June 19, 2012

Volleyball Players Officiating?


Question:  How does club volleyball get the girl volleyball players "out of the loop" when it comes to them line judging and being the down referee during club games?

My experience is that they don't care, don't know, are too tired,  perhaps have an interest in the outcome of the game they are officiating and line judging?

There has to be a way to get these girls off the court and get them rest.  I believe they can still work at the table keeping score, though for line judging and being the down referee, there has to be a solution.

Thanks much!!


I agree with you on all your points.  I do know that at the National Qualifiers and larger tourneys the down official will be an adult on the last day, and if my memory is correct in the qualifying divisions of NQ's on day 2 (maybe even the first day?).

It will come down to Money - the tourney directors can save a large amount of money by only paying for an up official when possible.  Every player they use to down officiate saves them @ $18-30 per match and when you do the math on a large two or three day tourney, this adds up.

Unfortunately with the rally score system, the lines people have become even more important because every ball matters.  Under the old, old side out scoring system, if a lines person blew a call, half the time it did not 'cost' you anything.  When you combine the critical nature of lining, with tired and/or dis-interested (lets believe a lines person/player would not cheat a call - might as well be positive) player/linesperson, then it adds up to match altering results.

For a number of years, the collegiate coaches have struggled to get athletic directors and conferences to pay more money for lines people because of their new critical nature.  Even at the NCAA Division I level, we can run into good officials and joke lines people who are all too often just college age kids.  I still shake my head at the number of points which critically impacted the outcome of a match which were dictated by a poor lines person call.  

The club tournament directors will still need to make a certain percentage profit on their tourneys.  This is big business and not a non-profit enterprise.  You would be amazed at the amount of money the national qualifiers generate, but they have their margins to keep because of convention center rental, officiating, court rental, equipment rental etc. 

By hiring lines people, the profits of these tourneys would be cut, and the off set this loss, the tourney directors would increase the entry fees and admission fees of the tournament.

There is also the very real possibility of not being able to staff a 100 court National Qualifier with four adult officials per court for 3 full days of play.

I believe there is a two part solution/improvement option and it revolves around the clubs:

1.  Only enter tourneys where an adult up and down official is provided, but be aware these tourneys will cost more money.

2.  Club directors need to do a better job of training players to line judge and emphasizing the importance of being a honest and qualified line judge.  I believe it is the club's responsibility that any coach or player which wears the jersey/sweats of the club is conducting themselves in a professional manner when involved in the match.  The club needs to in force this mentality and demand this professionalism.

I don't think there will be a day in club where the lines people are not players, unless it is the last few matches of a National Qualifier or a year end Championship event.  The costs are more than the tourney directors would accept, and it would prove to be almost impossible to find enough staff for a large tourney.

This is my idea -- just by watching for the last 6-7 years.
Have each club take 4 parents from each club team (on a 10 lady roster = 20 parents) and have them "volunteer" to be line judges at these tournaments,,, whether they be national qualifiers, regional tournaments, or the nationals in Columbus or Orlando.  Provide them with a class of 1-2 hours of instruction @ each club.  Some parents will have very little difficulty with this, since many parents line judge at their daughters high school games.  At the end of the training process,,,each club will send to the USAV the names of the parents who are "certified"(trained) and provide those names to each tournament so the parents can be assigned courts to line judge.  I would make sure that no more than 3 matches are missed by an individual parent(in a national qualifier they would still see 6-8 matches).  Perhaps they will line judge a match in their daughters pool or in another pool with the same age group or in another playing distinction.  Ex:  Daughter plays in Open; assign parent to line judge in Club.
This really needs to be looked at by parents and club directors as a method to relieve the girls of line judging when they are tired, don't care(arms crossed), hungry, and perhaps, in rare instances, have a competing team they want to lose--though in a very subtle way.  The down official I would always have as a coach,,,never a girl from another team.
From reading your website -- I really think u have a total grasp on what is going on.  My daughter will be out of club ball after summer 2013, though I do not want to leave these problems for people years ahead.  The answer I am getting from those who can affect change is "it is the way it is", or the paid $$ line judges won't do any better.  I don't believe that.
The solution I commented on above would cost the clubs no $$, other than a few hours to make sure parents are "on board" and to contact the USAV with the names of the parents.  There has to be 4 parents on each club team that would do this for the sake of their daughters and game of volleyball.

Anyway, you are the best.  I think you are very practical on what can be accomplished and what PSA's should be looking for.  J.O.

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