FIVB Ball Handling Guidelines for Referees:

In accordance with the spirit of international (and USAV) competitions, and to encourage longer rallies and spectacular actions, only the most obvious violations will be whistled. Therefore, when a player is not in a very good position to play the ball, the first referee will be less severe in his/her judgment of ball handling faults. For example:

  • The setter running to play the ball or forced to make a very quick action to reach the ball in order to set.
  • The players are forced to run or make very quick actions to play a ball after it has rebounded from the block or from another player.
  • The first team contact may be freely made except if the player catches or throws the ball.
Guidelines for overhand passing ("setting") actions:
  • When the setter is in good position to play the ball, excellent contact is expected (with respect to the level of play).
  • When the setter is running or jumping to get a better position to set the ball, the referee should be less severe in judging contact. (A jump-set does not equate to an automatic "no call" situation.)
  • If the setter, or other player, is not in good position because he/she has not made an appropriate effort to do so, judgment should not be less severe.
Referees must also avoid making "automatic calls". For example:
  • A ball recovered from the net -- the ball often rebounds slowly on these plays, but that does not automatically result in a caught/thrown ball.
  • Plays made from strange body positions.
  • Skills attempted by lesser-skilled players.
  • Referees and participants should recognize that there is no body position or technique that cannot result in a LEGAL contact of the ball.