It’s time to announce a volleyball match and now you have a crash course on what to announce and when. This will help you start though don’t feel that you need to do everything all at once. Pace yourself and when you feel comfortable announcing more, add it to your announcing style.
Terms to Know
DS – Defensive Specialist – primarily plays in the back row but rotates throughout the match. The DS will typically be subbed out for a front-row player when they move to the front in the rotation. DS can sometimes also be a setter.
L – Libero (LEE-buh-row) – an often maligned term as this has become Americanized and often mispronounced. The libero is only allowed to play in the back room and may only serve in one spot in the rotation. The libero is allowed to freely sub in and out between points as long as they remain the back row and the sub takes place behind the front line. A libero may have a substitution but it must be another libero. These are the players wearing the different color jerseys.
Linespersons – They stand in opposite corners to help R1 judge calls on the lines, touches, and foot faults.
MB – Middle Blocker – hits on the front row, will sometimes sub out for a defensive specialist on the backrow.
MH – Middle Hitter – hits on the front row, will sometimes sub out for a defensive specialist on the backrow.
OH – Outside Hitter – hits on the front row, will sometimes sub out for a defensive specialist on the backrow.
OPP – Opposite – hits on the front row, will sometimes sub out for a defensive specialist on the backrow.
R1 – The official that’s on the stand at the net.
R2 – The official who is on the floor in front of the scorer’s table.
RS – Right Side Hitter – hits on the front row, will sometimes sub out for a defensive specialist on the backrow.
S – Setter – Primarily responsible for setting the ball and will get a lot of assists, they can also score points with “dunks”.
Ace – When a server hits the ball over the net and the opposing team is unable to get control of the ball. The ace refers to one hit by the serving team. If the receiving team is able to dig and control the ball, it is not necessarily an ace if they’re unable to return the ball.
Attack – attempting to register a kill, the attack is the act, kill is the result.
Block – When a single player at the net blocks an opponent’s attack and win the point.
Block Assist – When more than one player jumps at the net to block an opponent’s attack and they are successful in winning the point, this is a block assist. It is scored as such because it can be difficult to identify if one, both, or all three front row players were able to contact the ball.
Bump – the act of using your fist or both hands to make a fist to hit the ball up in the air
Dig – when a defensive player goes down toward the floor to keep the ball from touching on an attack from the other team.
Kill – when a player jumps above the top of the net, hits the ball and the opposition is unable to control the ball leading to a point. This is a kill.
Match – Encompasses all the sets necessary to play a complete match. Volleyball, like most back-and-forth games is referred to as a match (tennis, badmitton, pickeball, etc.)
Rally Scoring – When each serve leads to a point. Most volleyball matches are played in this format as matches are faster in pace.
Rotation – How the teams line-up, the rotation consists of six spots and the coaches set the rotation prior to each set. The rotation will give you the order each team is serving and will also help you keep track of substitutions.
Set – A set in volleyball is played to 25 points and the leading team must win by at least two points, if not the set will continue until one team has achieved a two-point advantage. The deciding set in a “best of” match is play to 15 points with the same differential rule. Most volleyball matches are played as a best-of-three or best-of-five format. In best-of-three the first team to win two sets wins the match, in a best-of-five the first team to win three sets wins the match.
Sideout – when the receiving team wins the point, that is referred to as a side-out. This goes back to an older form of scoring where only a team that served was able to score points. When the other side won the chance to serve, the other side was out.
Set (gameplay) – unlike the segments of play, a set is when the setter or another player ‘sets’ the ball for a front-line player to attack. Sets must be with two hands touching the ball simultaneously.
Non-starters then starters, end with libero. Positions noted here. L is going to be a DS unless they are the L. Start with non-starters “coming off the bench” in numerical order, then the starting line-up in numerical order with the libero last. Similar to the starting pitcher in baseball or goalkeeper in soccer/hockey/lacrosse/etc.
Start with focusing on the first point and add as you feel comfortable. Uniform numbers in volleyball aren’t that necessary and take up valuable time when announcing what’s going on. The order below is the best way to go about add more to your skill set. Remember to always use the players’ first AND last names when announcing.
What To Announce
When/What To Announce
How To Announce
The first time they serve EACH time through the rotation
“(Name) serving for the (Team A Nickname)”
The server’s name
The team who scored the point
“Point (Team A)”
The subs will sub in-and-out for the same players in that set. Early on you can announce which team is subbing, though if the subs are repeating and you need the time go ahead and announce the player going in and player coming out
“Substitution for (Team A), (Name) into the match for (Name)”
Teams get two timeouts per set, if the scoreboard doesn’t display timeouts remaining, add to the end of your timeout announcement
“Time out (Team A). Their (number) of the (set number) set.”
