First Time
#1

Heading out to referee for my first time. According to the schedule, I'll have a chance at R2 and R1, as well as some practice scoring. "Nervous" is an understatement. Thankfully, we'll have some evaluators for critiques, so there's an almost-immediate feedback to what we're doing.
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#2

So how did it go?
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#3

It went..... okay.

About 15 different teams from the area came together for a scrimmage. They started at 2, we got there around 5, and it went until almost 9. Each "match" was 40 minutes with no break in between, with teams cycling in and out. 4 different courts. There were 5 referees on my court, 2 of us new, so we were always working with an experienced referee. We also had an evaluator helping us throughout, giving us things during the match and some feedback between matches.

First match I was scorekeeper. We only had to score until one team won the set, though they weren't keeping score officially. This went fine as I'd been practicing with some YouTube videos. These matches went a lot faster and most of the teams didn't have uniforms with numbers, so keeping track of subs was nothing more than marking "S" or "Sx" on the sheet - no numbers.

Second match I was R1. Wow. No level of training had me ready. I was comfortable with being up there and making end-of-rally calls, but everything in between was a blur. The 40 minutes went by very quickly. I think there was twice I tried awarding the point to the wrong team, but realized it as I was doing it. I know I was working too quickly, which is very common for newer officials. After I got down, my evaluator mentioned some things to work on: (1) signal location, (2) slowing down, (3) not watching the ball. For the last one, it was primarily when the ball was going high to the rafters. I was watching to make sure it didn't carom to the other side, but he said it will be very obvious when that happens. Overall, I felt more comfortable as the match progressed, but definitely need some more work.

Third match was a chance to relax. Watch our court and asked the evaluator some questions as they came up.

Fourth match I worked as a line judge. Now, I'd seen line judges in the YouTube videos, but they were the ones used by schools. Then, I watched one of our officials work as a line judge during our all-day meeting on Saturday. I acted more like her. Made some good in/out calls and felt in the zone. About halfway through, the evaluator came up and asked if I'd done it before - nope. He said I was doing a great job.

Fifth match I worked as R2. Hoo boy... even worse than R1. I just could not get the "go to the side of the team that lost the rally" concept, so I looked like I was doing the R2 dance the whole 40 minutes. Plus, with basically open substitution, it was hard to practice my work on that, though the teams were generally nice about waiting. Once I (again) slowed down and began to process what was happening, I was getting better. The game looks a lot different from there, especially with a pole blocking about a third of the attacking side. This position will need a lot more work. Evaluator basically said what I just did, so it'll be great becoming more comfortable with it.

It was great, though. I didn't get any practice as an umpire my first year in high school level, so it's been welcome. I would not have enjoyed my first opportunity to referee to be a game that counted. It was wonderful evening, and was great to have an evaluator who actually gave constructive feedback. I have another scrimmage on Thursday, then a final one next Thursday. Maybe by then I'll be ready for a real game.
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#4

(08-14-2019, 12:02 PM)yawetag Wrote:  Maybe by then I'll be ready for a real game.


Nope. Wink

Your experience mimics mine (and, I'd suspect, everyone's). The good news is that you're experienced at officiating from another sport. You "only" need to learn VB. Lots of newbies need to learn to officiate in general AND learn to officiate VB.

And, yes, R2 is much harder than R1. Especially here, where relatively few sub-varsity matches even use an R2, so we don't get a lot of experience at it.
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#5

Yeah, it's R2 only at the Varsity games. If there's a JV/Varsity double-header, the R2 has the ability to come early and work it for the first game (for free). If I get assigned these, I will probably take advantage of that.
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#6

R2 is definitely harder than R1. Here, we do have 2 officials even for middle school, so we get plenty of practice there before moving up. When I was getting started, I took R2 as often as possible, just so I could get better there. One thing that helped me is to start focusing on the "next 3" in order on each side for rotation purposes.

For R1, as I gained more experience (and I'm certainly not the best ref even in my area), I learned to watch the player where the ball is going to - that helps to be ready for the double-hits.

Keep at it!
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#7

R2 takes about 5 years of solid work to have a real sense of comfort with substitutions, alignments, and handling benches. Taken all at once it is overwhelming.

Use the same advice you have likely given to new baseball umpires - work on one thing at a time. I would suggest start with substitutions. Even if it is a scrimmage where there are no numbers involved, practice the process. Hold them there, make a change to your lineup card, verbalize "Blue for blue" since there are no numbers, and then give the mechanic to let them enter the court. If they move too quickly for your comfort level, slow them down. You are supposed to be the one in charge.

