MSHSAA has asked that we encourage our members to take a survey conducted by Northwest Missouri State University as part of a Sports Officials Research project.  The link is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VPSMSVF.  The focus of this survey is high school officials and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.



For the second year, GKCOA will be webcasting the jamboree from Staley High School with Ken Corum (GKCOA VP for Volleyball), Dixie Wescott (MSHSAA rules interpreter), and Don Sleet (MSHSAA mechanics interpreter) as commentators.

The match will be broadcast on YouTube on Tues., Aug. 27 beginning at 5:30pm at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErMlUNeMj0k.  We will webcast the captains/coaches meeting and coin toss, the discussion between the R1 and line judges and between the R2 and scorer’s table prior to the matches and then broadcast the matches from the perspective of the referees instead of the teams and players.

If you watch live, you will be able to submit questions on YouTube (if you have an account) in the comments section that we will be able to answer on the air.  Also, if you don’t have a YouTube account, feel free to submit questions live via email to ken.corum@nkcschools.org.  We hope this will be a great training tool for officials.


RULE 9-6-4

In my discussions with some varsity coaches at the Oak Park Team Camp, one coach asked me about officials who call the situation above as an over the net violation on the blockers.  In the video, #10 has already attacked a 3rd ball, but the blockers intercept the ball while it is still completely on the attacker’s side of the net.  Here, Rule 9-6-4 applies: “Blocking a ball which is entirely on the opponent’s side of the net is permitted when the opposing team has had an opportunity to complete its attack.”

After showing them the above video, several coaches indicated to me that this was being called IN VARSITY matches as an over the net violation.  Remember, as long as the attacker is allowed to complete the attack (or if it’s a 3rd ball meaning that it’s an automatic attack), the blockers can have their hands over the net waiting to block.

The attack is considered complete when the:

•Attacking team has completed its three allowable hits

•Attacking team has had the opportunity to complete the attack or, in the referee’s judgment, directs the ball towards the opponent’s court


As long as the attacker contacts the ball before the blockers do, it’s all legal.



How do I get more assignments?

  1.  Go to Arbiter. Click on Blocks. If a date is Red or Pink, indicating it is blocked and you are still open, immediately contact Don and David by email. They can remove the Block and get you assigned.
  2. Send a weekly email reminder to Don and David of any upcoming open dates. GKCOA receives match changes and turn backs. Your proactive communication helps get these assignments filled faster.


Other announcements:

  1.  This is the time of pre-season assigning that GKCOA see schools drop from C Gold and Silver to C Gold only. The C Silver assignments are replaced by Varsity Line Judge assignments. If officials see a C Gold assignment with a Varsity assignment and the slots still read Referee 1 and Umpire 1, please David and Don know so they can change to Line Judge 1 and Line Judge 2.



If you are listed first (Referee 1) in Arbiter for any tournament, you have several responsibilities that you need to fulfill:

  1. Contact host school 2 weeks prior to tournament to secure details—number of courts, hospitality room, start time, administrator on duty, etc. Please also determine if abbreviated bracket matches will be used (non-varsity only).
  2. Contact David Thompson (JV and V tourneys) or Don Gard (all underclass tourneys) to determine partners, rotation, working finals, potential Line Judges for finals, etc.
  3. Contact entire crew 1 week prior to tourney to confirm their presence, arrival and start times, details on partners, etc.
  4. Ask each official to report back to you with the correct number of pool and bracket matches s/he worked. Please report this info to the Athletic Director or school costact person so that s/he may provide proper payment.
  5. If there are any changes from what shows on Arbiter, please report immediately to David/Don so that adjustments may be made.
  6. Meet with officials prior to the tournament to go over ground rules, safety issues, location of restrooms and hospitality room, administrator on duty.
  7. Have a great time with your fellow officials.



Host sites for districts have not yet been determined.  Check www.mshsaa.org for that information later.  The winners of District 14 in each class will host the sectional tournament.


