Volleyball can be played for fun without knowing all the official rules, however, the basic rules should be followed like how many players can participate, how to score, and what is not allowed in the game. In this post, I have tried to educate readers on playing Volleyball by following much-needed official rules.
First of all, official rules, and violations, later, how a beginner can start playing with friends or watching on TV. And finally, some frequently asked questions on Volleyball rules.
Firstly, The Object of the Game
The object of the volleyball game is to score points by sending the ball over the net and into the opponent’s court in a way that it either lands on the floor untouched or forces the opposing team to make a mistake.
Secondly, Must Known Official Volleyball Rules
- Six players on the court at a time: 3 in the front row, 3 in the back row.
- Points are scored on every serve for the winning team (rally-point scoring).
- No consecutive hits by a player, except for a block.
- The ball can rebound off the net during play and serve.
- Ball in if it hits the boundary line; out if it touches antennae, floor outside the court, net cables, referee stand, or ceiling above non-playable area.
- Legal to contact the ball with any part of the body.
- Illegal to catch, hold, or throw the ball.
- No blocking or attacking a serve from on or inside the 10-foot line.
- Front-line players can switch positions after a serve.
- Matches consist of sets, the number depends on the level of play.
Thirdly, Violations of the Rules
- Stepping on or across the service line while serving and making contact with the ball.
- Failing to successfully serve the ball over the net.
- Committing ball-handling errors or contacting the ball illegally (double touching, lifting, carrying, throwing, etc.).
- Touching the net with any part of the body while the ball is in play.
- Blocking a ball coming from the opponent’s court and reaching over the net when your opponent has not used 3 contacts AND has a player there to make a play on the ball.
- Attacking a ball coming from the opponent’s court and reaching over the net when the ball has not yet broken the vertical plane of the net.
- Crossing the court centerline with any part of your body (except a hand or foot) while the ball is in play.
- Serving out of rotation or out of order.
- The back-row player blocks (deflecting a ball from the opponent) when, at the moment of contact, they are near the net and have part of their body above the top of the net.
- A back-row player attacks a ball inside the front zone (the area inside the 3-meter/10-foot line) when, at the moment of contact, the ball is completely above the net.
Fourthly, Volleyball Basics for Beginners:
For beginners in volleyball, having the right equipment and proper net settings is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable playing experience.
In this step, you are going to learn about basic equipment, net settings, court dimensions, Volleyball players and their positions
|Standard indoor volleyball, appropriate size
|Non-marking soles, grip, stability, support
|Protect knees during dives and slides
Net settings for beginners:
|Net Height (Men)
|7 feet 11 5/8 inches (2.43 meters)
|Net Height (Women)
|7 feet 4 1/4 inches (2.24 meters)
|Proper tension to prevent sagging
|Clear, aligned with sidelines
|Divides the court into two halves
|Marked area for attacking
|59 feet (18 meters) long, 29.5 feet (9 meters) wide
Volleyball Court Dimensions
|59 feet (18 meters)
|29.5 feet (9 meters)
|Free Zone (Behind End Lines)
|10 feet (3 meters)
|Net Height (Men)
|7 feet 11 5/8 inches (2.43 meters)
|Net Height (Women)
|7 feet 4 1/4 inches (2.24 meters)
|Attack Line (3-Meter Line)
|9 feet 10 inches (3 meters) from the center line
|Service Line (Back Boundary for Serving)
|30 feet (9 meters) from the center line
Volleyball players and their positions
|The front-row attacker also plays defense
|Front-row blocker and attacker
|Front-row attacker opposite the setter
|Sets the ball for attackers
|The defensive specialist wears a different jersey
|The defensive role may replace back-row players
|Right Side Hitter
|A front-row attacker on the right side
Lastly, Here’s a simple breakdown of the basic rules:
1. Teams: Each team consists of six players on the court at a time. Three players are positioned in the front row, and three in the back row.
In the above table, each team has six players, and their positions are divided into two rows: the front row and the back row. When the team wins a rally, they rotate positions clockwise, ensuring that each player gets a chance to play in both the front and back rows.
This rotation helps balance the gameplay and gives players opportunities to perform different roles on the court.
2. Team Interaction:
- Each team works together to keep the ball in play, using up to three hits (bumps, sets, and spikes) to return the ball over the net.
- The objective is to strategically place the ball in a way that makes it difficult for the opponent to return it effectively.
3. Serving: A player from the serving team starts the game by serving the ball from behind the baseline. The server must hit the ball over the net and into the opponent’s court. The serve must clear the net and land within the boundary lines. If the ball lands outside these lines, it’s called “out,” and the opposing team scores a point.
- The game starts with a serve from behind the baseline. The serving team aims to send the ball over the net into the opponent’s court.
- The receiving team’s goal is to pass the serve, set it up, and then spike the ball back over the net, initiating a rally.
