Tokyo, Japan, May 12, 2016 - There once was a time when to be a good volleyball referee all you needed was a good eye, a keen sense of humour, and very thick skin.
While all three of these qualities are still definitely an advantage for the modern-day referee, the introduction of new technology is very much changing the scene for our officials.
Where once the only tablets referees carried were the ones to deal with the headaches from shouting coaches, in 2016 they’ll be armed with computer tablets as well.
New Hawkeye and wireless technology is also revolutionizing the sport, eliminating uncertainty and adding excitement.
For three days in Tokyo some of the world’s best volleyball referees, many who will be officiating at this year’s Olympics, are getting a crash course in how the new technology will work.
They’ll get to try it out during the Women’s Olympic qualifier, which starts in Tokyo on Saturday.
The President of the Referees Commission is Hassan Mohammed.
“This is the first time we have had a seminar like this in the FIVB, because this year we are thinking about how to improve the level of referees,” Mr Mohammed said.
“We have to prepare this group for Rio, I hope with the new technology and the new ideas it will be much better for referees.
“I think before it was very difficult, because they could only depend on themselves. It will help the referees, it will not out them under so much stress.”
The seminar is about much more than introducing and understanding new technology. For example, a sports psychologist talked to the group about dealing with pressure.
Japan’s Sumie Myoi is one of the referees at the seminar. She won’t be going to Rio, but is hoping to be one of the referees officiating at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Most of the technology I understand, but some of it is a bit confusing, but we are learning,” Myoi said.
“This is going to be good for us, for the players and the fans.”