Volleyball Rules

Are you familiar with volleyball rules? Volleyball is a popular team sport played by two teams on a court divided by a net. The game takes place on a rectangular court with a net running across the width of the court. Each team has 6 players on the court. The aim of the game is to score points by grounding the ball on the opponent’s court. Teams can score points on serve and during rallies.

A team wins a set when they reach 25 points with a two point lead. Matches are best out of 5 sets. Volleyball has simple equipment needs, simple rules and is an easy game to learn and play recreationally. However, advanced teams utilize complex strategies and elite athleticism to play the game at a highly competitive level.

Field and Equipment

The game takes place on a volleyball court which measures 18 m × 9 m (59 ft × 29.5 ft). The court is divided into two equal halves by a net running across the full width of the court. The top of the net is set at 2.43 m (7 ft 11.5 in) above the center of the court for men’s competition, and 2.24 m (7 ft 4.25 in) for women’s competition.

Two lines extend across the full width of the court called the attack line. These are located 3 m from the net on each side. The service zone is located behind the attack lines and extends to the end lines at the back of the court.

The ball used is a specially designed volleyball featuring 18 panels and measuring 65–67 cm in circumference and 260–280 g in weight. Only a slight difference is allowed between the ball weights used in men’s and women’s competitions. The ball should be properly inflated and smooth.

The players are not allowed to wear any objects that may cause injury or give an artificial advantage to the player.

Volleyball Rules  : Gameplay Rules


A point begins with a player from the serving team tossing the ball into the air and hitting it with the hand over the net and into the opponent’s court. Serving is done from behind the service zone end line. A serve that makes it over the net bounds and ground inside the court is legal. The opponents must return the ball before it touches the ground to remain in play.

The team that wins the point or scores continues to serve. If the serving team loses the rally, service goes to the opponent. Players serve in rotational order.

Players can use different serves including underhand or overhand serves. The ball can graze the net on a serve and drop over as long as it lands inside the court. Serving faults result in a change of service even if the opponents fail to return the ball correctly. Serving faults include misses, foot faults, illegal contacts and serves that land out of bounds.

Volleys After the serve, players return the ball back and forth across the net. This exchange is called a volley or rally. The ball remains in play until it touches the ground inside the court or a team commits a fault of some kind.

Teams are allowed up to 3 hits to return the ball back over the net. Usually the first touch is a bump pass, the second is a set and the third an attack hit or spike aimed into the opponent’s court. Players cannot catch or hold the ball during play. Multiple players can contact the ball during a team’s 3 allowable hits as long as it does not contact any player twice in succession.

Players are allowed to move anywhere on their side of the court but cannot cross the center line below the net or touch the net during play. The ball is still in play if it touches the net during a volley and passes over into the opponent’s court. Players can block a spike near the net as long as a portion of the ball crosses over the net. If two opposing players contact the ball simultaneously above the net this is counted as one hit for each team.

Scoring and Matches

Matches are played best 3 out of 5 sets. Sets are played to 25 points and a team must win by 2 points. The first four sets can only be won when a team reaches 25 points and has a two point margin over the opponent. If necessary, the fifth set is played to 15 points with a minimum two point margin of victory.

Points are scored on every legal serve and when the opponent commits a fault or fails to return the ball back over the net before it hits the ground. Faults include:

  • Hitting the ball illegally (double hit, catch, lift, etc.)
  • Out of bounds hit
  • Touching the net
  • Crossing the center line

The team serving first in a deciding set will change when a team reaches 8 points.

Advanced Volleyball Rules and Strategies

While the basic rules and objectives of volleyball are relatively simple, advanced teams employ complex strategies and elite athleticism. Position specialization, complex formations, combination plays and powerfully spiked attacks characterize high-level competitive volleyball.

Players tend to specialize in positions like setter, outside hitter, middle blocker, opposite and libero. Setters run the offense and coordinate attacks. Hitters attack from different positions and angles. Middle blockers specialist in blocking at the net. Liberos specialize in defensive play.

Teams focus on serving tough floats or jump serves, setting up hitters with quick sets and running combination plays to keep the defense guessing. Accurate passing, blocking and digging allows the team to side out and get their own serve back after their opponent scores.

Volleyball strategy includes a complex variety of offensive combinations and defensive formations. Teams study their opponents and use timeouts to quickly adapt their tactics. Elite volleyball features incredible athletic feats including jumping several feet in the air for powerful spikes, timely blocks and acrobatic digs.


Volleyball is one of the most popular recreational and competitive team sports in the world. The basic rules and objectives are easy to learn but allow for complex strategies and elite athleticism as players develop. Teamwork, communication, specialization and tactical adaptations are hallmarks of successful volleyball teams. The game provides an fun and engaging activity for people of all ages and abilities. Volleyball continues to grow in popularity on recreational, high school, collegiate and professional levels across the globe.

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