Volleyball Time Outs Procedures
How to whistle and signal timeouts

Proper technique and mechanics for administering volleyball time outs. 

Second Referee Calling Timeouts

When a team requests a timeout, the second referee will.... 

  • Whistle and step to the teams side of the net.

  • Signal timeout. If the timeout is to the left, the left hand will form the stem of the T. The right hand forms the horizontal portion. Then point to the bench of the team that requested the timeout.

The first referee repeats the timeout signal (photo at the right). 

The second referee will signal to the first referee the number of timeouts taken by each team. 

The first referee doesn't repeat the signal for the number of timeouts taken. 

The second referee will then begin timing the timeout (30 seconds). 

The second referee then checks with the scorer to make sure the visual score is correct and all the information on the scoresheet is recorded properly. 

Volleyball time outs techniques for calling and signaling a time out

At the conclusion of 30 seconds, the second referee will... 

  • Whistle and direct the teams onto the court. Even if time hasn't expired, if both teams have taken the court, whistle to signal the end of timeout.

  • If the teams haven't taken the court and you've whistled the at the 30 seconds, step towards the team and encourage them to take the court. If necessary, you may choose to whistle again.

  • Make sure the scorer is ready.

  • Ensure the court is ready for play.

  • Give the court back to first referee by giving the ready signal.
Volleyball time outs techniques for calling and signaling a time out

When Should a Coach Call Volleyball Time Outs?

Volleyball coaches will call time outs in various situations. The following are common situations when a volleyball coach may elect to call a timeout. 

  • When the team is out of alignment. Sometimes a team gets confused and isn't sure how to line up on the court. The volleyball coach may decide to call a time out to help the team figure out the team lineup.
  • When the team gets stuck in serve receive. Often a team will have trouble receiving the serve. If team gets stuck in a rotation and can't figure out how to put the ball away, then the coach may call a time out to discuss what they can do to get out of the rotation. 
  • Ice the server. Sometimes a server is doing really well and gets on a roll. This is a time to take a time out to try and ice the server. Get the server to think about it. They may start to feel pressure and not want to take a chance on missing the serve. This can be especially effective if the time out is called on match point. The serve may decide to serve in such a way to just try and keep the ball in the court. The receiving team ends up receiving an easier serve that results in a sideout.

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