Coach During Match Notes:Umpire addressing coach’s concern helps to prevent coach yelling across court at the referee.Umpire should be headed in direction of a coach with a concern so the coach doesn’t get up.The coach is not permitted to be up arguing so this is the first issue the umpire has to address: “Coach, this isn’t one of the times you’re allowed to be up.” Coach sits back down.Umpire does not permit coach to stand to dispute a call or non-call.Umpire should listen, address the concern, indicate “let’s play,” and turn the court back to the referee.
59 Responding to Coach During Match Umpire ResponsibilitiesUmpire does not allow coach to continue to address judgment calls. After “let’s play,” head coach is risking a card by continued questioning.While dealing with one coach, don’t turn your back on the other coach or your partner.Coach can’t stand on a live ball. This should be addressed immediately even as the play goes on.Umpire failure to address coach standing typically leads to referee being forced to issue a card when some form of response could help.
60 Responding to Coach During Match Notes:Umpire informs the head coach, if possible, regarding approaching issuance of a sanction card since this will result in loss of ability to stand and coach on a dead ball for the rest of the match.If a player jumps up in response to a call or non-call, the umpire should immediately have the player sit down and issue a warning (may be verbal).Subsequent similar behavior should result in a card which will result in loss of standing privileges for the head coach.
61 Basic Areas of Match Focus Match facilitation and control.Ball handling.Application of rules.Dealing with Conduct Issues:Delays.Warnings.Sanctions.
62 Match Facilitation and Control What are key elements of match facilitation/control?Remembering that the match belongs to the teams and that the role of the official is to let the players play as much as possible and call only what must be called.Setting a climate of comfort for everyone through:Great demeanor (calm, pleasant, confident).Use of eye contact and a smile.Setting level of legal contact matching skills of teams.Demonstrating consistency in calls during the match.Effective teamwork with partner, LJs and scoretable.Appropriate level of control over competitive behavior.
63 Match Facilitation and Control What are key elements of match facilitation/control?Use of informal warnings rather than cards, where possible.Inner calmness helps avoid overreaction to disputed calls or questions. Prevention of problems rather than over-reaction or unnecessary escalation.Bench control by umpire from the beginning of the match through attention to coach’s concerns, not allowing coach to address comments to the referee across court.Informal signals to get calls right.Everything starts with self control.
64 Ball Handling What coaches want and expect (Read “Establishing Standards for Calling Hands” handout)Establish a comfort zone for ball-handling.Know what is acceptable to allow, and let play continue. The first few calls set the tone for the match.Know what not to call, and don’t call it!One philosophy is don’t call it unless it’s “gross” which is clearly a matter of judgment. Don’t go by looks, sound, spin or body position, only the contact with the ball that you see. Don’t look ahead of the play.If you are debating between calling something a fault and not, don’t call it.
65 Ball HandlingNotes:The comfort zone for calling ball-handling faults for each match is set early.When in doubt, let play continue. This is the nature of the game being taught and played today.Teams will know fairly quickly what you are allowing and not allowing since the first few calls set the basic tone.Go only by what you see. Referee should look to the umpire when screened to get help. If in doubt, play on. Spin does not mean a fault occurred. The ball spins off a typical bump (arm pass).Get your eyes to where the ball will be contacted and do not look ahead of the play.If you are debating between calling something a fault and not, don’t call it.
66 Ball Handling Guidance Judge duration of contact and the direction. Too much control.Lack of control.First contact is never a “double hit” (multiple contacts) when only one effort is being made.Second contact is more likely to be a double hit fault for multiple contacts.Third contact will likely be prolonged contact but can be multiple contacts.
67 Ball HandlingNotes:“Importance in judging the duration and the direction.Too much control is typically going to result in an illegal hit based on for prolonged contactFirst contact is never an illegal “double hit” (or multiple contacts) if only one effort is being made.Lack of control likely is going to be a double hit or multiple contact fault except on first contact.First hit can result in a held ball (prolonged contact) and should be called if it is. Make sure you’re calling consistently on helicopters and broom balls.Second contact more likely to be a double hit or multiple-contact fault. Third-hit fault more likely to involve prolonged contact but can be multiple contacts.
68 Ball Handling Consistency The only thing that is going to be consistent about us as individual officials is that we’re different.Nevertheless, players, coaches and fans are entitled to having us be consistent during the match.Expect to hear such things as, “They didn’t call it that way last night,” “Call it both ways” and “Be consistent.”If you make a call in the first game, you better be prepared to make that same call in a deciding game.If you called it early in the match, you have to call it late. That’s the type of consistency we should be striving for.
