Ball Handling & Philosophy (Rule 9-4)

Review Rules 9-4-5 & 9-4-7


  • Ball-handling --   Officials are asked to be consistent throughout the match

  • A ball rolling up the arm is legal on the first contact (multiple contacts)

- State CIF clarifications as of July 31, 2016


Ball handling

Determine the bar you set and be consistent.
- CIF STATE CLARIFICATIONS TO THE 2016/17 NFHS RULE BOOK July 25, 2016


(CIF Sanctioned)

In the case book beginning on page 94 it states that:
“A legal hit is contact with the ball by a player’s body which does not allow the ball to visibly come to rest or have prolonged contact with a player. The only valid criterion for judging a legal hit is that of vision.”

In other words, if you did not see it, it cannot be called . Referees should look ahead of the ball and watch the ball contact with the hands to ensure accurate ball-handling decisions. Prolonged contact is a call that NFHS rules require to be enforced. Any ball that comes to rest on a player should be whistled as a violation. “Rolling is considered an illegal hit because there is continued and steady contact of the ball with the player’s body. The referee must determine if the ball was rolling or making a series of bounces which is legal on the team’s first contact.”

In the 2015 - 2016 NFHS case book beginning on page 96 it states that: 

A legal contact:

  • can be made with any part of the body.
  • must be hit cleanly.
  • must not be caught or thrown, cannot visibly come to rest or involve prolonged contact.

Note: On the first contact, a ball rolling up a player's arms - as long as the ball is not caught/thrown - is considered multiple contacts in one act of playing the ball.

In order to determine the legality of each contact, the first referee should lead the ball with their eyes, rather than follow the ball in the air. The first referee must focus on the actual contact of the ball on the body part, and then pick up the next play/player with his/her eyes. External stimuli such as, preliminary body position of the player, unorthodox movement or poor technique during the contact, sound or the spin on the ball after contact are not part of the referee's criteria for making a judgment on ball-handling. Referees cannot be influenced by the spin of a white or multi-colored ball, players, coaches, or spectators while making any decisions, especially during the assessment of ball-handling. There are no "automatic" ball-handling calls in volleyball.

The second referee does not whistle ball-handling faults. In the event the second referee observes what he/she may perceive as a ball-handling fault out of the view of the first referee, the second referee will use a discrete signal to the first referee. If the first referee passes on the signal, the second referee will drop the signal.

Officials should pay special attention to the setters during warm-ups in an effort to become familiar with the styles of setting to be displayed during the match. Spin, sound, speed, body position or technique(s) are not criteria to be used to determine illegal handling of the ball. Officials
should strive to be consistent when making ball handling calls. This philosophy is only intended for varsity matches.

It is the current philosophy of CIF-SS that the lower levels (junior varsity and freshman) are designated as “developmental” levels. This designation implies an even wider latitude of ball handling techniques and the extra emphasis and use of preventative officiating techniques and protocol enforcement. This DOES NOT excuse any safety or liability issues.

It has been decided to request that each official lessen the severity of their calls for all levels as well. Obviously, the gross and egregious, non-simultaneous multiple contacts need to be whistled immediately. But if an official is unsure if they saw a multiple contact then they should error to the side of allowing play to continue. However, this DOES NOT indicate that there should be an artificial increase in caught/thrown, prolonged contact or “lift” calls made during a match. It is also extremely important to maintain an even, consistent level of ball handling throughout a match. The philosophy of prolonged contact is that is it measured solely by duration (time) of contact and not distance. 

This ball handling philosophy is only intended by the CIF State and NFHS for varsity matches. It is the current philosophy of the CIF State and NFHS that the lower levels (junior varsity and freshman) are designated as “developmental” levels. This designation implies even wider latitude of ball handling techniques as well as the extra emphasis and use of preventative officiating techniques and protocol enforcement. This DOES NOT excuse any safety or liability issues.

Louis Ventura
CIF State Volleyball Rule Interpreter
Revised/Updated July 31, 2015


Question: A ball rolling up the arm is legal on the first contact (multiple contacts)

Answer: TRUE

 

SCVOA:  Some members came up with this...perhaps it will help…..The threshold for borderline sets for the “better setter” should be lowered when the other setter is not strong.   That slight wiggle in the hands is often not called for the weaker setter, so allow the “better setter” the same leniency.

There are no automatic calls in volleyball. Using spin, technique or crowd/coach/player reactions to determine legality is entirely inappropriate. It is also extremely important to maintain an even, consistent level of ball handling throughout a match. If you wouldn’t call it at the first point of the first set then you should not call it at match point of the deciding set.

 

 

 


JUDGMENT- BALL-HANDLING: (SCVOA REMINDERS 2017-18):

Determining the legality of ball-handling is an ART – not a science. Going out and watching contests to see what is being called/not called is something every official should do to measure their skill with others.

 

Watching the consistency (or lack of) while teams are warming up during the contest you are going to officiate, provides an opportunity to gauge how the setters handle the ball. Watch for mistakes the setter makes.

 

Here are some guidelines that strong lead officials use to judge ball-handling:

  • Only the contact point should be considered when judging legality.

  • An increase in continuation of play when judging second ball contacts that are directed to a teammate.

  • A player in good position must play the ball without discernible double contact.

  • Less sever judgment is applied to a contact by a player who makes a challenging or spectacular play.

  • Mishandled balls resulting in a blatant fault should still be called, regardless of the challenging or spectacular nature of the play

 

Ballhandling is discussed in the Casebook – page 98-104. Please read. Here are interesting points to help you develop your “art” …..

  • Volleyball is a rebound sport.

  • Legal contact is with any part of the body.

  • R1 should lead the ball with his/her eyes -rather than follow the ball in the air.

  • Ball cannot be caught….visibly come to rest….no prolonged contact.

  • One-hand sets have the same criteria as two-handed sets.

  • Maintain a level of consistency in judgment throughout the match.

  • Set or match point does not mean the R1 whistle goes silent.

  • Plays which involve questionable ball-handling contacts are best not called at any point.

  • There is no body/ball position or playing technique that automatically results in illegal contact.


All sets come to a rest even at the highest level of the sport.   It is our judgment as for how long before a fault is called.