devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

The ‘P’ word…

Posted by mickmurphy on November 4, 2009

It seems every time someone gets some cheddar, a libero gets told to enter in the libero replacement zone and not via the corner store, an assistant coach gets told to move a chair over, a timeout request is dismissed for being too late, and now, of all things, a coin is tossed, SOMEONE complains about protocol!!!

As a referee, player and coach in the South Australian State League, I feel I am in a position to comment from a few perspectives, and I just cannot see what the issue is…

30 minutes before the match, the referee will collect the score sheet and bring it to the court for the coaches to write their names on the sheet. This is protocol, and the reason behind it is hopefully quite obvious and well known. From there we have 20 minute warm-up protocol, again, obvious stuff. We check the net height at 14 minutes, toss a coin at 13 and have our captains sign the score sheet and start their warm up at the net. This nasty ‘p’ word is all over the first 10 minutes of a match, but it needs to be so that everything is fair. It could be left alone to their players devices, but when the bounce off ensues, and players from other courts are brought in, out of uniform, to start playing just before the match, the other ‘p’ word will hit the fan.

The match starts after rotations are checked to make sure everything is fair and no one breaks rotational rules throughout the match. The players play their best, the coaches coach their best and the referees ref to their best ability.

But then something happens…

Then someone breaks the rules…The coach calls for a timeout after a serve has been authorised, a substitute enters the substitution zone too late, the assistant coach is standing on the sideline yelling at their players. The referee gives a delay warning, as they should (it’s in the rules).

And here’s where it all goes wrong. Because the referee is *expletive here, here and here* because he/she is all about protocol… You’ve heard it all before I’m sure.

So… Why does it all happen?!

The coaches and players know why they do it, and will have their own reasons, ranging from not wanting to be at fault for being on the brink of giving a point away, to thinking that referees are vile vermin that ruin the sport, and everything in between. Referees have their own reasons as well, mainly based upon the rules, but I would be telling a bit lie if I said that every referee who followed that protocol did so without the desire to piss a few people off…

But, from the examples above.

Prematch protocol is there to protect the teams from unfair behavior, sinister or otherwise.

Delay warning for calling a timeout at the wrong time is because it is against the rules (and can disrupt the serve that has already been authorised, plus the scorer will need a moment to make sure the timeout is legal).

Delay warning for a wrong sub is because it is against the rules (again the scorer needs to make sure its legal, plus we don’t want the game taking more and more time, after all the new sub protocol was introduced to save time, and get the refs out of the centre of attention).

Warning for the assistant coach for being in the wrong chair, again, because its in the rules, but most importantly, because as a second ref, you need to be able to look up and identify everyone. If you look up and a non-player is standing, its the coach, if you look up and the coach is sitting in the warm-up box, you don’t know where he/she is and can’t properly perform your duties.

The protocols of volleyball are there because it is the best shot that the FIVB have given referees to keep the game safe from unfair behavior.

Lets not forget rule 20.1.1; Participants in the match must know the ‘Official Volleyball Rules’ and abide by them.

So I open the floor…What is wrong with protocol? Or, what are referees doing wrong with it’s delivery? Without the feedback from the players/coaches/other referees, we will never know!!

66 Responses to “The ‘P’ word…”

  1. Because volleyball at this level is becoming unenjoyable. After all the crap I had to put up with this year coaching Reserve Women, I quite frankly never want to coach on saturdays at state league ever again. I might be happy to go watch once in a while but not coach or play.

    What’s wrong with protocol? sure some of it prevents unfairness, but i think a lot of it prevents the spirit of playing the sport.

    In my last game coaching, i got yellow carded after asking for a second substitution. This is an amateur sport which players play at great expense. Is the fact i should have stuck up two fingers instead of just the one when calling a sub really such a horrible crime that my team should lose a point and my player have to wait for an extra rally? Most of my encounters with protiocol have made volleyball really unenjoyable. and you would hope that it was enjoyable given that it’s an amatuer sport.

    There are probably plenty of coaches who think volleyball isn’t worth being involved with andi’m sure this is one of those “Hygiene” factors that’s a real demotivator. I saw enough of them at the grand final watching with absurd interest but abosultely no intention to get involved again.

    The resulting “unfairness” from lack of protocol is far from the most concerning challenge facing australian volleyball at the moment. We might not even have much of a sport soon after the AIS funding runs out. What use will “protocol” be when that happens?

