January is just around the corner. Your teams will be headed off to tournaments. Do you want better officiating at your matches? Here are some ways you can make a difference:

Train Your Juniors to be Great Work Teams
Besides training skills and systems, make sure your teams know how to keep score, libero track, R2, and line judge. There is nothing that makes your team look worse than having a work team that doesn’t watch the lines, day dreams rather than watches the net, or stares at social media while sitting at the score table. USA Volleyball’s Official Training and Education Division have excellent resources for training and development. Click here to view resources to help train your teams.

After viewing the power point, give your team some real time experience. Set up a scrimmage with another team and ask the players take turns line judging, acting as the R2, scorekeeping, etc. If a live scrimmage is not an option, watch video of a match with your team. Talk about the positioning and actions of the R2 and Line Judges. Have your team keep score and track the libero.

By properly preparing your team, you show your respect for the game and respect for your opponents. The USAV rules that JVA follow require that a rostered adult remain near the court, visible to the 1st Referee and the work team.

The coaches’ responsibilities are:

  • Supervise your work team
  • Be available to quickly address a question
  • Be ready to support your work team if coaches, teams or spectators are harassing them

Help Grow the Pool of Referees
Tournaments are the lifeblood of our sport. Tournament Directors know the value of good referees. Tournament Directors need quality referees to host quality events.

A referee provides services beyond enforcing the rules of the game:

  • Insure the safety of the athletes by inspecting the court surface, the surrounding playable area and the net system
  • Time the warm-ups and keep your event running on time
  • Monitor and assist the work team when needed
  • Protect your athletes from harassment and poor sportsmanship

We need to make a true effort to recruit new people into the ranks of officials. Look around your community.

  • Invite good high school referees to check out the USAV training program. They may be willing to work in the off season
  • Local college students who have an interest in volleyball may be interested in earning some extra money, while doing something fun.
  • Find out if your local colleges have volleyball club teams or intermural leagues. Ask to distribute information on how to get certified to referee a junior tournament or league.
  • Who is running adult leagues in your area? The league may be employing referees that would love to work more events.
  • Provide information on becoming an official to the players in the adult leagues.
  • Do you have alumni in the area that may want to stay involved by becoming a referee.
  • Put a link on your website to direct interested future refs to sites on how to get started.

This is an effort that JVA and USAV can work together on. The members of JVA can help with finding people that love our sport and want to contribute by becoming a referee. USAV will provide the training.

About the Author

Jenny Hahn is the Executive Director of the Junior Volleyball Association. Jenny is constantly working with our members to grow and develop junior volleyball in their club and region. Click here to reach out to Jenny about your club.