69 Ball Handling Guidance Always remember the importance of the first few “handles” since your calls and non-calls will set what the players and coaches expect for the match.Call only the faults you actually see, and do not call a fault in response to a coach yelling at you!Let the players decide the match, but don’t ignore ball-handling errors on game or match point.If it’s an error you call it; if it is not, you let it go – this is done within the consistency that you’ve maintained for that entire match.
70 Application of Rules What coaches want and expect Rules To apply the rules, you first need to know them and understand the purpose of each rule and the rules that operate in conjunction with one another.If you’re interested, the Professional Association of Volleyball Officials (PAVO, and USA Volleyball (USAV, have rule comparison sheets on their websites that include NFHS rules since NFHS gives input to each year’s comparison sheet.USAV/PAVO has representation at the NFHS national July meeting that every state sends a representative to.
71 Application of Rules Rules To understand today’s game of volleyball, you have to be a student of the game. Attend matches and observe from the stands.Observe play, receiving formations, whether you can see screening, where the setters are coming from on the court, offensive strategies, and during-the-match moves that address game flow and adjustments.Observe your fellow officials, but without commenting. Observe whether their signals are clear to everyone and how well they seem to partner. Watch informal signals. Watch how the officials work with the coaches.
72 Application of Rules Rules When officiating NFHS, you should use the acceptable standards as well as the rules of NFHS Volleyball.Apply the rules properly to the fact pattern that you observe.Use your judgment correctly pertaining to what level you’re officiating. Middle school, freshman, JV, Varsity.Coaches should know the rules but the “protest” process for OHSAA requires a coach to ask for a time-out to get the referee to review a decision that was made on the immediately preceding rally.
73 Application of Rules Rules A review of a decision should be accepted if:It is timely.It does not solely involve judgment (such as ball in or out, touch, etc.).Keep the NFHS Volleyball Rules Book and the Case Book and Manual close at hand to refer to if needed.Study the rules throughout the season and discuss rule situations that arise with your Rules Interpreter/Advisor.
74 Application of Rules When You Can Warn/Prevention Example 1: Screening is very rarely called but happens more frequently than many people think.If you think there’s a “potential” for a screen, you can warn the players involved but you do have to penalize it if the players have actually committed a screen by how the ball passed over the players since a violation occurred.Awareness by BOTH referee AND umpire here of screening potential. Umpire can see receiving team changing position and/or squirming to try to see service contact and flight of the serve
75 Application of Rules When You Can Warn/Prevention Example 2: A team is close to having an overlap/illegal alignment. This can be warned. Advantage is sometimes used in initially calling illegal alignment rather than trying to “count boards.” Today’s volleyball officiating philosophy supported by the OHSAA does not have a problem with fixing this if you can. But, if you call it, try to call it early to avoid making the call for the first time with the game/match on the line. Don’t ignore it early and call it late.Give numbers of players: “#5 and #6, there’s a potential overlap, coach.” Or, “Coach, potential overlap, #5 and #6, RF/RB.”
76 Dealing with Conduct Issues What Coaches Want and Expect Regarding DelaysGame and match flow issues are something officials constantly have to have a feel for.“Gamesmanship” includes anything that a team does beyond legal/legitimate game interruptions such as time-outs, substitutions and an infrequent request for a line-up check.Stalling, rolling the ball slowly or holding onto the ball continually when the other team is on a roll, a team has no time-outs remaining, end of a game are often gamesmanship and can’t be ignored.Would you expect the need for constant wiping of the court in November?
77 Dealing with Conduct Issues Control of DelaysAlways err on the side of safety when dealing with a request to have the ball wiped, the floor toweled, time for a player to tie a shoelace, a contact off center or lost, a player injury (30 seconds to evaluate), right at a time when a coach doesn’t have a time-out left or the other team is on a run or it’s the end of a close game.Umpire inspects/checks/verifies these situations to avoid continuing gamesmanship.Intentional delays must be sanctioned. “Hey, wait a minute” is a delaying tactic.
78 Dealing with Conduct Issues Control of Delays“Defuse and defend” is part of the umpire’s role to “serve and protect” the referee. Listen carefully to a coach’s question without turning your back on the other coach or the court (your partner!). Be proactive.Give a short concise answer but don’t quote the rule to the coach. Rather, interpret the practical application of the rule and end with “let’s play, coach” and then turn the match back to the referee to facilitate game flow.
