The Official’s Checklist: Must-Have Volleyball Officials Equipment

Volleyball officials must be properly equipped to ensure fair play and game management. This article provides a comprehensive checklist of must-have equipment for volleyball officials, including key items such as whistles, flags, scorecards, timers, and rulebooks.

Additionally, the article will address common misconceptions or myths about volleyball officials’ equipment. This guide is designed to help officials be well-prepared and equipped to officiate matches effectively and efficiently.

Key Takeaways

  • Whistles, flags, scorecards, timers, and rulebooks are essential equipment for volleyball officials.
  • Volleyball officials need to be familiar with the rules and regulations of the game, and have the knowledge and skills to signal violations and issue penalty cards.
  • Officials should wear appropriate and neat clothing that complies with local or league regulations.
  • Safety equipment such as eye protection, head protection, mouthguards, and padding for elbows and knees is important for the safety of officials.


Whistles are a necessary piece of equipment for volleyball officials, as they are used to signal specific game events and provide order on the court. A whistle is an essential tool for officiating, as it is used to start and stop play, signal substitutions, and indicate violations. It is also used to keep players on the court and in the game. Whistles should fit comfortably in the referee’s hand and be loud enough to be heard across the court. The referee should also have a back-up whistle in case of emergency.

Whistles should be checked and tested before each game to ensure they are working properly. Referees should also be familiar with the hand signals associated with the whistle, as some signals may vary from league to league. While some referees may choose to use a different type of whistle, such as a pea whistle, the most common type of whistle used is a metal whistle. It is important for referees to become familiar with the correct whistle techniques to ensure uniformity and accuracy on the court.


Flags are essential for volleyball officials to signal infractions, indicate points scored, and manage substitutions. Flags come in different sizes, shapes, and colors, and it is important to have the right flag for each job. Usually, flags are brightly-colored and feature two or more stripes of different colors.

Essential flags for volleyball officials include:

  • For signaling infractions: A large-sized flag with a white and red stripe is typically used to signal illegal contact, net interference, and out-of-bounds.

  • For indicating points scored: A small-sized flag with alternating red and white stripes is often used to indicate a point scored.

Also, officials should have the following:

  • Substitution flags: These flags are used to signal when a substitution is occurring and are typically yellow with black stripes.

  • Back-up flags: It is important to have a few extra flags of each color in case one is lost or damaged.

Having the right flags is essential for volleyball officials to be able to correctly signal infractions, indicate points scored, and manage substitutions. It is also important to have back-up flags in the event that one is lost or damaged.


Scorecards are an important tool for volleyball officials to keep track of points, substitutions, and game statistics. Scorecards are used to record the score of each set, number of points, the server, number of substitutions, and other statistics. It is important that scorecards are accurate and legible so that the score can be verified and reported accurately at the end of the match.

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Set Points Server Substitutions
1 10 A1 2
2 15 B2 4
3 20 A1 5
4 25 B2 6
5 30 A1 8

Scorecards should be filled out by the head referee and the other two officials should cross-check the scorecard for accuracy. Scorecards are also used to record any violations or misconduct that occurs during the match. It is important that the scorecards are completed accurately and diligently in order to maintain a fair and unbiased match.

Volleyball officials should be familiar with the proper procedure for completing scorecards and should review any instructions provided by the governing body prior to an officiating assignment. Proper training and preparation is essential for volleyball officials to ensure that all matches are officiated fairly and accurately.


Timers are a critical piece of equipment for volleyball officials. They must be reliable and accurate to ensure proper timing of the game, and should be synchronized across all courts for consistent application of rules.

Durability is also key, as they must be able to withstand the rigors of regular use.

Accuracy: Timers Must Be Reliable

It is essential that volleyball officials have reliable timers to ensure accuracy in game management. A stopwatch is the most common type of timer used, as it allows officials to precisely measure time for each point and the end of each set.

Here are some features to look for when selecting a stopwatch:

  • User-friendly:

  • Easy to read display

  • Clear instructions for use

  • Lightweight and comfortable to hold

  • Reliability:

  • Accurate time readings

  • Durable construction

  • Long-lasting battery life

Having a reliable timer is essential for volleyball officials to ensure the game is managed accurately and fairly. Therefore, selecting a stopwatch with these features in mind is essential for every volleyball official.