You might even pre-game what and why you want to do with the head coaches of each team. I have never run into a problem with a coach in this kind of scenario. Volleyball tends to be more civil than baseball.
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#8

(08-15-2019, 04:41 PM)Kevin_K Wrote:  Volleyball tends to be more civil than baseball.

That's an understatement. In my 4 years of reffing and several more as line judge and fan, I have yet to see even a yellow unsporting conduct card in person. I've talked with others, so I know they happen, but they're not at all common (at least around here).

I'm not sure if I even personally know of any disqualified player.
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#9

(08-15-2019, 04:56 PM)kylehutson Wrote:  
(08-15-2019, 04:41 PM)Kevin_K Wrote:  Volleyball tends to be more civil than baseball.

That's an understatement. In my 4 years of reffing and several more as line judge and fan, I have yet to see even a yellow unsporting conduct card in person. I've talked with others, so I know they happen, but they're not at all common (at least around here).

I'm not sure if I even personally know of any disqualified player.

In 14 (?) years, one player has earned and received a disqualification for unsportsmanlike behavior, 3 coaches (one got it twice!) received yellow cards, and  2 players received yellow cards. I've had single games in baseball where more people have asked for and received an early excusal.
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#10

Second scrimmage in the books. Felt MUCH more comfortable and was able to grow on what I'd learned from the first.

This time, there were three of us and our evaluator on our court, covering three 50-minute games. All the teams on our court were varsity level and two of the four were high-caliber teams in their conferences. Along with me was another first-year who had been a volleyball coach for years before retiring and joining the officiating ranks, and a more-experienced referee.

I had R1 for the first half of the first game, R2 for the second half, then did a couple more rotations of each in the other two matches. Because of my comfort level, I was much more deliberate in my actions, able to pause and think about the play before making a call. As R2, I was better able to watch the netplay and even had a few very confident calls on net touches and center line violations. During the last 8 minutes or so, I was the R1 with the experienced official as R2. They had warned the coaches that he would be working on communication with me - giving me those subtle signals of faults he saw - so I could learn to glance to him throughout the rally. This was very helpful to keep me aware of his actions, rather than having tunnel vision on the court.

Got some great feedback from the evaluator and the experienced official. They said my whistling was a bit "weak" (I blame it on the whistle I was using at the time - once I pulled out another, it worked just fine), and one said I should use the whistle similar to the way I'd call out someone on a close play - forceful and obvious. That actually helped me comprehend what makes a good whistle.

As we were finishing up, our evaluator told me and the other new official that our director was impressed with how well both of us had been improving. I guess that's a good sign. One more scrimmage next Thursday before we begin the season. As I did with baseball whenever I moved into something new, I'll probably ask our assigner for a good day and location to watch an experienced referee work a solo game, since that's what I'll probably get for this first year. I like to see how the flow works in person, as there's only so much you can learn from reading.

(08-15-2019, 04:14 PM)kylehutson Wrote:  For R1, as I gained more experience (and I'm certainly not the best ref even in my area), I learned to watch the player where the ball is going to - that helps to be ready for the double-hits.

I liken this to baseball. Get an idea of the track the ball is heading, then watch the fielders. They'll take to where the ball is. And, for the most part, what happens while it's in the air doesn't mean anything.
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#11

(08-16-2019, 02:49 PM)yawetag Wrote:  They said my whistling was a bit "weak"

First of all, you can't go wrong with the tried-and-true Fox 40, but I do have another one I keep with me in case the players are getting confused with whistles from another court.
(B) I don't do other sports, so I hadn't used a whistle since I was a lifeguard in high school. I learned that (especially unlike lifeguarding where you're just trying to be loud and get everyone's attention), you don't start-and-stop the whistle with your breath, you do it with your tongue. It makes a crisp start and stop to the signal, which leads me to
3) Turn your whistle upside-down, especially when you're R1. Not only does it direct the sound down to the court, but it drains the spit faster.

(08-16-2019, 02:49 PM)yawetag Wrote:  I liken this to baseball. Get an idea of the track the ball is heading, then watch the fielders. They'll take to where the ball is. And, for the most part, what happens while it's in the air doesn't mean anything.

Exactly. I almost wrote the same thing, but then thought "I really need to quit making the volleyball forum all about baseball."
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#12

I do have a Fox 40. Got the 3-pack that includes a Classic (the one that sucked), Pearl (lower decibel, but works better), and a Blast (trying it next week).

I think I'm already doing the tongue-not-breath technique. I played clarinet in high school, so I think that was a natural way of doing it. Hadn't heard the angling down - great idea, especially in multi-court gyms.
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#13

Glad to hear you are settling in yawetag! It’s also awesome to hear about the structure in your area for introducing, training, and supporting new officials!
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