79 Dealing with Conduct Issues Control of DelaysUmpire should not permit judgment calls to be continually challenged without warning and finally asking for a card. These are delays but are also more.When actions start to have an affect on an official’s judgment, the official must take necessary action to stop the influence and/or distractions. “Coach, I feel like your constant questioning of judgment calls is affecting my judgment. You’re close to a card.”Now, the ball is in the coach’s court and the coach is duly warned. Delays are often part of questioning.
80 Dealing with Conduct Issues What Coaches Want and Expect Regarding WarningsNeed to be handled with consistency.Warn where you can and where it will benefit the match more than the issuance of a card.Just because you can issue or request a card doesn’t mean you SHOULD do so.If you warn one team informally for something (no card issued), be prepared to do the same for the other team.
81 Dealing with Conduct Issues WarningsIf you issue a yellow warning card, be prepared to handle it the same way if merited in terms of the other team.And, you have to quickly remind the affected head coach that the card issued to the coach or to bench personnel removes the head coach’s ability to stand and coach on a dead ball for the rest of the match.
82 Dealing with Conduct Issues WarningsThe gray area: we can take a hard line, by-the-book approach, or we can take a more liberal approach IF it doesn’t affect the outcome of the match.Consistency factor always has to be maintained. If you choose to issue a verbal warning because a yellow warning card puts the head coach on the bench for the rest of the match, not a problem.But you can’t continue to issue verbal warnings and eventually have to be prepared to issue a card, and it has to be handled same way for the other team.
83 Dealing with Conduct Issues What Coaches Want and Expect Regarding SanctionsIf you give one team a card for unsporting conduct, be prepared to do the same for any other player on that team and for the other team. Be consistent throughout the match.Convey the sanctions through the coach. Warnings can go to the coach, to the captain or to a player at an appropriate time.You can warn in the gray area of potentially a violation but violations must be penalized.Allow the teams to decide the match. Consistency helps with this.
84 Dealing with Conduct Issues SanctionsOne key to handling conduct issues is to determine whether you’re dealing with an initial emotional response to a situation or a conscious reaction.First, determine whether the situation requiring control through a warning or a card is the first such situation in the match involving this player or coach.If a player or coach’s first reaction is sufficiently minor to be penalized with a verbal warning or a formal warning/yellow card, try to choose this route rather than issuing a penalty/red card if this is the first incident involving this individual.
85 Dealing with Conduct Issues SanctionsIf this is not the first incident involving that player or coach’s or the reaction appears more of conscious decision to engage in an unsporting action, a red card/penalty would typically be issued.Officials have to be aware that some coaches use, as a strategy, attempting to get a card for some perceived advantage such as to motivate the team or to try to influence the officials to make calls in their favor.Your consistency is the best protection here. The situation still has to be dealt and can’t be ignored.
86 Dealing with Conduct Issues SanctionsA flagrant offense or second serious offense by the same person in a given match should result in disqualification (red and yellow cards, held apart).The third minor offense on the part of the same person is also subject to disqualification. This person would already have received a yellow card, then a red card.Talking through the net typically merits a verbal warning or a yellow card while taunting (celebrating at the other team) would bring a yellow card or red card.Gestures as well as words can merit a sanction which is commensurate with the offense.
87 Dealing with Conduct Issues SanctionsIf you observe unsporting conduct but can’t identify the player, the card goes to the head coach for failure to control the team. This includes situations where bench personnel are involved (player, assistant coach, etc.).An incident report is required for a disqualification.A disqualified player must leave the playing area if adult supervision available. If not, the player must stay on the bench, and any further unsporting conduct will result in forfeiting the match. A disqualified coach must leave the building. Another coach must be available for the match to continue.Issuance of cards is a judgment call, not subject to review.
88 Dealing with Conduct Issues SanctionsQuestion to ask is whether your decision-making as an official is being affected by someone’s actions during the match. If so, a sanction must be issued to the person causing this to occur.Sanctions should be treated dispassionately, just as an official would any other decision that is being made.Keep your cool. Don’t show anger. Remain as detached as you can.You must be fair to the other team. One team is making all the complaints and getting all the attention.
89 Concluding Thoughts Your Goals If you are comfortable where you are, that’s where you will stay.Failure to grow your officiating does not offer the quality of service you could be providing as an official.As officials, we should strive to provide a fair game to the participants.Striving to call a perfect match helps minimize errors in judgment.Assess your strengths and weaknesses.Set goals to tackle areas needing improvement.
90 Concluding Thoughts Your Goals Officials do make incorrect calls. Our goal should be to not make a lot of them. As officials, we should strive to be consistent within a level that matches the level of play of the teams.Consistency is the key because the teams can figure out how to play.Commitment to improvement is a requisite condition to becoming a good official