    • StevenB said

      I didn’t think coaches had to signal under the current rules, the players just have to enter the zone. I’m guessing your last coaching experience was last year otherwise maybe you were using the wrong protocols.

      • Murph said

        StevenB, Hugh was using the wrong protocol and was given a delay warning earlier in the game, and received a second warning that was a delay penalty. Hugh’s example, and subsequent fury, is one of the main reasons of my original post…I just don’t see how you can hate it so vehemently.

        • it served no purpose to making the game better.

          • mickmurphy said

            Stopping a coach from using more than 30 seconds in a timeout makes the game better because it makes it more fair (that was what the warning was for, right?).
            Issuing a delay penalty for a second delay, this time for incorrect subs makes the game better because it stops illegal subs being made. Look at just about all sports, coaches MUST make substitutions in the proper way, if they don’t they get penalised. Footy, Soccer, Netball, Basketball… All require a pretty strict protocol for their substitutions…Sure it’s a tad overbearing, but it ensures that things are as fair as possible.

            Referees need to educate rather than aggravate at all but the top levels, which isn’t done as well as it should be, but coaches, players and also referees need to put the dummy back in when they make a mistake…

            • i had no problem with what happened until you brought up the p-word. clubs, players and coaches get fined in elite sport (and to some extent our amateur sport). but do referees get fined?

              I’ve seen BAD coaches still increase participation in our sport, but do bad referees?

              • mickmurphy said

                Haha! Hugh, the first thing you said when I saw you that day was how terrible it was that you received a yellow card. So… Lets not go down that road!

                Do referees get fined? No… But do they get dropped? Yes…

      • Ezra said

        Steve you’re right… under the new rules don’t need to signal anything, just need to have the 2 subs at the zone at the end of a rally

    • I don’t have a problem with referees. Some of them are people i have the most respect for in Volleyball, like Ray Harris who has been an excellent servant the game in just about every capacity.

      But protocol just doesn’t impress me as something particularly important. I’ve seen some awful refereeing that involved strict adherence to protocol, and some great refereeing that didn’t.

      I find protocol just makes volleyball at some levels just simply unenjoyable and so it’s just better to be involved in stuff that’s more relaxed.

      WHEN volleyball gets into deep poop because of the inevitable cuts to sports funding, it’s not protocol that will help our sport. No one’s going to say “Let’s get into volleyball. It has awesome protocol”

      “Don’t worry about your beard when your neck is about to be cit off”

      • mickmurphy said

        Ahhh… Now I am seeing where you are coming from…

        Why worry about protocol when there are bigger problems? Why worry about protocol when you don’t administer the other rules very well…

        Very valid questions… But, why get the protocol wrong, just because you don’t know the other rules perfectly? It’s easier to get protocol perfect than to detect every double, catch or back row attack, that thats why it gets picked up more,

        I’ve seen some exceptional refereeing that had strict adherence to protocol, and some terrible refereeing with bad protocol… So now that we have seen all the combinations…

        I totally agree that protocol at some levels is ridiculous, it comes down to that notion of ‘educate not aggravate’, to young players, giving them a delay warning for asking to tie their laces is way too much, but informing them that they aren’t allowed to ask is the right way to go about it in my opinion… It seems you would rather them be allowed to? That’s the impression I’m getting at least.

        Referees are being told to referee every single game as if it has equal importance to the competitors as any other match… I think with that comes using the protocol of a match for each match, is that the wrong answer?

        Serious question, because I feel the answers can be used to improve officiating in our state, and in Australia, what should happen in a reserve womens match when:
        A player asks to stop the game to tie their laces?
        A time out is called after the serve has been authorised?
        A time out takes 1 minute?
        A substitute moves into the sub zone once the substitution has been completed and the serve is about the be authorised again?

        • “But, why get the protocol wrong, just because you don’t know the other rules perfectly?”

          If the refereeing is bad, it’s bad. Dressing it up in protocol doesn’t make it better. People just find incongruency really frustrating, so if anything it makes things worse.

          Honestly, i tell my players to take no notice of the refereeing – whether it’s good or bad, whether the referee has no idea, or completely misses the point. It’s got nothing to do with them and just another variable they have no control over.

          I really don’t care for these situations, but here are my thoughts:

          *A player asks to stop the game to tie their laces?

          let them. if the other team complains about disrupting the momentum, remind them that it’s just a construct of reality.

