Volleyball Officials
Duties of Referees in Volleyball

The first referee is the official on the referee stand. Of the volleyball officials, this is the referee that's in charge of the match.

The first referee is also referred to as the R1. R1 is the head official of the match. The R1 has final say on all calls.

Think of the R1 as the facilitator. The R1 facilitates the match.

The R1 is the most important of volleyball officials and has various duties.

Volleyball Officials

Volleyball Coin Flip

First Referee Pre-match Duties include...

  • Inspects equipment/identifies ground rules

  • Directs informative Captain's meeting

  • Briefs officiating team

  • Observes setters during Warm-Up


  • Scans court prior to each beckon

  • Is approachable but assertive

  • Communicates effectively with captains/coaches

  • Gives scorekeeper enough time to record subs


  • Call prolonged contact power dinks

  • Call prolonged contact 2nd or 3rd hit

  • Calls lifts out of net correctly (not automatically)

  • Judges setter/non-setter ball handling the same

  • Recognizes and calls back row violations

  • Recognizes and calls overlaps and screens

  • Is preventative whenever possible

  • Assesses penalties appropriately


  • Confident and alert appearance

  • Is aware of entire court/playing area

  • Has good reaction time on calls

  • Directs/Controls when necessary

Critical Elements...

  • Has whistle, cards and coin

  • Whistle is clear, sharp and authoritative

  • Signals are correct, visible, held

  • Whistles ball dead immediately, then signals

  • Ability to stay with the play

  • Uses R2 & lines people effectively

  • Good eye contact with R2

  • Calls 1st hit, prolonged contact vs multiple contact

  • Calls multiple contacts on 2nd & 3rd hit

  • Consistent judgment calls

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Volleyball Officiating Tips

Volleyball Officials Second Referee

The second referee is the down referee. Also referred to as the R2.

The R2 has specific duties.

Pre-match Duties...

  • Ensures game ball is ready

  • Attends Captain's meeting

  • Informs Scorekeeper of coin flip result

  • Times Warm-Up

  • Collects line-up sheets on time

  • Verifies line-ups/player position on courts

  • Identifies captains to R1


  • Whistles/signals to begin & end time-out

  • Whistles/signals substitutions

  • Whistles/signal to end time between games


  • Communicates effectively with scorekeeper

  • Assists R1; Discreet signals (4 hits, etc.)

  • Is approachable but assertive


  • Recognizes and calls overlaps

  • Whistles ball outside or over antenna (R2 side)

  • Whistles ball outside playing area behind R1

  • Calls/Assists with back row violations

Bench Management...

  • Pays attention/communicates with bench/coach

  • Anticipates, recognizes, controls subs/time-outs

  • Manages time-outs (subs off court, spills, etc)

Critical Elements

  • Has whistle, watch and coin

  • Whistle is clear, sharp and authoritative

  • Signals are correct, visible, holds/steps out

  • Mimics R1, signals (not service beckon)

  • Calls net fouls and centerline violations

  • Stands away from net pole/standard

  • Good eye contact with R1

  • Check receiving team on each service

  • Focuses on defensive team side

  • Transitions (side to side) quickly


The scorekeeper keeps track of the match on paper. The scorekeeper is responsible for such things as filling out the pre-match heading information, recording subs, points, and timeouts.

Libero Tracker

The libero tracker tracks each teams libero on the libero tracking sheet.

Line Judges

The line judges are responsible for assisting the volleyball officials with calls.

Calls include the ball lands in, the ball lands out, the ball hits an object out of play, the ball crosses the net outside the antennae, the ball hits the antennae, and server foot faults.

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