This year, I begin my 12th season scoring NCAA Division I women’s volleyball. In that time, I’ve seen several changes to the scoring process. None of those, however, is as significant as the introduction of computerized scoring — e-score in NCAA parlance.
There are two major programs available for volleyball scoring:
I have used both products and I find VolleyWrite to be far more intuitive to the scoring process and easier to use. It is this program that I will discuss in the remainder of this blog post. I may, however, make some comparisons to Escoresheet as appropriate.
It is not my intention to get into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of volleyball scoring or of how to use the program. I will provide just a few examples of how scoring a volleyball match is made easier using the software.
Before the Match
In either program, the scorer must enter the team rosters for both teams involved in the match. In theVolleyWrite program, this is as simple as entering player jersey numbers onto the screen. One of the reasons that I prefer VolleyWrite over Escoresheet is that the latter requires entry of each player’s number, the player’s first and last name in separate fields, and a unique player identification number or code. In international volleyball, this code is assigned, but that is not the case with college volleyball in the U.S. Thus, the scorer has to ‘make up’ some kind of identifier, which must be unique among all teams scored on that computer. This is information not normally used by the scorer and is thus merely a time-consuming and unnecessary exercise.
In either program, the scorer is presented with a visual representation of the volleyball court. That screen forVolleyWrite is shown in figure 1. For those who have scored volleyball using the traditional paper system, it is easy to see how the electronic system makes keeping track of player location much easier.
Also, as any scorer knows, the most time-consuming part of volleyball scoring is recording substitutions. The rules require that substitutions be verified. In other words, a player who is substituted in for a particular player location may not, in the same set, substitute for a different player location. Once the verification is made, the scorer is required to record each substitution in three different places on the score sheet.
With electronic scoring, substitutions are as easy as clicking on a players number on the ‘bench’ — the list of player numbers under the main court display — and ‘dragging and dropping’ that number to the position being substituted. The program will not allow a substitution in violation of the rules.
The ‘Paper’ Scoresheet
While the actual actions required of the score are much simplified, the software simultaneously creates a standard score sheet. This can subsequently be printed for use by coaching staffs. Figure 2 displays such a scoresheet, as created by the actions which resulted in the court display shown in Figure 1. At the end of the match, the scoresheet is automatically printed if requested.
The NCAA 2016 rules for women’s volleyball allow electronic scoring to be used at all levels of the collegiate sport. Electronic scoring has been used for quite some time in international volleyball. Additionally, many club volleyball associations and state high school athletic associations allow electronic scoring in their respective areas.
At this time, the majority of colleges, as well as lower levels of volleyball, are still using paper scoring. This is in part due to the cost involved. Electronic scoring requires the use of a dedicated computer, at least for the duration of the match. It also requires an external monitor, which is used to display match information for the R2, or ‘down’ referee. And finally, a printer is required to print the ‘paper’ scoresheet. In contrast, paper scoring requires only the scoring forms and a writing implement.
Consequently, the Professional Association of Volleyball Officials (PAVO) requires that every certified volleyball scorer complete at least one match per year using paper scoring. For certification purposes, this scoring effort must be reviewed by a designated official. This is true even if the scorer otherwise uses an electronic system exclusively.
The various levels of volleyball each have their own set of rules. The VolleyWrite software includes predesignated rule templates for the following levels:
- NCAA college, men’s and women’s
- Club volleyball
- High school volleyball
- F IVB international volleyball
To my knowledge, Escoresheet only includes rules for:
- F IVB international volleyball
- NCAA college
I predict that electronic scoring will continue to gain acceptance in the volleyball world. While it does not replace qualified scorers — the scorer still must understand volleyball scoring process to handle unusual situations — it does make the task much easier.
For myself, I will continue to use the electronic system as long as I am involved as a volleyball scorer.