Shortening game times when running behind schedule

A message from Roger

 I have Reffed 7th and 8th grade A the past 2 weekends and stopped in at some gyms in addition to talking to some other refs.  In every instance the gyms ran behind schedule.  I have observed that the teams are very good at keeping the ball alive for long exciting rally’s, but not a lot of hard spikers to terminate a point.  Also most girls make their serves and the teams seem to be fairly equally matched.  Scores are typically 25 – 20 or more and seldom 25 -10 or less.  Many of the coaches sub frequently.  All of this is fine, but many of the matches take over an hour.  Even by reducing the timeouts to 30 seconds, the warm ups to 6 minutes and the time between matches to a minimum we still fall behind schedule at the 7th and 8th grade level.  The schedule has been such the first two weeks that the biggest block of games we had in 7th or 8th grade was 5 matches in a row so we probably only ran 20 – 30 minutes behind in most cases and there were not any Tournaments yet.  Unfortunately we have several weeks coming up where there are 5-6-7 matches in a row at one gym of 7th and 8th grade that I am afraid we could run 45 minutes to an hour behind schedule if this continues.  With Tournaments starting up on Saturdayand Sunday nights we can’t go this much over the time we are given.  Also it is not good for the parents, coaches, players and refs when we run so far behind.  Some parents bring their kids a half hour early and if we are a half hour behind we have 2 teams playing, 2 teams waiting and 2 teams showing up for the 3rd match already.  We have decided  that for the remainder of the season if the 3rd game or set of the match has not started by 5 minutes before the time the next match is scheduled to start that the 3rd game or set only be played to 15 points.  For example the 3rd set of the 1PM match is going to start at 1:55PM so we only play that set to 15 points.  Therefore the 2PM match will probably start at 2:15 – 2:20 PM and the same for the 3PM match.  We may still run over the scheduled time, but it will be within reason.  We will still count all 3 games or sets toward the standings equally and go by win loss % so this should not affect your standings .  I don’t see this happening that often, but I can guarantee you that it will happen at some of the gyms coming up.  Although this problem exists primarily in 7th and 8th grade we will implement this policy for all grades as sometimes we mix grades at a gym on the same day where we might have four 7th grade matches followed by two sixth grade matches.  If it is the last match of the day and the gym is not pressed to finish on time for a tournament or something we will leave it to the discretion of the refs to decide if the 3rd set will be played to 25 or 15 points.  If the refs decide to only play the 3rd set to 15 points I would suggest the refs or gym management make an announcement to the fans so there is no surprise to the parents or fans when the match ends.  I see this as the exception rather than the rule, but I am quite certain that this will need to be implemented at some of the gyms in the upcoming weeks.  Volleyball Coordinators please notify your coaches and parents of this change so there are no surprises when or if this happens.  We can discuss this further at our May Meeting as to how we want to proceed next year, however we feel it is necessary to make this change immediately for the balance of the season.  If you have any questions feel free to email me.  If you have any comments you can email me and we will take it into consideration for next season.   As always we are committed to giving the coaches, parents, players and referees the best possible experience for the sport of volleyball.  Thank You for your understanding.