Volleyball Calls and What They Mean

Volleyball Calls and What They Mean

Shannon Clark '23, Co Editor

Want to come to the Volleyball State Championship tomorrow but have no idea what’s going on? Here’s an explanation of the calls so you can support or defame the referees.

Whistle to Serve




The referee will blow the whistle to serve while signaling that the server can proceed. This is the start of the point.



Point Recognition



When blowing the whistle to end the point, the referee will signal like this to indicate which team received the point. Following this call, the referee will explain why the point ended (see below)




In the Court



This call means the ball landed in the court. There may have been a touch, but the ball landed within the lines, signaling the play is over. If the ball lands on the other side of the court, we get the point.





Out of Bounds



If the referee signals this way, it means the ball landed outside of the lines of the court. Whichever team hit the ball out of bounds (or served it out of bounds) lost the point. If someone touches the ball before it goes out, that is a different call: a touch (see below).





Net violation / Under the Net



The referee will touch the net indicating that a player touched the net on a block or at some point. If a player steps under the net and their foot fully steps over the half-court line, this is a violation. Likewise, if they step under the net and they are a hazard to other players, the point ends as well. These calls are normally made right away to end the point. The point is awarded to the opposing team. 







If the referee signals this call, it means that a player touched the ball before it went out of bounds. They may have shanked the ball (sent it off the court) or it may have been a touch off the block or some other touch. If this call is made, the point is awarded to the other team.



Out of Rotation



If this is called, one or more players on one team were not in the right spot when the other team is serving. This point is awarded to the opposing team.




Double Touch (double)



If the referee holds up a peace sign, they are not being nice. The call is a double, usually called on the person setting the ball. If the person does not accept and release the ball at the exact same time with both hands, it is a violation. This may be called whether the ball spins or not, though in most cases the ball spins.



Above the Height of the Net


If a player is the back row in the rotation and jump in the front row (past the ten-foot line), that is considered a violation. Likewise, if a setter is back row and they jump to play the ball, they have to set the ball: they cannot hit the ball when they are back row. If they do, this will be the call and the point will be awarded to the opposing team.



Time Out



A classic, if a referee signals this, a coach took a time-out. You have two time-outs per set that you may use. Unused timeouts do not carry over from set to set.




Four Touches



The referee will call this if a team hits the ball four times at one time. There are only three touches allowed before sending the ball over to the other side. If a team does four touches, the point will go to the other team







Another classic: the replay. Referees will usually call this if a ball rolls onto the court or if they disagree on a call. No point is awarded to either team.








If the referee signals this sign, it means they considered the play a lift. This may be if the ball rests a second too long on a player’s platform or if a setter deep-dishes the ball. The point is awarded to the other side.






The referee will motion for this if two players need to substitute. They will wait at the line and wait for recognition.




Yellow cards are really only used for delay of games or arguing with the referees too much. Red cards are extremely rare but result in ejection.


Be sure to support WHS Volleyball at the State Finals tomorrow!!