All About The Rules of Volleyball

It isn't necessary to learn all the rules of volleyball if you only want to watch a game on television. However, it's necessary to do so if you want to start practicing this sport. Keep reading to learn more!
All About The Rules of Volleyball

Last update: 26 December, 2020

Volleyball is a very popular sport among men and women. First off, it’s an Olympic sport. Secondly, its world championships are followed by thousands of people. Some just call it ‘volley’, although most people like to use its full name. In this article, we’ll be talking about the rules of volleyball.

Briefly learning about its most important guidelines may encourage anyone to watch a game or even play it themselves. You’re welcome to continue reading and learn more about such a historic and beautiful discipline.

A brief history of volleyball

Volleyball dates from the same time as basketball. In fact, their origins are quite similar since it was developed thanks to a teacher and coach from the Young Men’s Christian Association, also known as YMCA. It was in 1895 when William George Morgan saw that his students needed physical activity for the cold winter days in Massachusetts.

As a result, he thought of an alternative to the sport devised by one of his companions (basketball). The latter was created in 1891 by James Naismith and both young people and adults could practice it in closed spaces such as a gym.

In order to create volleyball, Morgan “borrowed” rules from other sports and techniques that he already knew. He explained everything to his students so that they’d understand. This led them to exercise even on the coldest of days. A year later, in 1896, this new discipline was publicly presented, which other Christian associations quickly adopted.

At first, only men practiced volleyball. Nonetheless, soon after, the women’s version appeared. In 1947, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) was founded and two years later the first men’s volleyball world championship came to be.

Meanwhile, in the year 1952, the women’s World Cup was held for the first time. The discipline became part of the Olympic Games for the 1996 Atlanta edition.

Women playing volleyball.

The main rules of volleyball

Now that you know a bit about the history of this sport, the next step is to learn about the rules of volleyball, at least the most important ones. In this way, the next time you watch a game on television or live, you’ll be able to understand what’s going on at all times. Let’s see.

1. Playing area

The area where the players practice this sport is rectangular and consists of a court measuring 18 meters x 9 meters and space around it. In addition, the place where the match takes place must have a height of at least 7 meters.

There’s a net in the middle of the court, which is 2.43 meters high for men’s matches and 2.24 meters for women’s matches.

2. Teams and players

The teams are made up of 12 players, of which six are on the court and the rest must remain seated on the bench. Each team has a captain. Three players stand in the attack zone (in front of the net) and three in the defense zone.

Players rotate in clockwise order. Thus, the player from position two rotates to position one and serves; the player in position one goes to position number six, the player in position six goes to the fifth position, and so on until it’s completed.

3. Scoring system

The matches are played to the best of five sets and at 25 points each set, except for the last one, which is at 15 points. To win a set, there must be a difference of at least two points with the opponent. For example, 25 to 23 or 26 to 24. The same in the fifth set, which would be 15-13.

The players can score points in different ways. For example, if the ball rebounds outside the playing field after serving, the opposing team would earn the point. Another example would be that if after the three touches allowed per side, the ball passes to the opposing court and it spikes inside the court (within the lines) the attacking team would get the point. The team that scores a point is the one that’ll serve the next time.

A man serving during a volleyball match.

Some other rules of volleyball

Finally, within the rules of volleyball, it’s important to think about the fouls. These are sanctioned, for example, when a team touches the ball more than three times, when the players touch the net or rods, interfering with the game, or when there’s a rotation error.

Beyond those mentioned, there are many other regulations that manage the practice of this sport. Among them, we can highlight substitutions, time-outs, disciplinary sanctions, and issues related to equipment and clothing. All of them can be found in the official FIVB regulations.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.