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Volleyball: Rules and Regulations

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General Volleyball Gameplay

A point or rally is started when one team serves the ball. The player serving the ball must stand behind the end line or restraining line at the back of the court until after they have contacted the volleyball. To serve a player hits the ball with their hand over the net and into the opposing team's side. If the ball doesn't go over the net or hits the ground, the point is over. The opposing team must now return the ball without letting it hit the ground. They can hit the ball up to three times. No single player can hit the ball twice in a row (blocks don't count). Typically a team will try to set up an attack. They use the first two hits to set the ball for a spike or hard hit over the net. The two teams continue hitting the ball back and forth until the point ends. A point can end by one team hitting a winning shot that hits the ground within the opponent's court or by one team causing a fault and losing the point.

Which volleyball team serves the ball is determined by the previous point. Whoever won the previous point, gets to serve next. At the start of a match, the first serve is determined by a volley.

Team Rotation

Although players play certain roles on a volleyball team, they all must play all positions. There are three players on the front line and three in the back. Each time a team gains the serve they must rotate. The entire team rotates in a clockwise manner with one player moving to the front line and another player moving to the back line. This way each player plays each spot.


Scoring in volleyball is pretty simple, but it also has changed over time. Most matches are divided up into sets. A typical match may be a best of 5 sets where the first team to win 5 sets wins the match. In each set, the first team to 25 points wins as long as they are 2 points ahead. A point is scored on every rally, regardless of which team serves.

It used to be that only the volleyball team serving could score a point on a won rally. Also, sets were typically played to 15 points. This was changed in 1999.

Volleyball Faults

There are several ways to fault and lose the point. Here are some examples:

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