Basic rules of volleyball for beginners | Pro Rec Athlete (2023)

Like any sport, volleyball has its fair share of rules to follow. Some of these might seem really complicated and confusing (like what is the difference between front court and back court anyway!), but most of the rules are pretty straight-forward, especially after you’ve played a few games.

Don’t worry, even the most seasoned players get confused about some of the complicated rules. But that’s why there’s referees to make the final call! And, for the ultimate uncertainty, a re-serve will just get called. Kind of like a do-over for the play, so that it’s fair for everyone.

The following is a list of common questions about the basic rules of volleyball for beginners.

What does the playing area look like?

The volleyball court is the playing area and is outlined by the boundary line. Each team has a 9 metre by 9 metre court area to cover, which is separated by a net down the middle.

How many players are there in volleyball?

Each team must have 6 players on the court.

How do you score points in volleyball?

At its most simple, a point is scored in volleyball when either: 1) the ball touches the floor, 2) or a player is called on a touch violation, meaning the player touched the ball incorrectly. But of course, it’s a bit more complicated than that…

When a team hits the ball over the volleyball net, it has to land IN the court on the other side. If it lands OUT, the other team get the point. If it lands on the floor IN the court, the first team gets the point. As you can imagine, IN/OUT calls of where the ball landed can become quite heated!

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How are you allowed to touch the ball in volleyball?

Bump, Set, Spike! These are the classic ways you touch a volleyball during the game. But you’re also allowed to block the ball from coming over the net, and you also get to serve the ball over the net as well.

Bumping, or passing, is when you bounce the ball off of your forearms.

Volleying, or setting, is when you contact the ball over your head with your fingers. You have to do this motion in a clean way, or else you will get called for a lift or a double. More on that below…

Spiking, or hitting, is when you swing overhead at the ball and make contact with your hand, hoping to power the volleyball over the net so hard that your opponent won’t be able to hit it back. Sound easy? It is, but the hard part is that it has to land inside the court!

Blocking means jumping straight up at the net to block the ball with both your hands when your opponent is hitting it over to your side.

Every play begins with a serve. A player can choose to serve underhand or overhand and has to hit the ball from the back of their court over the net to the opposing side.

What are the common touch violations?

A double is when a player touches the ball more than once. For example, if a player is trying to volley the ball, the ball has to touch both hands simultaneously. If the timing is off, the ball may hit one hand, then the other, which would be called as a double.

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A lift is when the player carries and holds the ball too long instead of contacting it cleaning. This can happen with either a volley or with a bump.

There are some exceptions to these rules, but for the most part, these are the basic violations.

What is “front court” and “back court”?

The playing area for each team is divided into front court and back court by the attack line. There are always 3 players in the front court and 3 players in the back court. The difference just means how a player is allowed to touch the ball.

A front-court player is allowed to make contact with the ball above the height of the net, which means they are able to jump when hitting and blocking.

A back-court player has to stay below the height of the net, so they are mostly playing defense by passing the ball. A back-court player is actually allowed to hit the ball over, as long as they stay below the height of the net.

What does it mean to rotate in volleyball?

Players don’t just play in one spot on the court for the whole game. How boring would that be! They rotate around the court every time a new server starts on their side. A player starts in the serving position, then moves into the front court, across the front court, then back into the back-court.

What happens if my team is called “out of rotation”?

At the start of each game, the 6 players on the court must position themselves in a certain order and maintain that order as they rotate through the game. Being “out of rotation” means that the players are standing in an order that is different than how they started the game.

(Video) The Rules of Volleyball - EXPLAINED!

Is there a maximum number of times that the ball can be touched?

Each team can touch the ball a maximum of 3 times on their own side before the ball has to go over the net to the other team. The exception to this is that a block (when a player jumps and tries to block the hit from the other team) doesn’t count as a touch.

Remember, though, that 3 is the maximum. It’s okay if a team has only one or two touches. The advantage is that you want to have a Bump Set Spike play as often as possible!

Can you kick the ball in volleyball?

A player is allowed to touch the ball with any part of their body (yes, that includes your face!). So, technically, yes, you are allowed to kick the volleyball. However, this move is most often reserved for a digging play when a player has no other option, or for an accidental touch. So try to keep the kicking on the soccer field!

