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Re: National Ref's and Ball Handling Calls

"Bob Carlson" <> writes:
> Someone posted a message shortly after the adult Nationals asking if the
> powers that be were trying to loosen up the calls on setters.  He claimed
> that very few lift and double calls were made and that this seemed to be
> what was desired.
> At the Junior Nationals, I was surprised at the number of refs that
> my daughters had (in 16 Club and 16 Open) who would never call a
> lift or a double on the setter.  I know the better refs are assigned
> to the more important matches and it seemed to me that in those
> matches the refs WERE calling lifts and doubles appropriately.  I
> conclude from this that the powers that be are not trying to loosen
> up hands calls, but they also are not doing a very good job of
> bringing all the refs up to the highest standard.
> Is anyone willing to say what the raters were stressing at the JN's?  Which
> way are we going here?

I'll bite.  I was a JN candidate in New Orleans this year.  I may have
even done some of your daughters' matches.  In summary, I didn't sense
that raters were trying to push ball handling in either
direction--they continue to stress that officials remain consistent
throughout the match.

First, I'll say that only a small fraction of the 200 referees at the
girls session of JN's were being rated.  As one of the ~15 candidates
at the girls session, I was among that small fraction under the
microscope.  :-) What the raters were or were not stressing,
therefore, would only affect a fraction of the officials at the

With that said, the raters said little about ball handling to me
personally, but the yardstick that they always measure by is
consistency.  On my rating sheets there were notes of missed ball
handling calls, but these missed calls did not get too much time or
attention in post-match debriefing if your judgement of ball handling
remained consistent throughout the match.

This begs the bigger question: How can you teach a uniform standard of
ball handling among officials from all over the country?

This is personal opinion: I think a lot of officials think it's safer
to call a loose game.  Is it a cop out?  Perhaps....yes.  A lot is
being left go now that makes the older players cringe. Will I call
ball handling on the setter?  Certainly.  

Your observations of the differences among officials are
valid--ball handling does vary a good deal from official to official.
However, I can't validate your correlation between tighter ball
handling and the assumably-"better" officials you saw on "important"
matches.  I do not know how active the assigning staff is in assigning
the best officials to the most important matches.  I think most of
their time was spent trying to get all the matches covered.

                  Todd H.
USAV Jr. National Referee, Great Lakes Region, Palatine, IL
Todd's Volleyball Referee Page
"So you're a Ref and an engineer? Oh that explains it...."

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