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At tonight’s (Aug. 25) GKCOA volleyball meeting, we spent a great deal of time talking about the coach’s #1 complaint about referees:  ball handling.  There are black and white obvious calls that need to be made and obvious non-calls.  However, it’s the gray area where we need to be better.  In the meeting, we called those “50/50 balls” where 50% of the time it could be called legal and 50% it could be called illegal.

In short, WE WILL NEVER TOTALLY 100% AGREE ACROSS THE BOARD AS TO WHAT IS ILLEGAL AND WHAT IS NOT!  What our stated goal is this season is to become better at our individual consistency.  What you choose to call needs to be the same from the first serve until the final whistle of each match where you are the first referee.  Once you enter the match and make a ball handling call, you have set your standard that you should abide by for the duration of the match.  Sounds easy, right?

What makes ball handling so difficult is all the factors that go into every possible decision–examples include:

  • Skills being performed
  • Which contact it is (1st vs. 2nd/3rd)
  • The angle at which you see the contact
  • The skill levels of the players
  • The age of the players
  • The experience of the referee
  • The pressure of the match
  • The behavior of the coaches
  • The involvement of the fans
  • The body position of the players
  • An unorthodox movement
  • Quality of the technique
  • Spin following the contact
  • Sound of the contact
  • Reaction to a contact from players, coaches, spectators

You need to think about all these factors long before you climb the stand in preparation for your first match this season!  The more solid your ball handling philosophy is (and how you will call those “50/50 balls,” the more likely your match will go smoothly.

What can you do to help yourself?

Do your best to watch the setters during the prematch warmup.  Yes, we have a lot of responsibilities before the match to check rosters, talk with line judges, find the administrator on duty, talk with the scorer’s table, etc. but all you need is to see a few sets from each setter to at least have a clue with what type of ball handling you may be dealing with that night.

Talk with your partner afterwards.  If you feel comfortable asking your partner flat out what he or she thought of your ball handling calls or non-calls, that is a very direct way to get feedback.

Watch other experienced officials.  There’s plenty of matches on TV nowadays plus with jamborees and matches starting up, try to get out and watch some ball handling decisions before you get on the stand to make your own calls!

WE WILL GET BETTER AND SHOW CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT WITH THIS SKILL!  Get better and don’t be satisfied.  Keep working hard so that we can show evidence to coaches that we are taking this seriously and improving the sport overall with our willingness to get better!



A question was brought up at Sunday’s meeting about setter dumps and making the proper calls/non-calls on those.  Here is a portion of the video, “Officiating Volleyball–Ball Handling” put out by NFHS that addresses the setter dump or a setter “setting over on 2” – meaning the 2nd contact.

Again, you’ll have to take their word for it if you believe the contacts they say are illegal really are illegal.  The same rules apply on a setter dump like all other setter 2nd ball contacts.  She cannot have multiple contacts or cannot catch, throw, or have prolonged contact.  Your criteria on this contact is the same.



Speaking of seeing matches, here is a list of jamborees this week to get out and watch:

Mon., Aug. 26 – 5:00pm at Center

Mon., Aug. 26 – 5:30pm at Sherwood

Mon., Aug. 26 – 6:00pm at Smithville (CANCELLED)

Mon., Aug. 26 – 6:00pm at Excelsior Springs

Mon., Aug. 26 – 6:30pm at Missouri Western in St. Joseph

Tues., Aug. 27 – 5:00pm at Lee’s Summit West

Tues., Aug. 27 – 5:30pm at Blue Springs

Tues., Aug. 27 – 5:30pm at Fort Osage

Tues., Aug. 27 – 6:00pm at Staley (webcast by GKCOA)

Tues., Aug. 27 – 6:00pm at William Chrisman

Wed., Aug. 28 – 4:00pm at Lexington

Thurs., Aug. 29 – 6:00pm at Liberty North


The Spectrum Sports Volleyball Slam at St. James Academy is this Saturday and all matches will be on Spectrum Sports Cable (Channel 30):

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Sun., Sept. 8 at Lee’s Summit High School

3:30-4:30pm – New officials

4:30-6:00pm – All officials