The object of the tablet for coaches during FIVB and CEV competition is to streamline the action, by linking the coach directly with the officials, thus saving time and confusion.
Like all technology, sometimes it breaks. For a coach already on edge during a match this can lead to all sorts of unsightly outbursts that we can see on TV. These outbursts are unnecessary. If the tablet is not working, the coach can still quietly go to the referee and say “the tablet is not working, may I have a timeout please?” The answer will always be yes.
I have no problem with the tablet, so I would often call a timeout and go straight to my team. Eventually a 2nd referee asked me to make the signal. I calmly pointed out to him that the tablet is linked to scorer, referee, 2nd referee AND LED screen seen by every spectator in the stadium. Why did I need to signal as well. It turns out that according to the rules, a timeout can only be called by the coach making the signal. According to the rules, everything else is just a show.
As an aside, the same principle applies for the challenge. What to challenge has to be entered into the tablet but is not official until the coach signals.
Well… if my life has a purpose, it is to rail vainly against pointless rules. This makes my life during FIVB tournaments a constant struggle. And in fairness it is also no fun for the officials whose performance is judged by their ability to enforce rules, no matter how pointless. It has happened to me that the officials have come to me before the match and asked me ‘please signal, as a favour to me’.
In the end, I figured out that instead of frantically trying to get my assistant’s attention, asking him to enter the timeout into the tablet, wait for horn and all the lights to go off, wait for the the 2nd referee to turn to me and then signal the timeout, I could take one quiet step to the 2nd referee and ask for the timeout. By the rules he has to give it to me, and all the tablet stuff can happen afterwards.
It makes my life much less stressful although I don’t know if I can say the same for everyone else.
This is a long way of asking the question, if the tablet is not official, why use it?