Basic Volleyball Rules

Basic volleyball rules help new coaches and players learn volleyball. Understanding basic rules makes playing volleyball much easier. 

Basics of the Game

A Volleyball Match 

A volleyball match consists of 6 players on each team. 

The serve 

The serve begins when the server standing at the baseline hits the ball over the net to the opposing team. 

Returning the serve 

The opposing team returns the serve by using up to 3 contacts to return the ball over the net. During these 3 contacts, the same player can't contact the ball in succession. 

Teams may choose to use fewer than 3 contacts to return the ball, but at advanced levels of play, teams generally will use all 3 contacts. 

Pass, set, hit 

The strategy to score points involves pass, set, and hit. 

The first team hit is usually a pass towards the net. You want to pass the ball (using your forearms or hands in an overhead motion) in a way that makes it easy for a teammate to set the ball. The second team hit is a set to a hitter. The setter wants to set the ball in a way that makes it easy for another teammate (the hitter) to attack the ball. The attacker then hits the ball in a way that makes it hard for the opponent to return the ball over the net. 

Specialized Positions

At advanced levels, players have specialized positions. 

The strategy consists of moving the players around the court to take advantage of specific skills each player has developed. 

Each player focuses on developing specific skills. They then use these specific skills to help their team score points. 

Back row and front row players 

One exception to moving players around the court is there are front row players and back row players. The back row players can't hit or block in front of the attack line. 

Basic Volleyball RUles

Basic Volleyball Rules - Scoring Points

Every play ends when one team wins a point. A team doesn't have to serve a ball to score a point. 

If the ball hits any part of the court boundary line, the ball is considered in. 

If the ball lands outside the court, hits an antenna, the referee stand, the wall, etc then it's considered out of play. 

A play also ends when the referee blows the whistle to make a call regarding a violation. 


If the team that didn't win the serve scores the point, each player on that team rotates clockwise around the court after they win the point. 

In this situation, the player that is now moved into right back position, is now the new server. 

Now, if the serving team wins the point, the team doesn't rotate. All the players remain in their same positions and the same server initiates the next serve. 

Players are allowed to move to anywhere on the court they want after the server contacts the ball. 

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Basic Volleyball Rules

Rotation Order

Understanding rotation is a big part of basic volleyball rules. Teams submit line ups each game. 

The order of the line up is the rotation order that players must maintain throughout the game. 

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