Can the ball touch the net?

Yes, the ball is allowed to touch the net, either during a play or during a serve. As long as the ball contacts the net between the antennas that are mounted on the net to mark the court boundary, the ball is considered to be in play.

Can a player touch the net?

No, a player is not allowed to touch the net during a play. No exceptions.

What is rally point in volleyball?

Rally point simply means that a point is scored on every play. Rally point was introduced in the late 1990s – before that, the side out scoring system was used. That meant that only the team who was serving could score points. The term “side out” was used to indicate when the team lost the serve, and therefore wouldn’t be able to score any points until they “got the serve back”.

The rally point system was introduced so that it would be easier to predict how long a game would take, and to make the game easier to watch. With side out scoring, two evenly matched teams could in theory just alternate between side-outs plays and take forever to actually score any points. Rally point means there is a limited number of plays before the game ends.

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How many points do you need to score to win an indoor volleyball game?

25 points.

What is the difference between a volleyball game and a volleyball match?

A game is played to 25 points. A match is made up of a series of games. For example, a volleyball match is usually made up of 5 games to 25 points. However, the number of games in a match depends on the league. In recreational volleyball, a match could be anywhere between 2 to 5 games.

Click here for 16 volleyball tips for beginners

That pretty much covers the most basic rules of volleyball to get you started. As with any sport, there are of course some very complicated rules that even experienced players get confused about. And what is even more confusing is that many of those rules have exceptions to them! But, for the most part, volleyball is a pretty straightforward game: just hit the ball inside the court!

Remember, the more you play, the easier it will be to remember all these rules.

Have fun!


What are the 5 basic rules of volleyball? ›

Volleyball Basic Rules
  • Server must serve from behind the end line (dark green/blue) until after contact.
  • Ball may be served underhand or overhand.
  • Ball must be clearly visible to opponents before serve.
  • Served ball may graze the net and drop to the other side for a point.

What are the 10 basic rules of volleyball? ›

A volleyball coach will get her youngsters acclimated to the sport by starting them with these 10 important rules:
  • Scoring. The first team to reach 25 points and by at least two points wins a set. ...
  • One, two, three. ...
  • Two hits equal one. ...
  • The serve. ...
  • Serve return. ...
  • Serve rotation. ...
  • Net game 1. ...
  • Net game 2.

What to do if you are a beginner at volleyball? ›

Volleyball Tips for Beginners
  1. Be honest about your skill level. ...
  2. Get familiar with the beach. ...
  3. Learning a high contact point in your arm swing. ...
  4. Serving the volleyball— stay still. ...
  5. For passing, always think 'high, middle' ...
  6. Don't overcomplicate things when you're setting. ...
  7. You are not Alix Klineman.
Jan 13, 2020

What is the most important rule in volleyball and explain? ›

The primary objective in volleyball is to make the ball hit the floor on the opponent's side of the court, while preventing your opponent from doing the same on your side of the court. Each team is allowed a maximum of three contacts/hits with the ball before it must be sent across the net.

What is volleyball and its rules? ›

volleyball, game played by two teams, usually of six players on a side, in which the players use their hands to bat a ball back and forth over a high net, trying to make the ball touch the court within the opponents' playing area before it can be returned.

What are the 8 basic skills in volleyball? ›

Passing, serving, setting, spiking, blocking and digging are the six basic skills of volleyball which are the first things varsity players need to learn about the sport.

What is the new rules in volleyball 2022? ›

The main changes to the sitting volleyball rules were: The playing surface colour of the front and back zones may be different. The coaches' restriction line was deleted. The penalty area with chairs was deleted (the team dressing room is used instead)

What does 3 fingers mean in volleyball? ›

Flashing three fingers, I will make a dive block towards the line. The strategy is to bait my opponent into thinking line is open for a hard swing, but I dive into the line last minute and clamp down for a block.

What are three rules you Cannot do in volleyball? ›

Players are not permitted to scoop, hold, and lift or push the ball. The ball may never be contacted with an open-hand underhanded motion. In addition, during the first hit of the team, except when serving, the ball may contact various parts of the body consecutively, provided the contacts occur during one action.

