Referees play vital role in the success of the WA Volleyball League


Referees play a vital role in all sports. Without officials giving up their time in a paid or volunteer capacity, sporting competitions would be unable to function. Being a referee can be challenging, and unfortunately some officials are subjected to hostile behaviour by participants, spectators, and others.

Officials need to ensure that their approach towards officiating is in line with the aims of the competition. For example, junior competitions are usually aimed at fun and skill development rather than winning. Officials should be aware that their approach to officiating can influence the participants’ experience and enjoyment of the sport.

Referees undertake an important role in the staging of competitions. They provide leadership and guidance to participants, ensuring that the competition is conducted in a safe and fair manner. Qualities such as integrity, honesty, and respect are integral to the role of the official. This includes how they behave and relate to others prior to, during, and after competition.

Participants expect the official to be someone they can trust to control the game. Volleyball in WA is lucky to have some of the country’s highest qualified referees, a group of passionate individuals who strive to deliver a quality experience for all in the sport.

Hear from some of the Referees who are managing the courts this WAVL season as they talk about some of the rewards and challenges of the role and why they love it.

Dani Francis – Chief Referee WAVL 2022, Level 4 International Referee

Like many I started as a player, I went into officiating to support the local social comp I was in but the casual fill in turned to three or four nights a week, a good second income and something I quickly grew to love. I got my first chance at the next level in 2000 at the Australian Junior Volleyball Championships and have since racked up more than 20 years of national and international experience.

One of the things I love most about being a Referee is being in the best seat, watching some amazing matches and fine tuning my art. I am also passionate about Referee development and helping other people achieve their goals as they journey through the sport.

Dani is back in the role of Chief Referee for the WA Volleyball League in 2022 and will be keeping a watchful eye over the on-court action.

Renae Harvey – Level 3 Referee

Having to earn respect and get challenged on your ability to referee the game can be a challenge of being a female official. That is outweighed of course by the fact that I get to watch and be involved in my favourite sport from some of the best seats in the house and I get to help others see this too.

I enjoy giving back and helping others achieve their goals and see other opportunities other than just playing as a referee mentor and assessor. I am on the VWA Referee Committee and quite often step up to take on the role of tournament/venue coordinator.

Oliver Guazzelli – Level 3 Referee

For anyone looking to become a Referee Oliver says there are three main rewards when it comes to officiating.

Firstly, becoming a better referee improves your self-confidence and your trust with yourself. I would never have thought when I first started refereeing that I would be officiating high level games and mentoring new referees with such confidence when I started, but here I am.

Secondly, there’s several national opportunities available to help you improve, and these are fantastic experiences, with accommodation, flights, and food all covered. At the Australian Youth Volleyball Championships, you have a full week of officiating junior volleyball at a national level, with daily feedback from experienced national referees. At the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup you get to work on your interpersonal skills, your technical rule knowledge and interpretation, and your conflict resolution skills as well.

Thirdly, the better referee you are, the better volleyball you get to watch! I’m a division 3 player, I know that I’m not going to play at an international level, or an AVL level, or even a state league reserves level! But through my officiating I can still be a part of the game and experience high level and exciting volleyball.

Will Dundas – Level 2 Referee

As a highly technical sport, Volleyball poses several challenges for Referees, ultimately the Referee’s goal is to try and provide the best game of volleyball possible to athletes, coaches and supporters while making sure the rules of the game are being fairly applied. Therefore, the biggest challenge is often being able to stick to what you know and what you’ve been taught about the rules and refereeing to make sure you continue to provide that service in challenging games and situations.

I love Refereeing because it provides you with the best seat in the house to watch some high-quality Volleyball. Refereeing allows me to be involved in games and competitions that I would not be able to as an athlete, with the bonus of being able to travel to watch and be involved in the sport that I love. Refereeing also is a great means of building friendships and relationships with coaches, athletes, and officials not only outside your own club, but also nationally and internationally too.

If you have ever thought about becoming a volleyball referee, there is a dedicated group of others who are willing to help and support you through your journey. To find out more visit our Education page.