Add this to the backend of the points you are announcing
“Point (Team A), (Name).”
Blocks & Block Assists
Similar to Attacks/Kills, add to the backend of the points you are announcing
“Point (Team A), (Name[s]).”
On attacks/kills, a nice set should be recognized if it leads to a point
“Point (Team A), (Name) from (Assist Name).”
How To Announce
Official holds one hand next to their head with four fingers raised. A team contacts a ball more than three times, not counting a block attempt at the net on an attack.
“Four touch (Team A), point (Team B).”
Delay of Service
Official holds up eight fingers in front of them. The server has eight seconds to serve the ball after being granted the serve.
“Delay of service (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Double Fault/Replay the Point
Official holds their fists in front of them with thumbs up. A double-fault is when both teams commit a fault at the same time while a replay of the point usually follows an official’s error. A replay can also occur when an official is unsure who to award a point to due to indecision.
“Double-fault, replay the point.” “Officials’ indecision, replay the point.” “Official’s error, replay the point.”
Official holds one hand next to their head with two fingers raised. The ball is touched by a player more than once without a teammate or opposition touching the ball.
“Double touch (Team A), point (Team B).”
Violations only apply to the team, it’s not necessary to single out a specific player who commits a violation
Out of Bounds – Official holds both hands parallel to each other perpendicular to their shoulders with palms facing behind them. Out of bounds occurs when an attack lands out of bounds without being touched by the opposition. Out of bounds also occurs when the ball strikes the ceiling and crosses the net or touches the ceiling on the opposite side of the net. “Out of bounds, point (Team B)”
Lift – Official holds out hand, palm up and raises. A player appears to lift or throw the ball rather than hit it per the rules. “Lift (Team A), point (Team B)”
Foot Fault – Official points at the baseline at the service end of the court. The server steps on the baseline on a serve. “Foot fault (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Net Violation – Official holds their hand in front of the net with the palm facing the net with the hand of the side committing the infraction. A net voilation occursw when an opponent contacts the net. “Net violation (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Line Violation – Official points at the line under the net. A player who steps all the way across the line under the net is called for this violation. “Line violation (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Service Error – Officials’ signals for out of bounds or points to the floor on the serving team’s side. The server hits the ball into the net and it doesn’t go over or serving the ball out of bounds. “Service error (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Error – Also known as a ball-handling error happens when a team controls the attack but then is unable to get the ball over to the other side in bounds. Can also fall under out of bounds, however this is a catch-all for anything else that isn’t already covered by an attack, block attempt or other violation.
Illegal Block or Illegal Screen – Official holds both hands parallel to each other perpendicular to their shoulders with palms facing forward and may pivot their arms at the elbow lowering their hands toward the floor. A player who is in the back row during that spot in the rotation who blocks the ball above the net in front of the line. “Illegal block (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Illegal Back Row Attack – Official holds one hand perpendicular to their shoulders with palms facing forward and may pivot their arms at the elbow lowering their hand toward the floor on the side of the net of the violation. A player who is in the back row during that spot in the rotation who contacts the ball above the net line in front of the line. “Illegal back row attack (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Substitution Violation – A team who substitutes a player into the wrong spot in the line-up commits a substitution violation. This leads to a warning and can also be a penalty point. “Substitution violation (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Over the Top – Official holds their hand palm down over the top of the net parallel to the floor with their elbow pointing the direction of the violation. A attacking player who reaches over the top of the net and contacts a ball while the opposition is attempting to play the ball. “Over the top (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Rotation Violation – Official rotates their palm face down to the floor on the side of the team who committed the infraction. A team must line up properly prior to the server contacting the ball and will be called for a violation if they are not in their proper position for that part of the rotation. “Rotation violation (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Wrong Server/Out of Rotation – A team who has the wrong person serve is called for a server out of rotation violation with R2 (or down official) making a motion similar to rotation violation. They will confer with the scorekeeper and asses the violation as warranted. “Server out of rotation (Team A), point (Team B)”.
Set breaks and timeouts allow you to make announcements during volleyball matches. During these times you will announce sponsors, upcoming matches, special events going on, etc. Set breaks are typically three minutes in length however don’t feel you need to use all three minutes for announcements.
NCAA and professional along with some high schools will have a halftime after the second set in a five-set match. These can range from 5:00 to 10:00 and allow for interactive games and special ceremonies. Those events will need to finish with 3:00 remaining in the halftime.
Announce the final scores of each set with the match-winning team always first. “(Team A) wins the match, 25-15 15-25 25-21 12-25 15-13 over (Team B)” It is assumed the winning team is first when reading the scores.
Following the final scores read the upcoming match(es) and any other information fans may need to know. Thank the fans for coming wish them a good evening or drive home safely.