All Basic Volleyball Rules for Fans, Players and Coaches

Volleyball History

The originator of this game was William Morgan, who introduced the game in America in 1894. Initially the game was known as ‘Mintonette’. Volleyball rules were made in 1896 and Youngman Association amended these rules in 1900. The first club opened in 1917 and the first competition of volleyball was completed in 1922. American volleyball association was established in 1940. . The International Volleyball Association was established in 1948. Since 1952, international competitions of this game started. In 1964, the volleyball game became the leader of the Olympic Games.

The first Indian Volleyball Association was established in 1951 in Ludhiana (Punjab) in India. Since 1952, national competitions of volleyball have started in the country. From 1953, women also started participating in the volleyball competition.

Volleyball field

This volleyball court diagram shows the official indoor volleyball court specifications. The official indoor court dimension is 9 meters by 18 meters with an attack line 3 meters from the center line on each side of the court.

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Major competitions

  • Federation Cup
  • Shivaji Gold Cup
  • Asia Cup
  • Indira S. Pradhan Trophy
  • world Cup
  • Grand champions cup
  • India Gold Cup
  • Full Moon Trophy.

Basic Volleyball Rules: How to Play Volleyball

A volleyball game consists of two teams of six players each, separated by a net. The six volleyball court positions are: setter, middle blocker, outside hitter, opposite hitter, libero and serving specialist.

To score points, a team must send the ball over the net, grounding it into the opponent’s court.

Here are the fundamental, must-know rules of a volleyball game:

  • Only 6 players on the floor at any given time: 3 in the front row and 3 in the back row.
  • There is a maximum of 3 hits per side.
  • Points are made on every serve for the winning team of rally (rally-point scoring).
  • Players may not hit the ball twice in succession (a block is not considered a hit).
  • Ball may be played off the net during a volley and on a serve.
  • A ball hitting a boundary line is in.
  • A ball is out if it hits an antennae, the floor completely outside the court, any of the net or cables outside the antennae, the referee stand or pole, or the ceiling above a non-playable area.
  • It is legal to contact the ball with any part of a player’s body.
  • It is illegal to catch, hold or throw the ball.
  • A player cannot block or attack a serve from on or inside the 10-foot line.
  • After the serve, front-line players may switch positions at the net.
  • Matches are made up of sets; the number depends on level of play.
  • 3-set matches are two sets to 25 points and a third set to 15. Each set must be won by two points. The winner is the first team to win two sets.
  • 5-set matches are four sets to 25 points and a fifth set to 15. The team must win by 2 points unless tournament rules dictate otherwise. The first team to win three sets is the winner.

Basic Volleyball Rules Violations 

The result of a violation is a point for the opponent.

  • When serving, stepping on or across the service line as you make contact with the serve
  • Failure to serve the ball over the net successfully
  • Contacting the ball illegally (lifting, carrying, throwing, etc. )
  • Touching the net with any part of the body while the ball is in play. Exception: If the ball is driven into the net with such force that it causes the net to contact an opposing player, no foul will be called, and the ball shall continue to be in play.
  • When blocking a ball coming from the opponents court, contacting the ball when reaching over the net is a violation if both: 
    1) your opponent hasn’t used 3 contacts AND 
    2) they have a player there to make a play on the ball
  • When attacking a ball coming from the opponents court, contacting the ball when reaching over the net is a violation if the ball hasn’t yet broken the vertical plane of the net.
  • Crossing the court centerline with any part of your body. Exception: if it’s the hand or foot, the entire hand or entire foot must cross for it to be a violation.
  • Serving out of order.
  • Back row player blocking (deflecting a ball coming from their opponent), when at the moment of contact the back row player is near the net and has part of his/her body above the top of the net (an illegal block).
  • Back row player attacking a ball inside the front zone ( the area inside the 10 foot line), when at the moment of contact the ball is completely above the net (an illegal attack).

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