Posted On: 02/5/19 12:49 PM

  By now, most teams have participated in a tournament or two.  This means athletes got to showcase their skills, coaches have started rearranging line-ups, parents have been proudly posting action shots to their social media and hopefully everyone realizes the importance of officiating training now.

  They say volleyball is a game of momentum, to which I agree, but nothing can stop a game’s progress faster than a poor officiating team.  Let me be clear, I’m not referring to an 80-something year old referee with ear plugs in who won’t get off the stand, but rather the team assigned “work” duties for a match.  

  Hopefully, your club’s director already hosted a mini-clinic or directed players to a site that tests their knowledge of rules and duties.  Even if this is the case, it’s always good to have reminders and explanations of the role of the work team.  

 When your team is assigned to officiate they will need 5-6 players for the match.  Here they are laid out in order from easiest to most challenging:

  Line judges:  Two players from each team are required to stand on the corner where the end line and sideline meet.  They will stand on opposite sides.  When facing the net, it will be the back left corner of the court.  They are responsible for calling the ball played “in” or “out”.  Whether they have a flag or not, players are expected to signal a call on any balls near their two lines.  Other things they have to watch include: serving foot faults, touches off the block, play outside the antenna.  New players can switch into this job after each set.

  Score keeper:  One player is responsible for running the scoreboard.  They should make sure they know how to operate the board prior to the match (or find someone who does.)  They will also be in control of the clock.  For example, setting the 10 minute warm-up, putting 30 seconds on for time outs, and setting it for time in between matches.  Also, this person should be in constant communication with the book keeper: checking the score to make sure they both have it correct.  It can be tricky to keep track of who is the home and visitor team.  I recommend writing it on a piece of paper next to the machine to use as reminder.

 R1 or R2:  Most tournaments will require at least one player to help officiate the match either as the R1=up ref or R2=down ref.  At younger ages, whichever is required, should be filled by a coach.  At older ages, players may start to assume these duties.  Most likely, players will be the down referee.  They will be responsible for signaling substitutions, making sure the book keepers are ready, watching the net and center-line.  This position requires a whistle.  I have heard of teams giving every player a whistle at the beginning of the year so that each player is prepared.  One player will do this job the entire match.  Some tournaments will specify if they want a coach for this spot.

  Book Keeper and Libero tracker: These two positions require a strong understanding of the game.  The liberal tracker makes sure a team’s libero is being used correctly.  This includes making sure they only serving for one player and always playing for a back row player.  It can get difficult when both teams are using a libero.  

  The official book keeper is the most demanding and important position.  They must record line ups, substitutions, time outs, score and so much more. I recommend having two people (preferably one coach) always watching over the shoulder of this job.  These are some of the best tools I have seen for beginners to use as a guide.

Book Keeping – cheat sheet  : The author of this has obviously worked with young players and was able to clearly lay out the duties of the book keeper in an easy to understand manner.  I always keep this with my binder of important information.  This is also a great tool for parents to use.  The Stewie Volleyball club often has a parent at the scoring table helping with the book.  Wouldn’t it make things easier if all parents and players knew how to correctly keep the book?

  Just like anything, the more coaches and directors allow teams time to learn and practice, the better they will get.  It is important for every athlete to try each job, as this is an essential part of the game of volleyball.  Likewise, if your daughter is having trouble understanding on of the jobs, be sure to ask your coach for help.