Synchronization: Timers Should Be Synchronized

It is important for volleyball officials to have synchronized timers to ensure accurate timing of the game. Timers must be accurate to within a fraction of a second, allowing officials to monitor the timeouts, substitutions, and other stoppages of play.

Timers should be synchronized at the start of each game and should be checked regularly throughout the match to ensure accuracy. If timers become out of sync, officials should take the necessary steps to recalibrate them.

Additionally, each official should have their own timer to ensure accuracy and fairness. Having reliable, synchronized timers is an essential part of volleyball officiating and helps to ensure the game is played fairly and within the rules.

Durability: Timers Should Be Durable

Timers used by volleyball officials must be durable to ensure they last throughout the duration of the match. Durable timers have a few key characteristics:

  • Quality: Timers should be made of high-quality materials that are built to last.
  • Waterproof: Timers should be waterproof to prevent damage from sweat, rain, or spills.
  • Shockproof: Timers should be shockproof to protect them from being dropped or knocked over.

Overall, volleyball officials should look for a timer that is made of quality materials and designed to withstand the elements. Durable timers are essential for officiating matches and should be on every official’s checklist.


Rulebooks are an essential tool for volleyball officials, as they contain the legal rules of the game that must be followed. Knowing and understanding these rules allows officials to accurately interpret and enforce them during matches.

Additionally, rulebooks provide guidance to referees on the interpretation of the rules and the situations they may encounter while officiating.

Legality of Rules

Knowing the rules of the game is an integral part of officiating volleyball matches, and it is important for officials to be familiar with the current regulations and guidelines. Rulebooks are a must-have for volleyball officials to ensure they have the most up-to-date information on the rules of the game.

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Some important points to consider when it comes to the legality of the rules include:

  • Regulation:

  • Confirm the rulebook is from the governing body of the match.

  • Make sure that all rules and regulations are up-to-date.

  • Knowing the Rules:

  • Understand the rules of the game.

  • Familiarize yourself with the specific regulations and guidelines set by the governing body.

Having the correct rulebook and understanding the rules of the game is essential for volleyball officials to ensure a fair and safe game.

Referee Interpretation

Interpreting the rules and regulations of the game is an important responsibility for volleyball referees to ensure fairness in officiating. Referee interpretation involves making decisions on violations, determining fault, and issuing penalty cards when necessary.

It is important for referees to be familiar with the rules and regulations of the game in order to properly interpret them. Referees must also be aware of the various techniques used to signal a violation, such as using their whistle, hand signals, or verbal commands.

Additionally, referees must be able to use penalty cards to communicate the severity of a violation to players, coaches, and spectators.

Referee interpretation is essential for the successful officiating of volleyball games.

Clothing and Uniforms

As part of the volleyball officials’ equipment, clothing and uniforms are essential for ensuring a professional on-court presence. Officials must wear clothing that is appropriate for the sport, is comfortable, and allows for full range of motion. Key components of an official’s uniform include:

  • Shoes:

  • Shoe choice should be based on comfort and should provide cushioning, stability, and grip on the court.

  • Shirts/Pants:

  • Shirts should be long-sleeved and should be tucked in. Pants should be comfortable, breathable, and not overly baggy.

It is important for officials to ensure that their uniform is neat and presentable. They should also avoid wearing any jewelry, hats, or accessories that could be a distraction or interfere with their duties. Lastly, officials should be aware of any local or league regulations regarding uniforms and comply with them.

Officials uniform is an important part of the volleyball officials’ checklist to ensure smooth game management.


When selecting footwear for officiating, it is important to choose shoes that provide cushioning, stability, and grip on the court. Shoes should have adequate cushioning and traction to prevent slipping and injuries. Additionally, proper support should be provided for the feet and ankles to ensure the official can move quickly and confidently on the court. The table below provides a list of features to look for in shoes for volleyball officials.

