Coaches and Parents:
We have received complaints from parents who are concerned with the opposing team hollering “ball’s up!” during the server’s toss. This is a common practice from tiny tots (in other states) to tournament team ball, to high school. Even a few colleges use this form of communication within the team. It is most often used by a team to alert their defense that the ball is being served as players cannot always see the ball as it is being tossed in the air.
While the ‘ball’s up’ call IS allowed to alert each other on the court that the ball is being served. It IS NOT to be done in an overt manner that may distract the opponent’s server. Girls on the bench MAY NOT participate. Please know that screaming the call is inappropriate, and that it should be used only as a communication tool within the team. It may be loud enough to inform your players, but screaming at the top of your lungs is not acceptable. Referees are encouraged to manage the practice so that it is used appropriately during competition. NOTE: It is also not to be yelled from spectators in the stands.
Should a questions arise about the use of this communications tool, the coach should have their team captain address it with the referee. In no instance should a parent approach the coach for another team about this practice or should a coach approach the referee during a match.
Remember that players communicate in many ways throughout a set and match. They call for the ball (“Mine, Mine, Mine”). They inform other players when a ball is “Out,” “Short,” “Free Ball,” etc. So “Ball’s Up” is a useful and acceptable communications tool.
Distraction is a part of every team sport, such as fans waving behind the backboard during free throws in basketball. As one of the concepts of team sports, players must learn how to focus. The actions of others should not affect a player’s ability to perform, if done in an appropriate manner. Volleyball has evolved as a sport whereby you have front row and back row specialists. It is incumbent on us to teach these girls the proper game, and how they must work to accomplish their goals.
Unsportsmanlike conduct falls under Rule 12 of the NFHS Volleyball Rules. It covers players and coaches in Section 2 and spectators in Section 3.