MSHSL Protocols & Techniques

Girls High School

Below are reminders on rules, techniques, and points of emphasis that come up during the season to help everyone improve and provide a consistent experience for teams throughout the season.

Net Poles, Referee Stands & Padding

September 10 Tip of the Week - Rule 3-1-3 &  3-1-6

The standards/poles, the first referee’s platform, and any floor/wall cables shall be padded as follows:

A safe, stable platform, which elevates the first referee’s head to between 2 and 3 feet above the top of the net, is required. 

PENALTY: When the host school does not provide a proper referee stand and/or pad the standards, floor/wall cables and first referee's platform according to Rule 3-1-3, the match shall not be played.  Officials should notify the MSHSL immediately to determine further action or penalty.

DO NOT for any reason, however well intentioned, use a referee stand that is not manufactured for that purpose.  This includes, chairs, ladders, jump boxes, etc. even if padded.  This is for your safety as well as the safety of the players.  In NFHS, the match is not played if a proper referee stand is not provided.


July 31 Tip of the Week - Rule 4-1-7, 4-1 PENALTIES 1

Small, secured, stud or post jewelry worn above the chin is ALLOWED in NFHS play starting the 2023 fall season.

While USAV also allows necklaces to be worn by players, NFHS & NCAA do not.  Necklaces, string bracelets, rubber bracelets, and body jewelry are NOT permitted.  Taping over jewelry is also NOT permitted.

During your captain's meeting, please ask coaches if "everyone is legally equipped according to the high school league rules" and remind everyone that any jewelry below the chin as well as earrings that are not small studs/posts (i.e. hoops) need to be removed at that time.


July 24 Tip of the Week - Officials Manual Page 67

The head coach and captain(s) from each team shall attend the pre-match conference with the R1 & R2.  

The conference should be brief and only include information that requires emphasis.  Players already know what color their court sidelines, centerlines and endlines are.  They may not know if a partially retracted basketball hoop is played as ceiling or not.

During the 2023 fall regular season, teams will NOT switch sides.  Section & State Tournament play is TBD.  The HOME team chooses their bench prior to the match.  The VISITING team calls heads or tails.  The winner of the coin toss only has the choice of SERVE or RECEIVE to start the match.  If the match goes to a deciding set, the HOME teams calls heads or tails.  The winner of the deciding set coin toss only has the choice of SERVE or RECEIVE.

In a TOURNAMENT setting where the HOME team has not been designated by the event, simply assign "heads" to the team on your left and "tails" to the team on your right.  The winner of this coin toss will have the choices of SERVE, SIDE, or RECEIVE and the other team will have the remaining choice with teams saying on their side for the match unless the court has a distinct advantage on one side of the court.

The "art" of the coin toss:  Toss the coin so that it flips in the air.  If the coin drops to the floor, retrieve it and toss it again.  The coin should be tossed, caught, and shown.  It should NOT be turned over between hands.  If you're not great at tossing the coin, ask your partner to do it for you.


October 3 Tip of the Week - Officials Manual Page 69

The MSHSL had received reports from across the state of teams not immediately clearing the court at the end of their warmup session.  They felt this could result in a safety issue when one team is hitting or serving while the other is running on.  

So in an effort to better facilitate this switch of possession between the two teams, the R2 will give a double tweet warning whistle 15 seconds prior to the horn. This gives the team on the court the opportunity to shag balls as a show of sportsmanship during the last few seconds of their court time, but it does NOT mean the other team can go on the court during those 15 seconds, nor does it mean that the current team must stop warming up. 

All we're doing as officials is giving a heads up that the time is coming to an end so both teams are better aware and can prepare for the switch. Officials should refrain from dictating what teams do/do not do during those 15 seconds any differently than what we did without the warning whistle.


September 8 Tip of the Week - Officials Manual Pages 69-70

All matches (varsity & sub-varsity) begin with the teams lining up on their respective end lines.  When R1 signals teams to the court, starters should go straight to their starting positions on the court vs back to their bench or huddling on the court.

For sub-varsity, it's fine if teams only send starters to the end line. And if you are working that match by yourself, you may signal them onto the court from the R2 side, check the lineups, leave lineups on the scorers table, give the ball to the first server, and then head over to the R1 stand. 

Current protocol only has players shake hands at the end of the matches because the MSHSL decided teams could head straight into the locker rooms to wash hands after the match.  

Be pleasant and helpful when teaching this process, not stern & lecturing.  We are training sub-varsity players for when they get to varsity on the protocols, so we want be as consistent as possible so they learn the process.


September 7 Tip of the Week - MSHSL Bylaws

MVOA officials should be prepared to follow the guidance stated in the 2022-23 MSHSL Volleyball Rules, Policies & Bylaws document with regard to the sub-varsity 3rd set when one team has already won the first 2 sets.  The complete document can be found at this URL for your reading pleasure:

**NOTE:  Wright County Conference schools have adopted this as their policy and the default is to play the 3rd set.  Still ask, but be aware that the answer will likely always be yes.


"If a team wins a sub-varsity match in two sets, the competing schools may elect to play the third set. If the third set is played match officials and contest personnel (scorers, timers, etc.) must be present and the set must be counted as one of the five sets per day (or 15 for tournament exception) permitted for individual players. 

The third set shall not be played if contest personnel (scorers, timers, etc.) are not available. 

If schools elect not to play the third set but elect to conduct a scrimmage without officials and contest personnel during the available time prior to the next match, the scrimmage must adhere to Bylaw 411, Scheduling of Contests, Game Definition. 

Schools should decide prior to a sub-varsity match whether they will play a third set or conduct a scrimmage and notify the game officials and contest personnel. If both coaches cannot agree, the third set cannot be played. The schedule of matches should respect the contracted times for the match officials."

MVOA includes Line Judges in the definition of "contest personnel" as long as:

If all 3 criteria are met, then we're good to go and we are happy to support the sub-varsity level players getting some additional playing time.


September 1 Tip of the Week - Officials Manual Pages 70-71

Coaches are tasked with submitting a lineup prior to each set listing the uniform numbers for the six starting players in the proper serving order.

Serving order does not mean the same thing as position order.

While the serving team's first server will start in Position 1 (right-back), the receiving team's first server needs to rotate before serving, so they will start in Position 2 (right-front).

Officials must understand this or they run a high risk of telling teams to line up improperly which will cause an even bigger problem as soon as the receiving team rotates to serve.  

Be sure you understand how this process works.  If you don't, then ask your partner and review the case book/officials manual to learn more.