Volleyball Rules for Dummies

Volleyball rules for dummies are basic rules all players, coaches, and fans should understand. 

Pre-Game Captain Speech

Before the match, one player from each team will participate in a coin toss that determines which team will serve first and which side of the court teams will start on. After switching sides of the court after game 1, game 2 will start with a serve by the team that didn't serve first in game 1. If it is match play (meaning best 2 out of 3), another coin toss will be held to determine the serving team. 

                     Official volleyball coins

Team Line Ups

The coach must submit a written lineup of the team's starting players to the referee and the scorekeeper. This lineup displays the position that each player will start in the game. The lineup that you submit determines the rotation of players throughout the game. This rotation is called the serving order. It is up to the coach to make decisions on where to place players in the lineup. 

Volleyball rules for dummies tip: A coach may choose to always start a game with their strongest server in the right-back position. Some coaches start their strongest setter and blockers in the front row. Essentially, the coach needs to be aware of the opponents strengths and weaknesses in order to place players in the best positions to counteract those strengths and take advantage of weaknesses. 

Volleyball Lineup Sheet

Line up is submitted before the start of each set

Serving Order and Playing Rotation

At the moment of service contact, players of both teams must be in their correct rotational order. If players aren't in correct rotation, the team may be called for out of rotation or overlapping

When a player is out of rotation, the referee stops play, the error is corrected, any points scored while the team was in error are canceled, and a point is awarded to the opponent. 

After the serve is contacted... 

After the server makes contact with the ball, players may move to any position they wish during the rally, but they must always return to the correct rotational order before the next serve. 

When your team obtains the serve, players rotate one position clockwise. 


The player who starts in RIGHT BACK position or rotates into that position on the serving team will initiate the serve for her team. 

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Volleyball Dummies and Rules

Volleyball Rules for Dummies... Ball Contact

Legal contact is a touch of the ball by any part of the player's body that does not allow the ball to visibly come to rest or involve prolonged contact with a player's body. 

If the contact of more than one body part is not simultaneous, a double contact violation will occur, resulting in a point being awarded to the opponent. 

Catching, holding, throwing, lifting, or pushing the ball are prolonged contacts and are considered illegal. 

Three contacts per side... 

After the serve has been made and during the rally, each team may take up to three contacts to return the ball to the opponent's court. 

If the first touch by a team is a block, this touch isn't considered a contact and the team will still have three contacts to return the ball. 

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