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The rules of volleyball


The volleyball game is a team sport in which grounding the ball in the opposing team’s court is the aim of the players. The rules based on which the sport is played are explained below. Those of you who want to learn the basics can find here the needed guidance.


The court and net

An official volleyball court is 29 feet and 6 inches wide and 59.1 feet long. The net divides the court into equal squares.

The net is about 39 inches wide, and its top has to rise approximately 7 feet above the center of the court. The exact height is different for women’s and men’s volleyball competitions, as well as the veteran or junior games.

In order to play the game by the standards, there’s a clearance regulation that states indoors matches need at least 23 feet of free space above the court ground.

The courts are also divided by a line that runs across the ground, parallel to the net, at a distance of 9.8 feet. This is called the ‘attack line, ’ and it splits the team into two rows.


Teams and rotation

A volleyball team has six players that rotate on the court after each side out. This means a new player serves each time the team has to serve. The team members must rotate in a clockwise direction.  

The team is arranged in rows with three players as back row players and three front row players. The back row players cannot block the ball or spike inside the 10-foot line.

Volleyball teams can use a libero, a player wearing a different color jersey that enters the game without regular substitution. They replace a back row player, usually the middle blocker, and act as a defense specialist.

Any team has a maximum of 6 substitutions available, except for the libero. As we’ve said before, they don’t count as a regular substitution.



A volleyball match is played in five sets, and the team that wins three out of five sets also wins the match. As the game is played one rally after another, the points are awarded after each of these rallies, so each error or penalty ends with a point granted to the opposing team.

The teams can score a point after their own service or after the adversary’s serve. Before this system was implemented, the point won on the opponent’s serve was called a ‘sideout.’

To win a set, you need to score 25 points with a minimum lead of two points. If the score is 24-24, the tie ends when one of the teams manages to reach a two point lead. Some leagues use a 30 point system and two games to win the match while juniors play two out of three games for a win.

The deciding set, the third or fifth depending on the actual score, is played to 15 points or until one of the teams achieves a two-points lead.


To execute a serve, the player has to raise the ball into the air before hitting it. Holding the ball with the hand is not allowed.

The server has to stand behind the end-line and hit the ball so that it goes over the net, into the opponent’s court. They mustn’t touch the end-line or step into the court before hitting the ball. It’s also allowed to execute a jump serve, provided the player is in a proper position.

A series of instances force a team to surrender the serve. If the ball touches the net, goes under it or touches a player, then the service is lost. The same happens if the ball lands outside the opponent’s court or the server touches steps on the end-line.

Game flow

By now you already have some idea of how the game should work. A team starts a rally with a serve from behind the backline, and the winning team gets a point.

The trick is any of the teams can only hit the ball a maximum of 3 times before it goes on the other side of the net. The block doesn’t count as a hit, so the players can pass the ball another two times before a third player sends it to the opposing court.

You have to remember that a player isn’t allowed to hit the ball twice in a row. Also important, a service has to be played, as it’s a fault to block it or attack it.  

To win the rally, the ball your team sends over the net has to touch the lines or fall inside the lines. You win a point if the ball hits an opposing player, the opposing team can’t return your ball or their hit is out of bounds.

Faults and violations are sanctioned, so you can make points thanks to the errors of the other team.


After the serve receiver has contact with the ball it’s usually the setter who receives it in his turn. His purpose is to set the ball or direct it to the team member who has the greatest chances of scoring a point or at least send the ball successfully over the net, to the opposing team.

To do that, the setter uses his fingers (hand setting) or bumps the ball with an underhand pass (bump setting). Placing the hands over the forehead is how the setter achieves the first technique, while he uses his feet to push forward and up.



This is a fundamental technique used in attack strategies. This volleyball action requires that the player makes a four step or three step approach before placing both feet on the ground and jumping.

Spiking has to be well-timed with the actions of the setter, so you can use the ball at the right moment. Players who are specialized in the attack are called opposite hitters, and they play the opposite position of the setter. Other team members are right side hitters, left side hitters and middle hitters.



A volleyball block is essential for the defense. It prevents the opponent’s offense to score points by a high jump into the air.

Only the three players in the front row are allowed to do the block. It takes place immediately after the attacker jumps up. By reaching on the other side of the net with the raised hands, the players can stop the ball and stop the attack.  

Passing the ball underhand or overhead, digging and coverage are other important volleyball actions that you should learn about. Make the best of the rules above and start practicing.  



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