Volleyball Whistle Review

Need help choosing a volleyball whistle for officiating volleyball? I have 23 years experience as a volleyball referee and I would like to share my tips for choosing a whistle. 

Quick tip #1: There's an art to blowing a whistle correctly. The trick is to cover the whistle opening with the tip of the tongue before and after blowing. This will allow the sound to be sharp and distinct. And you want to use short quick bursts. Use the chest not the belly. And you don't need to blow hard to create loud sound.

Quick tip #2: It's also a good idea to use a slightly shorter sound or a slightly longer sound in certain situations. This will help you communicate better what you're about to call. For example, use a consistent sound for every beckon for serve. Some officials prefer a long whistle for the beckon. Other officials prefer a shorter volleyball whistle. It doesn't matter what you choose to do. Whatever you do, be consistent. To change the sound length of the whistle, simply cover the whistle opening with the tongue sooner after you blow it. For a longer whistle, blow longer before covering the opening.    

Here are My Favorite Whistles

My favorite whistle and whistle I recommend the most is the Fox 40 Mini. I like this whistle because it's comfortable to hold in the mouth. It's also not too loud, but still loud enough. I like the sound this whistle makes and I think it works best for officiating volleyball. 

I also like the Fox 40 Mini because if you need a loud whistle because you're in a loud gym, you can definitely blow this whistle loud enough from everyone to hear it. 

The Fox 40 Classic is also a good whistle, but it's slightly bigger than the Fox 40 Mini. I prefer the Fox 40 Mini because it fits better in my crowded referee bag.

The other whistle I recommend is the Fox 40 Micro. I like to use this whistle when I don't need the whistle to be as loud. So this is good when you're the only court that has a match playing. I also like it that the bite on the whistle doesn't wear as quickly on this whistle. Some whistles will eventually crack from the bite. I've had my Fox 40 Micro for about 5 years and the tooth impression seems to be wearing much slower than any other whistle I've used in the past. 

A Beginner Volleyball Whistle

If your technique isn't great, the MacGregor Economy Plastic Whistle Pack, Black (One-Dozen) could be a good option.

A lot people like this whistle because you can blow it fairly loud without good blowing technique. This could be a good option for a junior referee or if you just aren't going to be officiating that much. However, the sound isn't sharp and I would still suggest the Fox 40 Classic, Fox 40 Mini, or the Fox 40 Micro if you would like a more professional whistle. 

Electronic Whistles

How to use an electronic whistle...

Most electronic whistles don't have an on/off switch. To use the whistle, there is a single push button which will make the sound as long as the button is pressed. Releasing the button will stop the sound.

Advantages of using an electronic volleyball whistle...

  • Better hygiene and sanitary.
  • Keeps you from drooling and spitting.
  • Loud, consistent sound every time.
  • Easier to give verbal commands without a whistle in the mouth.

Disadvantages of using an electronic whistle...

  • Some electronic whistles are hard to hear. Especially in loud facilities you may need a louder volleyball whistle.
  • Some electronic whistles don't sound like officiating whistles. Some make more of a chirping sound. It may be hard to get the attention of the teams if they can't hear the whistle or don't recognize the sound. 
  • Organizations vary on rules for electronic whistles. I would definitely have a regular whistle on hand just in case you aren't able to use your electronic whistle. For USAV club volleyball, most regions allow the use of electronic whistles. However, I would be prepared to use a regular whistle just in case.

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