Feature Description
Cushioning Shoes should have adequate cushioning for the feet and ankles to reduce the chance of injury.
Traction Shoes should have a good grip on the court to ensure officials can move quickly and confidently.
Support Shoes should provide adequate support for the feet and ankles to prevent slipping and injuries.
Durability Shoes should be designed to withstand the wear and tear of officiating and provide long-term use.

When selecting shoes for volleyball officials, it is important to consider the features listed above. Quality shoes will provide cushioning, traction, support, and durability to ensure the official is well-equipped to officiate matches.

Safety Equipment

Safety equipment is essential for volleyball officials to protect themselves and ensure the safety of those involved in the game. Volleyball officials must have the following to remain safe:

  • Protective Gear:

  • Eye protection: glasses or goggles

  • Head protection: helmet or padding

  • Mouthguard

  • Padding for elbows and knees

  • Communication Devices:

  • Whistle

  • Flags

  • Timers

  • Scorecards

The importance of safety equipment for volleyball officials can not be overstated. With the right protective gear and communication devices, officials can be prepared to officiate matches safely and efficiently. Additionally, having the necessary equipment can help ensure games are managed fairly and professionally.

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Communication Gear

Communication devices are essential for volleyball officials to manage games effectively and efficiently.

Communication gear includes a whistle, which is used to signal the start of a match, to indicate when a team has committed a fault, or to stop play in the case of an injury. A spare whistle should also be carried to replace a malfunctioning one.

Additionally, a flag is a crucial piece of communication gear. It is used to indicate the direction of the ball, to show when a player has stepped out of bounds, or to signal when a team has committed a fault.

Scorecards, timers, and rulebooks are also necessary communication tools for volleyball officials. Scorecards are used to track points and set scores while timers are used to keep track of the length of each set. Finally, rulebooks provide the official with the necessary information to make the correct call.

Communication gear is critical for volleyball officials to manage games in a fair and orderly manner.

Miscellaneous Gear

Properly outfitting oneself with the necessary miscellaneous gear is essential for volleyball officials to facilitate fair play and efficient game management. The miscellaneous gear an official should have includes:

  • Measuring Tape: It is important for officials to have a measuring tape, as they will need it to measure distances in a match. This can help them ensure that the court is properly set up and that all measurements are accurate.

  • Rulebook: Having a rulebook is important for any official, as it provides a comprehensive resource for understanding the rules and regulations of volleyball. It can help referees make informed decisions and ensure that the game is played fairly and safely.

  • Miscellaneous Supplies: It is also important for officials to have a variety of miscellaneous supplies, such as pens, pencils, and paper. These items can help officials keep track of scores, make notes, and take any other necessary notes during the game.

Volleyball officials must ensure that they have all the necessary equipment and supplies to properly officiate any match. Having the proper miscellaneous gear is an essential part of being a successful and well-prepared official.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Should a Volleyball Official Ensure That Their Equipment Is in Good Condition?

A volleyball official should regularly inspect their equipment to ensure it is in good condition. This includes checking flags, whistles, scorecards, timers and rulebooks for any damages or missing components. Proper maintenance of the equipment can help ensure fair and efficient game management.

How Often Should a Volleyball Official Update Their Rulebook?

Volleyball officials should ensure that their rulebook is up-to-date by regularly checking for updates from the governing body of the sport. It is recommended that officials update their rulebook at least once per year.

What Type of Clothing Should a Volleyball Official Wear?

Volleyball officials should wear comfortable, professional-looking clothing, such as a polo shirt and dark-colored pants. It should be appropriate for the environment and weather, and must not display any logos or advertisements. Other items, such as shoes and hats, should also be considered.

Are There Any Special Requirements for Volleyball Officials Regarding Footwear?

Volleyball officials must wear appropriate footwear such as sneakers or court shoes with non-marking soles to provide traction and stability. Additionally, it is important to make sure that the shoes do not have any exposed laces that could be hazardous to other players.

What Types of Communication Gear Are Essential for Volleyball Officials?

Volleyball officials must have reliable communication gear to ensure effective game management. Essential items include a whistle, flags, scorecards, and timers. Additionally, a two-way radio or other communication device can be useful for relaying in-game updates to other officials.