Volleyball Rules

Photo credit: Wikicommons (Source)

Variations of the game volleyball have been in circulation since around 1895. The game has evolved since then and it was in 1964 where the sport entered its first Olympic games. The sport now has a global following with nations from around the world professionally competing. The pinnacle of the sport comes in the Olympic Games were the best players are often on show.

Object of the Game

The object of volleyball is to hit the volleyball over the net (by only using your hands) running through the centre of the court whilst trying to get it to bounce in your opponents half. The opposing team have to try and prevent the ball from bouncing before returning the ball. Games are played out in best of 3 or 5 sets and the team with most sets at the end of the game wins.

Players & Equipment

Each team has 6 players on a court at any one time. Substitutes can be used throughout the game. There are no professional mixed sex teams. Each player takes up a position in either the attacking zone (next to the net) or the defensive zone (at the back of the court). Three players are in each zone and rotate in a clockwise position after every point.

The court is of a rectangular shape and measures 18m x 9m. Running across the court is a 2.43m high net with the ball measuring 8 inches in diameter and weighing between 9 and 10 ounces. Around the outlines of the court is an out of bounds area and if the ball were to bounce in these sections then a point would be awarded to the opposing team.

Each team gets up to two timeouts per set of 30 seconds each. After each set the amount of timeouts resets back to two regardless of how many have been used previously.


To score a point the ball must hit the ground within the outlined section in your opponents half. You can also score a point by your opponent failing to hit the outlined section within your half or your opponent hitting the ball into the net. A point can be scored off either teams serve.

A player serving must do so from behind the base line and can use either an over or underarm action and hit with only the hand. Once the serve has been made the sever can join their team in-play and battle out the point.

Each team is allowed to hit the ball three times before the ball must be returned. A player is not allowed to hit the ball twice in succession. If the ball hits the boundary line then the ball is deemed to be in-play. The defensive team can jump and try to block the ball returning to their side of the court. If a block attempt is made and the ball bounces in their opponents half then a point is awarded. If after the block the ball bounces out then a point is awarded to the opposing team.

Each game is played to 25 points and must be two points clear. If the scores reach 24-24 then the game is played until one team leads by two.

Winning the Game

To win the game you must score more points than your opponents. The best of 3 or 5 sets are generally played and the winners will be the first team to reach the required number of sets.

Rules of Volleyball

  • Each team consist of 6 players and 6 substitutes. Players can be substituted at any time but if they are to return can only be swapped for the player that replaced them.
  • Each team can hit the ball up to three times before the ball must be returned. The defensive team can then try and block or return the ball again hitting it a maximum of three times.
  • Games are played up to 25 points and must be won by 2 clear points.
  • Violations will be called for the following:
    • Stepping over the base line when serving the ball.
    • Ball hits the net and fails to get over the net (If the ball hits the net and still goes over the net then this is perfectly legal).
    • Players are not allowed to carry, palm or run with the ball.
    • Players must not touch the net with any part of the body. If the net is said to have hit them rather than vice-versa, then this is ok.
    • The ball cannot travel under the net.
    • Players cannot reach over the net and hit the ball.