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How to Handle Beach Volleyball Officials

If you are a sports fan it is very likely that you have witnessed a botched call by a referee. Maybe it was a base runner called safe when he/she should have been out; or perhaps it was an undeserved foul awarded to a basketball player. Even a beach volleyball official signaling that the ball was in despite the fact that it landed a foot outside of the court boundaries is a pretty common occurrence.

While we would certainly prefer our officials to be perfect, that is just an unrealistic expectation. Google the search terms “bad referee calls” and you will inevitably be met with thousands of search results.

The reason for this is simple: Referees are human, and sometimes humans make mistakes.

Referee error is an unavoidable part of all sports, but most athletes don’t go into a game thinking about the officials. However, knowing how to deal with referees if you find yourself on the losing side of an official’s bad call can be very helpful.

Here are some things to keep in mind when contesting an official’s call.

Stay Calm

Keeping your cool is often easier said than done, but it is well worth the effort. Beach volleyball officials take pride in what they do and are trying their best to get the call right. You wouldn’t appreciate it if the referee jumped off their stand, got in your face, and started screaming at the top of their lungs every time you made a mistake.

So take a couple of extra seconds to chant or take a couple of deep breaths – whatever works for you. The official will be more likely to see your point if you are able to stay calm.

Use Your Manners

Make your parents and your kindergarten teacher proud by putting your manners on display.

If you need to get an official’s attention, start with the phrase, “Excuse me, Ref” instead of “Hey you.” And be sure to throw in an occasional “Please” and “Thank you.” Officials will notice your effort to treat them with respect and they will do the same for you.

Determine if it's a Judgment Call

Regardless of how bad you might think an official’s judgment is, the rules say that a judgment call is not able to be protested. Rule infractions that are considered official’s “judgment calls” include double-hit fouls, lifts, and illegal contact fouls.

While you cannot protest a judgment call, you can (politely) ask the official a clarification. For example, if a ball lands on the line and the referee signals that the ball is out, you can ask for a clarification of the rule regarding the boundary lines

State Your Case

Once you have determined if the call you want to contest is able to be protested, get ready to plead your case. So proceed to the referee’s stand – in a cool and collected manner. Once there, politely ask for the official’s attention, and then state your case.

Live to Fight Another Day

You should always remember that just because you see something one way doesn’t mean someone else will see the situation in the same light. In other words, be prepared for an official’s call to hold up.

Regardless of whether or not the call is changed, you still have a match to play. It’s better to accept the bad call and move on then let it affect your play for the rest of day.

Dealing with beach volleyball refs is frustrating, but it's important to show respect. Check out this guide for tips on how to communicate with the officials.
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