Although termed “minor officials”, line judges have a major role to play in the refereeing corps.
Here are some of the key points to remember about line judging in VGVA:
Before the match
Check that the antennae are in place and correctly aligned. The sidebands should be directly above the side lines, with the antennae on the outside. The antennae must be completely vertical. If they need to be adjusted during the game, it’s your responsibility. While you’re doing your pre-match check, verify that the locking pins that secure the net at the right height are in place.
The two line judges should be standing on the corners to the right of the first referee and second referee, about 1m diagonally outward from the corner of the court. Out of respect for the players and your teammate on the stand, and in order to ensure proper viewing of the lines, it is not acceptable to sit while acting as a line judge (nor, obviously, to be playing with your phone or otherwise distracted).
Bend your knees and move about as required to gain a proper angle for viewing the relevant lines, players, and the ball.
In, out, touched
The ball is in: if any part of it falls within or on the lines.
The ball is out if:
- The part of the ball, which contacts the floor, is completely outside the boundary lines
- It touches an object outside the court, the ceiling or a person out of play
- It touches the antennae (signal antenna fault), ropes, posts or the net outside the side bands (signal out)
- It crosses the vertical plane of the net either partially or totally outside the crossing space (i.e., over our outside the antennae)
- It crosses completely the lower space under the net (no corresponding line judge signal)
The ball is “touched” if: the receiving team touches the ball and it goes out on their side of the net.
As a line judge, you are responsible for making the correct signal (even in obvious cases) in the following situations:
- Short line on your side of the court: ball in, out, touched, service faults
- Long line adjacent to your position: ball in, out, touched for the entire length of the court
- Ball hitting the ceiling anywhere you can see it (signal Out)
- Ball hitting either antenna (signal Antenna fault)
- Ball passing totally or partially outside the crossing space (i.e., outside or above either antenna) – signal Out or Antenna fault respectively.
- Ball contacting an external object (e.g., the net outside the antenna, the ref stand, an official, a spectator) – signal Out
- Ball touched by a receiving player, then out on your side of the court – signal touched
- Ball down and clearly in on your side of the court (e.g., in the middle of the court, or failed pancake)
- Server on your side is serving: look for foot faults on the service line at the moment the ball is contacted.
- Served ball: adjust position to optimize viewing of your sideline and antenna, since the service line isn’t relevant anymore.
- Ball high up in the air: look for contact with the ceiling.
- Ball set: try to guess which player will execute the attack hit. What options do they have? For example, if the ball is far outside the antenna opposite you, the player can probably only hit cross-court, so optimize to view your sideline, look for antenna faults, and touches off the block.
Use the signals from the Volleyball Canada Line Judge Training presentation [PDF]. Make your decision, stand straight up with your feet together, square your shoulders to the relevant line, make the signal, and make eye contact with the referee. For in and out signals, your motion should be crisp enough that you can hear the flag make a snap sound.