Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Volleyball: Learning Lessons

Last weekend was my 3rd week of officiating youth volleyball. I originally was scheduled to work Saturday but the games conflicted with a basketball tournament I was officiating on Saturday and Sunday. The assignor later gave me three Friday night games (4th, 7th and 8th grade). I was a little surprised to receive the upper grade games. The assignor had stated during training that they would probably avoid giving upper grade games to newer officials. Maybe the assignor was in a pinch or they felt I could handle the games (the assignor's husband is a basketball official and knows me).

In any case, the games went smoothly without any issues. I'm personally feeling pretty comfortable and got a feel for the games and how to work them.

Afterward, the gym director did point out a couple of things that I missed during the 8th grade game:

First, a girl went up and blocked a spike into her net. The same girl was able to recover and bump the ball. Alas, the play happened so quickly that I didn't see the whole play. I called the girl for "running into the net". Interestingly no one really complained about the play.

Second, during a rally, a girl went off the court to save the ball. She made one heck of a play to bump the ball over back to the other side. While it was a great play, the gym director pointed out that the girl had bumped the ball outside the width of the volleyball court towards the opponent. The ball should have been ruled out of bounds.

Three things worked against me on that play. One, antennas are usually setup to help volleyball officials to judge those kind of plays. Unfortunately, the antennas weren't setup so I had no way to judge whether the play was played legally or not. Two, in high school volleyball, there is usually a "down" judge/official on the other side of the court. That official would have been able to assist with that play. However, since this is a youth league, there is no down judge/official. Third, I was officiating the game while on the floor. Most volleyball officials work above the net while on a stand. Alas, there was no stand for me to work from.

Of course, if I knew the rule in the first place, I might have been able to make the call. All in all, I'm getting the hang of volleyball and it's pretty interesting. I don't know if I will ever make the run to go to high school volleyball. However, this is proving to be a nice diversion from basketball.

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