          *A time out is called after the serve has been authorised?

          Play on. A coach calls it that late, they’re a moron. If either team gets distracted, they should spend less time “multitasking”.

          *A time out takes 1 minute?

          It’s basic knowledge that players can’t remember much more than 2 things. you talk longer than 30 seconds and you’re doing a pretty good job of harming your team’s performance without being penalised a point. Often players are trying to grab a drink. and by the time you talk you’ve got 15 seconds. ever noticed there are no visible clocks with a second timer in marion’s courts?

          *A substitute moves into the sub zone once the substitution has been completed and the serve is about the be authorised again?

          let the player paying for your refereeing payment get on and play. the server can wait. i’m sure she’s been taught how to serve with distractions and would understand that it’s nice for the player to get on.

          Coaches in other sports have people helping them with “protocol” in AFL you have runners, stewards, assistants etc. The reality in volleyball is it’s just the coach wearing a lot of hats. relax it a bit. i think you’ll find that civilisation won’t have disappeared by the time the sun comes up the next day

          • mickmurphy said


            Agree on the shoe lace one. I agree with the second one, but the coach should be told, through the captain, what they are required to do. Didn’t answer the question with the timeoute, but there are visible clocks, they just happen to be on your wrist, where every coach and referee should have. For someone that tells their players to not worry about referees, right or wrong, thats a pretty abrasive answer to the substitution example. The player ‘paying for my referees payment’ would be expecting me to administer the rules, surely…

            • i’m sure the player paying for you to referee would want you to referee at a level commensurate with the level they’re playing at and with sensitvity to the fact that this is an amateur sport. Why not ask a bunch of players if they enjoy shelling out 12 bucks a game and having the referee be nitpicky about trivial things? At the same time, ask them if they ever walk away from a game saying “the judging of the calls was awful, but gee wasn’t it wonderful that protocol was spot on?”

              whether they should or shouldn’t do you expect coaches to know protocol back to front? most of them don’t even know the current skill models and are worried about a hundred other things before their team even gets on the court.

              I don’t think telling players to not worry about the referee is an abrasive answer. They can’t really change the outcome of things. If you get a dud call or a dud referee there’s not much you can do about it. technically you can query it, call a protest, but really does it change anything for the trouble you go to? Better to get on with worrying about the things you CAN control to win the game. There’s no return on your investment when you ague with or worry about the referee. it’s not abrasive. just economics.

              I haven’t worn a watch in years. and if i did, i’d rather make eye contact with my players than look at it. at least a giant clock behind them on the wall would let me do a little bit of both.

              • mickmurphy said

                Oh I was referring to your answer about match payments seemed abrasive, considering that you tell those players not to worry about the referee, that’s all.

                Agreed in general there, the reason I ask the questions I’m asking in this forum is to understand what people really want from a referee. We are losing players at an alarming rate when they graduate from school. One thing that coincides with this is the shift from the duty referee, who will almost never issue a card or a delay warning, to a referee who will (sometimes…). I think there is every chance that this is a contributing factor, so getting to the bottom of what people want is a big step to building successful referee/player/coach relationships.

  2. Alan said

    As an ex-player and an ex-coach and not an ex-referee the problem with the “P” word is that it is rarely ever supported by the “C” word and that is CONSISTENCY!

  3. markleb said

    There is nothing wrong with protocol for all the reasons written above.
    The problem with protocol is that on many occasions it seems (rightly or wrongly) to the participants of the game (coaches and players) that the referees are more knowledgeable on the protocols than on the rules and spend more time and energy enforcing protocols than officiating the match correctly.
    It is enormously frustrating for a coach to see a referee not see a spiker hitting into the middle of the tape 50cm from the block, and then two minutes later get warning (correctly) for not preparing a substitution in a timely manner.
    Referees should practice.

    • agreed

    • Morky said

      I agree.

      Too often i see referees telling players to stay in the pig pen. It isn’t like they are trying to disrupt the game, rather trying to see the score at the bench. Then I see the ref miss the most obvious double hit, or reach etc etc. Certainly more than a little frustrating

      A little less emphasis on protocol and more on the rules of the game.

      In an AVL game in Canberra, my setter asked for a moment between point to tie his shoe lace. He was denied this opportunity and given a time delay warning. The very next point, the opposition requested a substitution, but the sub was not ready and the ref waved the sub away. This however apparently did not constitute a time delay. This came from a very senior referee, who seems to have become a rather arrogant ****!

