USAR Official Rules & Regulations

D – Self-Officiating -– “How to Ref ‘Without’ a Ref”!

Safety Is The Responsibility Of Every Player Who Enters The Court!

At no time should the physical safety of the participants be compromised. Players are entitled, and expected, to hold up their swing, without penalty, any time they believe there might be a risk of physical contact. Any time a player claims to
have held up to avoid contact, even if being over-cautious, they are entitled to at least a replay hinder and, perhaps a penalty hinder depending on the circumstances.

D.1 Score

Since there is no referee, it is important for the server to announce and for both players/teams to agree on both the server's and receiver's score BEFORE each first serve. The server should do this before serving.

D.2 During Rallies

During rallies, it is the hitter's responsibility to make the call. If there is a possibility that a skip ball, double-bounce, or illegal hit occurred, play should continue unless the hitter makes the call against himself. If the hitter does not make the call and goes on to win the rally, and the opponent thought that one of the hitter's shots was not good, they may appeal to the hitter by pointing out which shot was thought to be bad and request that the hitter reconsider. If the hitter is sure of the non-call, and the opponent is still sure the hitter is wrong, the rally should be replayed. As a matter of etiquette, players are expected to make calls against themselves any time they are not sure. Unless the hitter is certain the shot was good, it should be replayed.

D.3 Serve

Fault Serves. The receiver has the primary responsibility to make this call, though either player may make it. The receiver must make the call immediately, and not wait until the ball has been hit to gain the benefit of first seeing how good the return was that they have made. It is not an option play. Also, the receiver does not have the right to play a serve they know was short.

Screen Serves. The screen serve call is the sole responsibility of the receiver. If the receiver has taken the proper court position, near center court, and the ball passes so close to the server that the closeness causes the receiver to not have clear view of the ball, a screen serve should be called immediately. The receiver may not call a screen after attempting to hit the ball or after taking himself out of proper court position by starting the wrong way. The server may not call a screen under any circumstance and thus, must always expect to play the rally unless the receiver calls “screen serve”.

Other Situations. Foot faults, 10-second violations, receiving zone violations, and other calls generally require a referee. However, if either player believes an opponent is abusing any of these rules, be sure there is clear agreement on what the rule exactly says, and reach a mutual understanding that the rules should be followed.

D.4 Replay Hinders

Generally, hinder calls should work like the screen serve does -- as sort of an option play for the hindered party. Only the person going for the shot can stop play by calling a hinder, and must do so immediately and not wait to see how good the resulting shot was. If the hindered party believes they can make an effective return in spite of some physical contact or impairment that has occurred, they may continue to play, but should not claim a hinder thereafter.

D.5 Penalty Hinders

Penalty hinders are usually unintentional, so they can occur even in the friendliest matches. A player who realizes that they have caused such a hinder should simply declare their opponent to be the winner of the rally. If a player feels that his opponent caused such a hinder, but the opponent does not make the call himself, after the rally, the offended player should point out that a penalty hinder may have occurred. However, unless the opponent agrees that a penalty hinder occurred, it should not be called, but simply replayed. Often just pointing out what appears to have been a penalty hinder will prevent the opponent from such actions on future rallies.

D.6 Disputes

Should either player, for any reason, desire to have a referee, then a referee should be sought, although there could be some delay in the match while the person is sought.

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