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By Az Volleyball Mom, 12/18/19, 12:00PM MST


Volleyball IQ 101: Knowing Officials' Hand Signals and What They Mean

Speed up your knowledge of the game by learning the official hand signals as set forth by USA Volleyball.


Trevy Kelly from Rush Volleyball's 18 White in Reffing Clinic

Trevy Kelly from Rush Volleyball's 18 White in Reffing Clinic

A 7th year of club volleyball means a 7th scoring and reffing clinic. As my daughter gets older, I have more appreciation for the importance of these instructional seminars.

Reffing is one of the most important elements of a fair game.

Here is a prime example of how seriously the boys at Rush Volleyball Club take officiating. The linesman pictured is Trevy Kelly from Rush 18 White.

AZ Region Commissioner Harold Cranswick notes, “I was very impressed. The coach and the players all took great pride in their work as officials.”

Score and Ref Clinic at Verrado High School

AZ Epic Volleyball Club holds an AZ Region Score and Ref Clinic at Verrado High School

In the sports world, we can all agree games are pointless if they're played unfairly. Rules are designed to make the game fun to play AND fun to watch.

The rules we play by in the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball are established by our parent organization - USA Volleyball. These rules provide a sturdy framework used by all officials around every court.

Once you understand the rules, and the calls the referees make, the game becomes easier to watch... especially during those nail-biter, intense matches.


Adult and Junior teams are required to attend Score/Ref training and required to fulfill referee assignments as part of their play in each tournament.

The Arizona Region provides a paid R1 official for each court at all power league and Region Championship tournaments. Each team is required to supply a Scorer, Libero Tracker, Score Flipper, an R2 and two linesmen.

The operation of the tournament is dependent on each team fulfilling their referee assignment. In fact, we believe this is so important that fines and sanctions are in place for teams which do not fulfill their obligations.

AZ Epic Volleyball Club holds an AZ Region Score and Ref Clinic at Verrado High School

Athletes demonstrate how to call a foot fault at the AZ Epic Score and Ref Clinic


I'll admit, it took me a while to figure out all of the hand signals. "A while" actually means a few seasons. Now, it's a form of sign language that helps me figure out what happened when I missed the play, (probably because I was taking a photo or watching the wrong side of the net). Now that I know what the referee is signalling, I don't bug my husband - as much - to explain what just happened! (He's happy about this, too!)



Officials can card spectators, too.

The purpose and intent of the Purple Card Sanction policy, is to effectively address and sanction any inappropriate or prohibited behavior exhibited by anyone attending and observing any AZ Region-sponsored Power Tournament.

This policy preserves order in its activities and maintains the safety and protection of all AZ Region members.

How do you get a purple card?

Prohibited Behavior

a. Prohibited behavior would include, but not limited to, any comment(s) made or action(s) displayed, deemed by others as rude, profane, disrespectful, disruptive or aggressive, which interferes with the normal progress of a tournament match.

b. Any behavior prohibited by USAV and the AZ Region Code of Conduct policies

c. Any misconduct deemed contrary to normally accepted behavior, which results in the unnecessary interruption of a tournament match

As the Golden Rule of Fair-Play goes....

Respect opponents, teammates, referees, officials and spectators. Fair Play means respect. Referees are there to maintain discipline and Fair Play. Always accept their decisions without arguing, and help them to enable all participants to have a more enjoyable game.


Officials are getting harder and harder to come by. This is why the region is so grateful for those who choose to spend their weekends with us.

Fully supported by USA Volleyball, this link of Volleyball Training is the central resource for USA Volleyball officials of all levels of experience. It remains free and open to all who wish to learn more about the sport of volleyball.

While the deadline has passed for this season's orientation meeting, please bookmark us and keep us in mind if you'd like to become a referee next year.


The Arizona Region of USA Volleyball offers training for juniors who are interested in becoming officials and it's not too late.

Our Junior Official Development Program, [JODP], page provides all the information you need.

This year's JODP clinic is Saturday, Dec 28th. If you'd like more information, please contact us.