      On the other hand, there are several referees that are down to earth and are willing to explain a ruling and even have a chat after the game. Some referees treat you like a student and themselves as the headmaster (I hate these ones) and others treat you as an equal and are very approachable (I like these ones).

      I think that one referre has stood out for me so far in AVL. He is young and probably not the most technical of all the refs, but he does a good, honest, consistent job and is a nice bloke too! (he has nice curly blond locks too!)

      • Murph said

        Totally agree…

        The lack of practice opportunities outside of matches makes it really hard to officiate at the level the players want. We, as referees, should practice as much as anyone else involved really…

        • markleb said

          Every practice for every team is the chance for at least one referee to practice refereeing.
          Practice opportunities are plentiful.

          • Murph said

            I was referring to the opportunity for ‘coached’ referee practice sessions, Mark. But you are right.
            One thing we spoke about last weekend was using the opportunities like practice sessions, scrimmage games and the like to give referees more ‘match’ practice.

      • Murph said

        CHEDDAR EZ!

      • Dad said

        You neglected to mention that your setter was also also the player who was due to serve. I was sitting with two senior refs at the time, and it was a point of discussion. While it was not totally clear to me, the other refs indicated it was the fact he was the server that resulted in the time delay call.

        And yes, he is a vey senior ref, and no , arrogance is not one of his known traits.

        Patience was the trait he seemed to display most in that match.

        • Murph said

          Either casebook or rule book (not sure which) says that if a player asks to tie his shoe laces up, it means he is trying to delay the game and so should receive a delay warning.

          • Morky said

            So he should play with his shoe lace untied??? A little dangerous don’t you think?? It isn’t like he untied his shoelace and tried to waste time to re-tie it, it just came undone. Wouldn’t it have been more sensible to let him tie his shoe lace? Come on guys this is rediculous

      • Ezra said

        thanks Morky :o) hope to see you in Melbourne

  4. eldo737 said

    Protocols are there as a framework for us to both work within.

    Some referees are officious just, as some coaches and players are obnoxious. It evens out.

    Personally I think the level of refereeing in Australia is much higher than the level of coaching.
    The refereeing community have their act together much better than the coaches. They have a national commission, referee courses and national meetings. Coaches do not have these.

    I am however in awe of referees who demand that young kids spike done the line in a spike warm up before the match.

    I spend hours a week teaching, training, pleading and begging players to hit down the line and they cannot do it.
    Some match referee looks at my kids and says the same thing in the warm up “hit down the line” and he expects to get them to hit down the line – give me a break…….. If referee expectations are that high and they can back up their expectations with the result that kids will hit the dam ball down the line, I will pay them to coach my kids. Hmmmm ……………. Maybe they are better than coaches.

  5. StevenB said

    I’ve been to a few National Juniors and one of the enduring criticisms has been that the referees being assessed are way to hung up on protocols. This nervousness may contribute to some poor performances during matches, who knows. It certainly is frustrating when knowledge of the rules appears to rate a poor second to adherence to match protocol.
    It seems that every year some new pet “rule/protocol” is adopted by the referees. A few examples… if the foot is used to push a ball a penalty will be awarded (not just kicking), this one comes and goes… players will line up at the base line before changing ends,…. if a player uses spit to clean the sole of their shoes, bam penalty (hygiene issue apparently, of course its ok to have sweat spray off a volleyball into your eyes as you set it)and of course the perpetual variable award goes to the issue of matching socks.
    Please can we have a National Juniors where the rules/protocols are the same as last year. Apparently the sport need traditions, long rule the toss or is that the tosser, I’m not sure. :))

    • Murph said

      National juniors is an interesting one…

      This year, it would have been a good idea to, at the tech meeting, say to every coach/rep that we will be cracking down on the substitution process.

      The socks… Pass… I still don’t get whats going on there…

  6. Batesy said

    All sports have bits of rules that players/refs/coaches/etc. find annoying. Volleyball, obviously, is one of them.

    Despite this, I still love and enjoy volleyball and think that the sport in Australia has much more pressing issues than worrying about the rules.
    If more space on this forum was spent on CONSTRUCTIVELY and OBJECTIVELY working on things such as increasing the sport’s exposure and participation, obtaining/replacing government funding, and investigating other options to make volleyball a viable major sport in Australia, I know I’d spend much more time thoroughly reading and researching people’s posts rather than just skimming over debates about things at are – in the scheme of things – trivial.