4. Rotation: After winning a rally (scoring a point), the team rotates clockwise, which means players switch positions. This ensures that every player gets an opportunity to serve and play in different positions.
5. Rally: The ball is served over the net, and teams alternate hitting it back and forth. A rally ends when the ball hits the ground, goes out of bounds, or a team fails to return it within three hits (bumps, sets, and spikes). The objective is to keep the ball in play and strategically place it to score points.
- A rally continues as both teams alternate hitting the ball back and forth over the net.
- Each team has a maximum of three hits to return the ball, and no player can hit the ball twice in succession, except for a block.
6. Three Hits: A team is allowed a maximum of three hits to return the ball. These hits are typically:
- Bump/Pass: A player uses their forearms to hit the ball after the opponent’s serve or during a rally.
Set: The second hit is usually a set, where a player uses their fingertips to direct the ball high and close to the net.
- Spike/Attack: The third hit is often a spike, where a player jumps and forcefully hits the ball downward into the opponent’s court.
7. Net Violation: Players must avoid touching the net while the ball is in play. If a player touches the net during a rally, it results in a point for the opposing team.
8. Scoring: Points are scored when the ball lands in the opponent’s court or when the opponent commits a violation (like hitting the ball out of bounds). The first team to reach 25 points wins a set, and a match is typically best-of-five sets.
- Points are earned when the serving team successfully puts the ball into the opponent’s court and the opposing team fails to return it within the rules.
- Points can also be scored if the opponent commits a rule violation, such as touching the net or stepping out of bounds.
|Winning a rally (rally point)
|Winning a set
|Winning a set (if deciding set)
|The required winning margin for sets
|Winning a match (best of three)
|Winning a match (best of five)
9. Winning a Set: A team must win a set by at least a two-point margin. If the score reaches 24-24, play continues until one team gains a two-point lead.
Team A serves the ball to Team B. The ball is bumped by a player from Team B, then set by another player, and finally spiked by a third player over the net into Team A’s court. If Team A fails to return the spike within three hits, Team B wins the point.
How many players are on the court for each team at any given time in volleyball?
Each team has 6 players on the court at any given time: 3 in the front row and 3 in the back row.
What is rally-point scoring in volleyball?
Rally-point scoring means that a point is scored on every serve, regardless of which team served. The team that wins the rally gets the point.
Can a player hit the ball twice in succession during a rally?
No, a player cannot hit the ball twice in succession, except for a block. A block is not considered a hit.
Is it legal to play the ball off the net during a rally?
Yes, players can play the ball off the net during a rally, as long as the ball continues to be in play and within the rules.
When is a ball considered “in” during a game?
A ball hitting a boundary line is considered “in.” It’s still considered “in” even if it grazes the line.
What are some instances when a ball is considered “out”?
A ball is considered “out” if it hits the antennae, the floor completely outside the court, any part of the net or cables outside the antennae, the referee stand or pole, or the ceiling above a non-playable area.
Can players use any part of their body to contact the ball?
Yes, players can legally contact the ball with any part of their body.
Is catching, holding, or throwing the ball allowed?
No, catching, holding, or throwing the ball is not allowed. It’s considered a violation.
Can a player block or attack a serve from on or inside the 10-foot line?
No, players cannot block or attack a serve from on or inside the 10-foot line.
How many sets typically make up a volleyball match?
A volleyball match is usually made up of best-of-five sets. The number of sets can vary based on the level of play and tournament rules.
What happens if a player touches the net while the ball is in play?
Touching the net with any part of the body while the ball is in play results in a violation, and the opposing team is awarded a point.
Can a back-row player attack or block the ball in front of the attack line (3-meter line)?
No, a back-row player is not allowed to attack or block the ball in front of the attack line, except when the ball is below the net’s height.
How does the rotation of players work after winning a rally?
After winning a rally and earning the right to serve, the players rotate clockwise, ensuring each player takes a new position, which affects serving order and court coverage.
What is the purpose of the libero player?
The libero is a defensive specialist who wears a different jersey and can replace any back-row player without prior notice to the officials. They excel in digging and passing.
Can players switch positions during a rally?
No, players must maintain their positions during a rally. Position switches are allowed only after the serve has been completed.
What is the significance of the center line on the volleyball court?
The center line divides the court into two equal halves and is a boundary that players must not cross during play, except for a hand or foot.
Is it allowed for a player to attack the ball over the net from the back-row position?
Yes, as long as the player jumps from behind the 10-foot line, they can attack the ball over the net from the back-row position.
How is the winner of a set determined if the score is tied at 24-24?
If the score reaches 24-24, play continues until one team gains a two-point lead, winning the set.
Can a player touch the ball before it crosses the net into the opponent’s court?
No, a player is not allowed to contact the ball before it crosses the net into the opponent’s court.
How does the serving order work in volleyball?
The serving order rotates every time a team wins the right to serve. Players move one position clockwise, and the player who served last rotates to the back-row position.