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How to Officiate a Volleyball Game

Volleyball officials have a number of different responsibilities, and they must keep a watchful eye on every point for the duration of the match. Two people form an officiating team for each match, with one acting as the head referee who stands on the referee stand, while the other is "down" referee assisting with monitoring substitutions and plays at the net.

  1. Learn the rules and the nuances of the game, and pass a certification course to become a recognized referee. The United States is broken up into a number of different member regions of USA Volleyball, and each region is sanctioned to certify referees. Referees typically have to pass written tests and receive the approval from the USA Volleyball region chair and commissioner to become certified.

  2. Practice the hand signals and understand when to make them. Referees need to know the signals for substitutions, illegal contact and fault. They also need to know how to signal whether the ball landed in or out of play. Officials are expected to make the correct call in a convincing matter almost immediately after each play ends.

  3. Maintain order throughout the match. Be in constant communication with your assistant referee and the scorekeepers to make sure that both teams are following the rules about substitutions and formations. Be open in communicating with the captains for each team. Understand when is appropriate to give a yellow card for a penalty or a red card for an expulsion.

  4. Start the game by marking down the lineup and rotation for each team, flipping a coin with the captains to see which team serves first and signaling the game to begin by blowing your whistle.

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About the Author

Chris Callaway started writing professionally in 2007 and has worked as sports editor, managing editor and senior editor of "The Racquet" as well as written for the "La Crosse Tribune" and other newspapers in western Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a Bachelor of Arts in English and communications.

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