    …or maybe it’s just me.

    • Alan said

      I used to agree with that philosophy Batesy,however if the full time employee’s of our sport are not prepared to address the more pressing issues,particularly in their own forum let alone on Devos’, then I am happy to indulge in trivial debates!

      I know for a fact that you are a victim of “Volunteerism”( a person who volunteers, gets acknowledged as willing to help out and no follow up occurs) and I, for one, am sick of it!

      So when the “Powers that be” decide to “Pull out their proverbials” and lead,then we can have some serious discussions on this forum!!

      • mickmurphy said

        Whist for the most part this isn’t an objective discussion, it is certainly constructive… There are a number of things to come out of this debate that can help all members of the sport.

  7. Trio said

    When the teams on either side of the court are playing for ‘sheep stations’ (or what they perceive to be sheep stations) I don’t think it is unreasonable for them to come to a tournament at least aware of the correct protocol for a volleyball match and to be willing to help implement it. It’s there, as has been said for fairness but also for the presentation of the match to the public, if any have come to watch.

    For what it’s worth some extra points:

    I too think that the matching socks thing is a croc, especially at juniors

    I’ve always thought that protocol is best applied by a referee with a positive attitude toward the players and coaching staff. Too often I have seen referees thinking they are doing the right thing by applying the letter of the law with absolutely no personality – a coach or player is far more likely to respond positively to a polite reminder about the protocol with a smile on your face than an ‘official warning’ or mean looking gesture. Being a stern douchebag should be saved for players that are seriously misbehaving.

  8. edbinnie said

    To be honest, I think this post was sensational – we are effectively having a frank discussion between referees, players, and coaches. Hopefully it goes so far as to help all concerned – the referees understand why people get so angsty with them, the refs can explain what is going through their heads, and so on. Hopefully we all come away from it a little bit more aware, and with a little bit more appreciation of what’s going on somewhere else in our game.

    As many know, I live on both sides of the fence – player one week, coach the other, ref the third. In some ways its great, in others I have less tollerance for those that just get it wrong.

    Why are refs often so focused on protocol?
    One simple reason, is that its the easiest thing to get right. Its the most obvious. And it is something that you have influence on whether it happens right or wrong.
    But you are all correct – you can have every protocol right, but if you miss a foot fault, illegal blocker, big obvious touches, or someone minces a set, and you do that throughout the game, then you pretty much just had a terrible game as a ref.
    And refs also have to know when something is worth worrying about – does that guy out of the warm up area really matter when a coach was agitated about a previous call? You mention anything to that coach, and you are going to get an earful, and then you’ll probably card him, all because a guy was 1 metre away looking at a scoreboard.

    One of my referee instructors once told me that a referee is not a judge, they are a facilitator. You help people play a game, and you help them if they don’t know the rules. You’re don’t have to be a mind reader, but if you see two players coming up to sub area, and the coach doesn’t use 2 fingers, then maybe ask? or hint by making the signal for them? (I know this is now redundant, but its a case mentioned above).

    The post also mentions delay warnings. These are a pet peeve for me – because of how long it all takes to signal, then write down, then explain to the captain why there was a delay warning (all up it generally takes between 1 and 2 minutes to do) the delay warning actually disrupts the game more than the original delay.

    COACHES take note – its an awesome way to get a third timeout in a set. (can you tell that I use the rule book to its fullest advantage?!). But you can only do it once a match.

    Morky – if that was sucky, he should know better. I believe that the directive to all referees is that if someone’s shoe lace is undone, then allow them to retie it – it’s a safety issue. But if they ask to do it, then it constitutes a delay – they had to get the ref’s attention, then ask, then do. Why not just do. It takes 2 seconds (for most of us) to tie our laces. That asside – I have played hundreds of games of volleyball, and have literally never needed to retie my shoe. Its something that I can’t understand. THEY ARE CALLED DOUBLE KNOTS PEOPLE! I personally use triples – they never come undone.

