NE2 Headset Pilot Program

From Kevin Kane, NE2 Volleyball Vice-President

To the membership:

At the end of the 2023 girls volleyball season, there was a state tournament match where a concern about rotation and serving order for one of the teams could not be readily resolved by the official assigned as the R2. Because the officials could not communicate directly with each other, the R1 had to leave the referee’s stand after several minutes to cross the court to help correct the errors that had been made. If the officials had the ability to communicate directly, it may have been possible to fix the error much faster.

This past winter, I approached the Executive Council about running a pilot program with radio headsets so officials could communicate directly and immediately should there be any situations like the one in the state tournament.

Over the course of the current boys volleyball season, I have been using the Midland LXT600BB Walkie Talkie Set with the partners assigned to work with me in scrimmages and regular season matches. These headsets can be combined with other similar sets to allow for all officials to communicate with one another in real time.

Overall, the radios seem to be a success in the effective communication between partners for many concerns that have arisen on the court and off the court. Most of the feedback from my partners has been positive and the potential uses have expanded to include their use in matches where cadets and newer officials can receive immediate feedback on calls, noncalls, and other situations that will help in the development of better officiating.

The comments below are from the officials who have worked single matches with me while using the radios:

  • We were able to talk about players position, and they were helpful to recognize illegal alignments

  • Using the radios is not at all intrusive or difficult to use during the matches.

  • It’s very effective to have the ability to talk to each other rather than try to do so via hand signals or running across the court...just looks better!

  • We were able to communicate about the illegal attack call. I was able to communicate what thoughts the coach was communicating to me while my partner discussed the call with the captain. More from the “horse’s mouth” so to speak instead of relying on the captain to communicate the coach’s objections.

  • Also, little things can be communicated during the match...i.e. floor captain when substitution takes place.

  • They could be very beneficial for experienced officials helping newer officials recognizing proper/improper alignment or missing extended contact or doubles;

Based on the experiences of the officials in the pilot program, the members of the executive council authorized the purchase of earpieces (not the radios) for any member who would like to use them during regular season and scrimmage season matches. Members are not required to participate nor are they required to purchase the radio headsets.

If you are interested in using the radio headsets, please take a moment to complete this survey so we can purchase the headsets. If you respond by July 19, 2024 we should be able to have the headsets for our in person meeting on July 25 at Passaic County Tech. If you cannot complete the survey prior to July 19 you may have to wait for delivery of a headset.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please let me know.

Kevin Kane
(973) 626-5381