To improve the proficiency of junior support crews during the season, OVR officials should be giving similar instructions during the pre-match discussion. If the teams are hearing the same information from the officials no matter what part of the region they play in, we'll find that they will quickly learn and adapt!
Things an OVR official should instruct
At a minimum, the very basic calls we need a line judge to make = S.A.L.T.
S = Server foot faults A = Antenna calls L = Line calls T = Touches
Make plenty of eye contact with the first referee at the end of each play; "Every time you hear a whistle, you should look at the first referee." (REFEREES: End every play, look at the line judges, and THEN signal. Avoid having to change your signals because you didn't scan and take in all information at the end of a play.)
Hold your signals until the first referee looks at you. (REFEREES: This means we had better be using our line judges!)
Do not guess at a call; if you don't know, don't make it up.
Don't repeat the other LJ's call, especially if the call didn't involve your line, or if you didn't see the touch.
No touch signals during a rally, only at the end of a play.
If the server is close (your arm's length plus the length of the flag combined), buck up BEHIND the server so that you can make the sideline call; move back to your corner AFTER they have contacted the serve. (REFEREES: correct this positioning immediately so that the LJ is always in good position to help make calls.)
Point & Wave if the ball touches the antenna, and remember, the antenna is top to bottom, not just the part above the net.
Don't worry about chasing the balls! The server can retrieve it, or one of the spectators will roll it back to the court. Your signals are more important. Only help with the ball if you are sure the first referee has seen your signal.
The quicker you make the call, the easier it is to sell!
Both line judges help with balls landing near the large center part of the court, but when the ball is close to a line, only the line judge on that line should make a signal. Remember, each LJ has one sideline and one endline. For balls landing in the corners opposite either LJ, BOTH of them should make a signal. (REFEREES: For the opposite corner calls, if either LJ gives an "out," the ball is out. It does not take two "outs!")
Use a headshake or head nod to communicate! A head nod will mean "I saw the play as clean; play should continue." A head shake means "No, I did not see a touch" or "No, the ball did not hit the antenna," etc.
Help with pancake plays! If you don't know whether the play was good, don't signal anything.
If you see a ball come onto the court, AND ONLY IF it interferes will play, you should wave the flad to get the referee's attention. Also, if at all possible, if the ball is near you, you should make an attempt to get it away from the court as quickly as you can.
Be in position to make all calls because a replay on a line call is not an option, so we always need your information. (REFEREES: when a ball hits the floor, one of the teams has won the rally. Make a decision because a replay actually penalizes one of the teams.)
Do not address coaches', players', or spectators' comments! If the comments are rude or if they're trying to influence you, walk down the endline away from the discussion - especially the line judge on the second referee's side of the court. This will let the referees know that someone is saying something to you. If necessary, tell the first referee what was said. (REFEREES: Protect your line judges! They should now take any abuse!)
If the ball hits the antenna, point and wave THEN indicate which team was at fault.
Sometimes over-ruling is necessary, but it's only because the referee feels s/he had a better angle. It doesn't mean you make a mistake. (REFEREES: Only over-rule if you are absolutely sure the LJ's call is incorrect. Any over-rule should be accompanied by a "tweet-tweet" and a shake of the head.)
Situations that sometimes cause confusion
The touch vs. four hits play. For a tape shot that remains on the attacking team's side of the net, if the ball hits the floor, the line judge should ONLY indicate "in" or "out." They should never indicate "touch" by the blocker, and we should never ask them if they saw a touch. This is solely the responsibility of the referees. The LJ will only show "touch" if the ball has hit a player on the attacking team's side of the net before it has landed out.
Any first, second or third team hit that lands out of bounds on the same side of the net as the last player to touch the p=ball is "Touch." If a ball is hit into the net, and it then rebounds out of the net and lands out, the signal is "out."
If the ball hits the standard, referee stand, or crosses the extension of the centerline outside the poles, the signal is "out."
If a ball is hit in the direction of the line judge, and no player(s) is pursuing the ball, the line judge should "take the hit!" Even if they cannot make the call because the ball hits or rebounds into them, their position on the corner will help us to make the call. Also, instead of jumping out of the way of such a play, it is often better for the line judge to duck down (allowing the ball to rebound over them) and to keep an eye on the line.
Finally, flags are a great LJ tool! Consider purchasing or making a set!