    Eldo – the players hitting down the line thing. I know you understand the safety aspect. Being hit in the face by a hard spike while you feed the ball is a big problem – my sister has been hit dozens of times, and it causes a nose bleed every time. Not to mention just being uncomfortable. Most of the time its an accident. But sometimes not – I recall a QLD vs VIC U19 men’s game at 2007 Nat Juniors where QLD were trying to unsettle the VICs. No one got carded – I separated the warm up, they didn’t like it, because they both got less warm up time at the net. But when they met again later in the week (and I was 1st Ref again), they didn’t do it once.
    But that isn’t the problem for you. The issue is ball control. So here’s the thing. initiate the change as a coach. Request a separate warm up. or talk it over with the opponent coach – have both teams feed balls from the side line rather than middle of the court. Don’t make the referee get involved – fix the problem yourself.

    Alan – you are definitely correct. We want consistency. As players, coaches and refs. We want consistency throughout the one game. We want consistency throughout the league. And we want consistency in different tournaments. And you want 2 different refs to make the same call the same way on the same situation. I know that that is the aim for a lot of the tournaments – the AVRC release documentation, at AJVC they have referee training on the sunday just to “standardise” everything. Until you significantly up the standard of all officials, and get them to do a lot more training, its going to be a struggle. Its a goal, and a good goal, but the energy, effort, and cost to get us there is a little beyond the sport’s means right now. There is just so much personal variation between the refs, what they see, what they know, what their volleyball instinct is like. You can run all the trainings you want, but be it player or referee, if the person doesn’t see the need to change what they do, they aren’t going to do it. And you can give the same feedback to 2 different people, and they will take it on board in different ways.

    • Morky said

      With regards to Sucky doind up his shoelace:
      We won the point, on the way back to serve Sucky noticed his shoelace was undone, bent down to re-tie it and was given a time delay warning. He didn’t ask, just did it! Then as you said, we had a furhter 2 minute time delay as Dean explained to Luke (our captain)why he wouldn’t let Sucky tie his lace and for the scorers to do their part. This in the end gave him ample time to re-tie his lace!

      By the way, would love to try the “3rd” time out in a tight game – although knowing our luck, we would get a yellow straight away! We don’t seem to have much luck with the rules of the game!

      Saw some of your wedding photos – congrats! A little disappointed you weren’t wearing the purple leotards though!

      • edbinnie said

        have to say that I am surprised. Unless of course sucky ran around the court to talk to everyone first, then did up his shoe lace. Chalk it up to a game moment. There are reasons why it could be valid to do, and unless you know everything that happened in a game to get the context, its not always as simple as x results in y.

        Already used it twice this NCAA season – needless to say my head coach loves my advice!!! Players aren’t allowed to leave the court, but significantly changes the tempo of the game – pretty much what you want in a timeout anyway.

        Thanks for that. The missus knows the leotard – she took it out of my bag before we even left for Hawaii. That and my Borat Swimsuit.

        • Troy M said

          I wasn’t there for the Sucky incident, but I can’t see why the referee just didn’t whistle for the serve. If Sucky can’t get his lace done up and serve within 8 seconds, then they lose the point for not serving within 8sec… but yellow card and -1 point seems ridiculous

          • mickmurphy said

            Because you can’t authorise the serve before a player is in possession of the ball behind the service line. And Sucky got a delay warning, which carries no point penalty, didn’t he?

    • Alexis said

      I completely agree with the focus on protocol. Its like coaches who focus on defensive ‘neutral’ positions. I remember when I first started coaching that was the only feedback I gave because that was the only thing I knew (and I felt like I was supposed to be yelling out something – sorry to all those I coached back then).

    • eldo737 said


      Under 19’s no problem and I agree. When I ref I am very strict on this.

      I was talking about year 8 girls.

      • edbinnie said

        I’m taking a guess, but for the year 8 girls, you probably only have regional refs or lower? I’d be happy to think they were paying attention to the warm up.
        but you’re right – if they are just popping tips over the net, its not really going to be a huge danger to players on the other side …

        • mickmurphy said

          It was recently explained to me by quite a high level referee that the danger poised is the main point to be taken into account when a warning is issued. Year 8 girls are almost never, ever going to hit a sinister cross court ball into the feed line. So any kind of formal warning is over-officiating.

          • I find the whole warmup protocol for yr 8 girls ridiculous. At U15 nationals, they spend over 10 minutes hitting and 1 minute serving, when at least half the points will be won off the serve. The protocol makes sense for higher levels of volleyball, but yr 8 girls? they end up hitting more than they will in TWO games and everyone gets to watch an awful lot of underdeveloped hitting.

