Everyone who plays volleyball needs to be prepared to take their turn at officiating - as referees, scorers, or line judges - and should be competent to do so at least up to their own playing level. It can be a daunting prospect at first, an ideal way to start is by officiating during the friendly games at club training sessions and/or helping out at low level competitions such as inter-school tournaments.
Note that electronic whistles have become widely used since the covid pandemic, they are good quality (recommended is the Fox 40 at £20-25) and they are very suitable for use in club development sessions - they avoid the hygiene issues of blown whistles because they pass from hand to hand instead of mouth to mouth, so they can be shared freely.
The SVA also has a group on Facebook which anyone can join and post questions or information about officiating. Just search on Facebook for 'Suffok Volleyball Referees' and join the group in the normal way. (Update 2022: this group has been inactive for some time now).
The next step up the ladder would be to gain some practical match experience in SVA tournaments such as the Men's and Women's Leagues or Suffolk Cups. Before attempting this it's important to do a little studying in preparation:-
Scorers should watch this 30-minute video
There is also some excellent practical advice for all officials on the London Volleyball Association website
Referees should be familiar with the rules at an adequate level for the game being played.
Anyone wanting to referee regularly in the NVL should go on Volleyball England's one-day Grade 4 Referee Course. The schedule for forthcoming courses is on Volleyball England's Course Finder
The course requires that participants have learned the FIVB Rules in preparation for a written exam, which they sit as part of the course and will give them the Grade 4 qualification. The qualification is also valuable for anyone involved in sport as part of their career. The SVA is able to SVA offer a subsidy of up to 50% of the course fee, to members of Suffolk Clubs who are recommended by their club's committee. This can either be paid directly to the organisers or in arrears to the student with proof of completion of the course. Contact our Treasurer for more details.
The SVA also recommends that clubs pay £10 plus travel costs (either via reimbursement of public transport costs, or petrol money at the current Volleyball England rate which in 2012 was 25p per mile) to referees officiating Suffolk Cup matches.
BEWARE that Volleyball England also requires qualified referees to re-register every year (in 2018 the cost was £41pa). Any Grade 4 referee who does not re-register for 2 years loses their qualification and would have to re-take the one-day course (and the exam) if they wish to regain it. Higher grade referees would be considered on an individual case basis but may also potentially have to retake the Grade 4 course.
Grade 4 referees who wish to be appointed to referee at NVL matches will need to be assessed in action by an Observer from Volleyball England. This is not at all daunting, they usually just identify a few points for improvement and award an upgrade to 3R. Although it is possible to ask for an Observer to come to watch you in Suffolk, they are very busy and may well find it difficult to fit into your schedule. Probably a better way forward is to offer yourself as an official at one of Volleyball England's National events such as the U15s, U17s, or Student Cup. This will typically involve a day or a weekend at UEA, Kettering, or London - these events are very enjoyable and you are sure to get some excellent advice as well as the upgrade. To volunteer, make sure your Referee Profile on the VE website says Yes to the question "Would you like to be considered for refereeing events", and send an email to email@example.com
Note that referees at NVL matches are required to wear the full current VE referee kit (available from Kitlocker), and bring a net measure, ball pressure gauge, stopwatch, and a whistle (preferably pealess !). It will often save time if you also bring a ball pump and adaptor, although strictly speaking this is not the referee's responsibility.
To be kept up-to-date with the latest news on Volleyball in Suffolk...