Volleyball: Refs are volley good fellows

Training young volleyballers to be referees is the best way for them to quickly learn the intricate rules of the game.

That is the theory behind the large number of newly qualified referees who are ready to go as the new indoor volleyball season is now underway.

Edwin O'Dea, Coachforce Officer for volleyball at Sport Bay of Plenty, says there are important reasons for getting the mostly year 9 and year 10 students trained up.

"As part of running the tournaments we have coming up, we want to provide refereeing opportunities to make sure the tournaments are run at a good standard," O'Dea said. "We contracted one of the top refs in the country, Tim Cleaver, who used to be in my role here at Sport Bay of Plenty, to run three courses in the Bay.

"We also got into all the local secondary schools in Tauranga, mostly at the third and fourth form levels, and they sat a test and had to get a 70 per cent pass mark.

"Over 140 were involved, which is a lot for us. From the markings coming through I would say 80 per cent passed, so that was pretty good as the test was not easy and had some difficult questions for sure.

"Once they pass they need to be observed being refereed by coaches or myself, using a checklist ticking off the basic things, and then we talk to them about what they did well and what they can improve on.

"We send the information off to Volleyball New Zealand and then they get their official qualification."

The influx of new referees does not mean there is a shortage in the Bay of Plenty. Far from it.

O'Dea says every team has to have a qualified referee in their playing roster and doing the course helps players new to the game pick up the rules quickly.

"We are quite lucky in the Bay that we have some quite high ranked national referees and they are working in the volleyball community quite a lot. Our referee courses here have probably been the best in the country and it is always so important we run them.

"It is the first thing the coaches ask for. Volleyball is quite a technical game so you can imagine if you coached a year 9 team how helpful it is to have someone come in and explain it all when the kids are learning... it is not just about getting them qualified, it is getting them to understand the game and all the proper rules so they can then play at a higher level."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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