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Volleyball Referee Responsibilities

Updated on June 23, 2011

Officials Captains Meeting

Basic Volleyball Official Responsibilities


First, the host team/school (or tournament site director if you're at a tournament) has the final ruling in all matters.

Volleyball referees are next down on the ladder. The referee must follow all the guidelines and ground rules set by the site/tournament host. The referee follows all other matters concerning the rules of volleyball.

The Referee is in Charge of the Match

The referee is in charge of the match and what the referee says goes.

If you are a volleyball referee, from the moment you arrive on site you are in charge of the court. Your authority extends over other officials, coaches, and players.

If any issues arise you need to take charge. For instance, if the scorekeeper would make a mistake in the score, you need to help correct the mistake if you can.

The work crew (scorekeeper, assistant scorer, second referee, line judges, etc) are there to assist you. As the first referee, you have the authority to overrule or if needed, replace a member of the officiating crew.

If a situation were to arise where crowd behavior was affecting play, the host management needs to take care of the situation. This is usually done by a volleyball official alerting the site/school administrator of the problem.

Same with issues with coaches or players that escalate to the point where coaches or players need to be removed from the court.

Basic Volleyball Referee Responsibilities for Game Situations

The referee controls the flow of the match

How the referee Interacts with players, coaches, and other officials impacts how the match is run. How you blow the whistle and timing is important. Signaling is communication. Blowing the whistle, signaling, verbally communicating with players/coaches, etc... all these things factor in to how well the match runs.

The Serve

Before you whistle and beckon for serve, scan the court. Look at all the players, coaches, and officials to make sure everyone is ready to play.

Before the serve is the time for teams to do line up checks, substitutions, or timeouts because these things must occur during dead ball situations. So be ready and anticipate these situations. The better you are able to anticipate, the less problems you will have.

Referee Hand Signals

The First Referee is in charge of calling ball handling. Obviously, it's important to follow the ball and watch for illegal contacts (doubles, lifts, etc). The Second referee can make signals to you for ball handling, but it's the First Referee's responsibility to make the call.

How you decide to communicate with the Second Referee should be discussed before the start of the match. For instance, the First Referee may prefer the Second Referee communicate during play using various hand signals.

For instance, for some signals the Second Referee may discreetly signal to the First referee during the play. These discreet signals include double contacts, four hits, back row attacks, back row blocks, and the ball contacting the ground.

Second Referee Responsibilities

The Second Referee is mainly in charge of communicating with each team's coach and the other officials at the scorers table. The main calls made by the Second Referee are players crossing the centerline and players touching the net during play.

The Second Referee is also in charge of whistling timeouts and substitutions.

Calling Timeouts and Substitutions

If a team is wanting to sub or call a timeout (during a dead ball situation) the First Referee should signal "timeout" to the Second Referee. The Second Referee then takes charge of the court by whistling the timeout/sub. At the end of the timeout/sub, the Second Referee whistles and signals indicating the court is being given back to the First Referee. The First Referee is now again in charge to administer the serve.

Using Cards

The First Referee can administer cards to players or coaches to get control of situations.

It's important to think of cards as "the last line of defense".

A good volleyball official will hardly ever need to issue cards because good officials hardly ever have situations escalate that far out of hand.


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      john cruz 3 years ago

      Ol kamuhi el der ritor muska

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      poop 4 years ago

      didn't help

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      Chicken hole 5 years ago


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      faiz 6 years ago

      baguih info nie....bguno kat den..

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      mark14 6 years ago

      okay lng lahat ng info!

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      angelina 6 years ago

      it helps me with my assignment in our MAPEH subject and Iv've about the responsibilities of 1st and 2nd referee in volleyball......tnx.....

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      jkjn 6 years ago

      it doesn't tell you the hand signals

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      jump program 7 years ago

      Referees are really officiates the game. Nice points you have hear.

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      vertical jump training 8 years ago

      Hi.. Really a very good points you have carried on.. Thanks for the valuable info's.. Great Hub!