What is the 1st skill that a player should familiarize in volleyball? ›

1. Bumping — Bumping, otherwise known as forearm passing, is one of the most essential volleyball skills for all positions. It's the way you keep the ball in play and set your team up for success.

What are the 4 shots in volleyball? ›

There are four typical shots.
  • Cut Shot (or Cuttie)
  • High Line.
  • Pokey.
  • Jumbo.
Mar 12, 2021

What are the two main general rules of volleyball? ›

Here are some basic rules of volleyball to avoid breaking. Stepping on or over the service line as you make contact with the server during serving. Failure to successfully serve the ball over the net. Unauthorised ball contact (lifting, carrying, throwing, etc.).

What is a basic rule violation in volleyball? ›


Stepping on or over the line on a serve. Failure to serve the ball over the net successfully. Hitting the ball illegally ( Carrying, Palming, Throwing, etc. ). Touches of the top of the net only with any part of the body while the ball is in play.

What is volleyball short answer? ›

Volleyball is a game of skill involving teams passing a ball over the net without the ball touching the ground or going out of bounds. Teams earn points when their opponent errors, or fails to legally return the ball over the net.

How do you play volleyball short answer? ›

The receiving team must not let the ball be grounded within their court. The team may touch the ball up to three times to return the ball to the other side of the court, but individual players may not touch the ball twice consecutively. Typically, the first two touches are used to set up for an attack.

What are 3 facts about volleyball? ›

Volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan in 1895, but it did not become an Olympic sport until 1964. A single player may jump as many as 300 times in a volleyball match. The record for most consecutive passes in volleyball is 110, achieved in the United States, in Raleigh, North Carolina, on February 5, 2010.

How do you teach volleyball passing to beginners? ›

Platform together or “hugs and kisses.” Let the ball meet the platform, don't stand up to reach the ball first. Power pass with shoulder shrug and small “bounce” in legs.
Things to Keep in Mind:
  1. Speak their language. ...
  2. Make it fun. ...
  3. Emphasize work with coaches. ...
  4. Let the little things go.
Aug 5, 2016

Can a libero jump and hit the ball? ›

Back row player (libero included): MAY jump and attack the ball from in front of the 10' line (provided the ball is below the height of the net). Back row player (libero included): MAY NOT jump and attack the ball from anywhere on the court when the ball is entirely above the net at the time of contact.

Can a libero spike serve and block? ›

The Libero may serve, but cannot block or attempt to block. The Libero may not spike a ball from anywhere if at the moment of contact the ball is entirely higher than the top of the net.

Can you kick the ball in volleyball? ›

Of all the rules in Volleyball, ball handling is probably the most misunderstood. The ball is allowed to touch any part of the players' body from head to toe as long as the contact is legal. Yes, a player can kick the ball, which is a legal contact.

What does 2 thumbs up mean in volleyball? ›

Two thumbs up. A fault by both teams, a serve over or official's inadvertent whistle or mistake. Time out. Each team gets two 60 second time outs per game.

What does 62 mean in volleyball? ›

In a 6-2 volleyball rotation, the first number six represents the number of hitters on the court and the second number two stands for the number of setters. Sep 15, 2017 by FloVolleyball Staff.

What does white shirt mean in volleyball? ›

Much like a goalkeeper in football, who has a different kit to the outfield players, one player in volleyball also has a unique role. The player wearing the different kit to the rest is called a 'libero'. Two members of each squad of 12 can be given the position of libero and both must follow a set number of rules.

What is the hardest role in volleyball? ›

As a setter, they have to memorize which teammates hit faster so they can give them a faster and not loopy set. Another thing that makes setting one of the hardest positions in volleyball is watching who their currents hitters are.

What is a foul called in volleyball? ›

Fouls. A foul is a failure to play as permitted by the rules. A double foul occurs when opposing players commit rule violations at the same time. A double hit occurs when a player's successive or multiple contacts are illegal. A foot fault occurs when a player violates the serving area or centerline restrictions.

What is not allowed in volleyball? ›

Players are not permitted to scoop, hold, and lift or push the ball. The ball may never be contacted with an open-hand underhanded motion. In addition, during the first hit of the team, except when serving, the ball may contact various parts of the body consecutively, provided the contacts occur during one action.


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