Volleyball Officials and Their Duties

Woman holding a volleyball
Volleyball referees keep the game in check and on track. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

As in most sporting competitions, volleyball employs referees in order to control the flow of the game and enforce the rules. The volleyball referee team includes the first referee, the second referee, the scorer and two line judges. Without the referee team, the fast-paced game could easily get out of hand if disputes regarding rules were to arise.

Scorers

The official scorer keeps track of the score throughout the volleyball game. Before the game begins the scorer notes the starting lineup of each team and notifies the referees if the lineup wasn't received on time.

If a dispute or irregularity arises regarding the score, the scorer uses a buzzer to notify the first and second referees. Additionally, when a substitution request arises, the scorer notifies the referees.

Line Judges

At least two, and as many as four, line judges monitor each game. The line judges stand at the corners of the court watching the lines to indicate whether a ball in play falls in or out of the court.

If a server steps on the line during a serve, the line judge watching the given line notifies the referees using a flag. When a player touches an out-of-play ball or if the ball hits an antenna, the designated line judge also indicates the interference.

First Referee

The first referee stands on the referee stand and controls the play of the entire game. Whatever issues arise during the game, the first referee determines the call and the has the final say. After making a call, no player or other referee can argue the call, although a formal protest can be placed with the scorer.

Before the match begins, the first referee inspects the equipment and the players' uniforms. The warm-ups and the coin toss also fall under the jurisdiction of the first referee.

Throughout the match, the first referee makes calls regarding faults and scoring issues. Following the match, the first referee notes the score and signs the official paperwork.

Second Referee

The second referee works to assist the first referee throughout the game. If for some reason the first referee can't finish her duties, the second referee may take the place of the first referee.

The second referee stands next to the post opposite the first referee. In addition to assisting the first referee with determining faults throughout the game, the second referee is in charge of all substitutions, timeouts and the actions of the scorer's table.

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