            • Everywhereman said

              so you are suggesting different interpretations of rules for different levels of volleyball? hardly promoting the consistency you long for from referees…

            • Stove said

              Hugh, you can easily change this by requesting teams do seperate hitting warm ups. I believe seperate hitting was used in all U17’s games at AJVC this year, so I’m sure you could easily get this to happen at U15’s by either bringing it up at the technical meeting and applying it to all games, or by talking to your opposing coach before each game. You can then (and I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong) use your time ‘at the net’ however you want, pretty sure you can even ask the ref to tell you when you have X minutes left in your allocated time (although I realise U15’s generally doesn’t have official refs so they might not be as on the ball). This is something that you as a coach can do and has nothing to do with refs being over-officious protocol junkies, which is what you seem to be suggesting.

  9. Volleyball Athlete said

    Since we’re on the discussion of protocol, I thought this would be a valid place to ask.

    I don’t say this in a sarcastic tone, but rather just have never been fully explained. My understanding is that the libero must always swap with a player between the 3m line and the base line. Can someone please explain this to me?

    Many times I’ve been told but no real explanation. Is it to make it easier for the second referee to view the exchange?

    Thanks guys.

    • Alexis said

      To make it clear that it is different to a substitution (which happens between the 3m and centre lines.

    • Everywhereman said

      on the libero front; with all these new proposed rule changes, mainly regarding the offensive side of the game and whether the attack is made from the back or front row on the third touch, has the libero position been made redundant as its now a wasted position for an attacker? Also, why is it that with all these changes, a libero cannot be captain? If a middle player is a teams’ nominated captain, they spend 50% of the game on the bench, whereas the libero is on for all bar 1 point every 3 rotations! It seems silly to restrict someone who spends more time on court from being a teams’ captain.

      • mickmurphy said

        Because the libero HAS to be on the bench at some point, the middle doesn’t…

      • markleb said

        if you’re referring the Golden Formula, my interpretation is that the first attack must be from behind the 3m line, but it doesn’t have to be from a backrow player. So the libero is still valuable.

    • Ezra said

      Yeah easier for second ref to see, and also for the crowd to see that it’s something completely different to a substitution.

      and Everywhereman, not sure on the point you’re making or asking about front row/back row attacks, the Libero cannot attack a ball anywhere on the court/free zone when the ball is completely above the height of the net, and if a Libero finger passes a ball when any part of their feet on or in front of the 3m line, no one can attack it when it is completely above the net.

      to be honest, I’m not against the Libero being team captain, because like every position once they get subbed off the referee needs to know who is now the court captain. With QAS on the weekend, they had a middle as captain cos Josh was injured, when he got libero swapped, the other middle became captain, but then there is always the points where they are both on the court and stuff like that… so no matter who it is, it can get complicated… bring on a Captains Armband like they have in Soccer

      • mickmurphy said

        Isn’t that what the stripe is for, Ez?

      • Everywhereman said

        Exactly ez and mark, we need to see the rule in action to determine if it is only the back row attackers that can make the third shot attack. if that is the case, then having a libero in play limits you to 2 attacking options, or even 1 if the setter is back-court. so does this make playing a libero a handicap as you will be up against double, if not triple blocks at all times.

        However, if as you point out Mark, the attack just has to be completed from behind the attack line by any of the players other than the libero, that is going to be quite a lot of people doing some very fast and dynamic actions in a very small area. This could lead to an increase in collisions with your own team-mates if the rule is enforced in levels lower than international and elite club’s, and in turn, an increase in injuries.

        And just because a player HAS to be on the bench is hardly a worthy reason to prevent them being captain. surely it works the other way as well, in that they are on court for MOST of the time.

    • edbinnie said

      on the libero exchange, its not just for the 2nd ref to see – but also the assistant scorer – the one with the libero tracking sheet.
      This is not commonly used (or hasn’t been) in Australia, even at AVL (might have changed, but I never saw it in use up to 2007).
      If they go through the base line, or leave through the other side line its often not direct enough for the scorer to see.
      There could be some other reasons, simply like they want to specify it simply because it needs to happen, so they need to say where to do it!

      • mickmurphy said

        That’s right, Ed. I haven’t seen a libero tracked by the assistant scorer, ever.

        Wait… Aren’t assistant scorers ‘flippers’, are in charge of the iPod and chip packet now days?

  10. mickmurphy said

    Well it’s been given a good run, thanks for the opinions, all!

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