Rules of Volleyball

A summary of important rules of volleyball.

In the traditional game of six players vs. six players, one of the

teams is required to send the ball over the net with a serve from the

endline into their opponent's court and the opponent

subsequently sends it back over the net on the second or third


  • The two volleyball teams composed of six players are facing each other from opposing sides of a volleyball net. 
  • The official net height for men is 7 feet 11 1/8 inch.

A rally occurs when the teams are able to keep the ball from

hitting the ground on their own court while sending it back and forth

over the net.

More Basic Rules of Volleyball

The person who starts in or who has rotated to Zone One which is

the right back position of each team is the server and initiates the

rally by contacting the ball, so that it goes directly over the net into the

opponent's court. 

A team is allowed to contact the ball a total of three

times in their attempt to return the ball to the opponent's court. 

When Can A Team Score A Point? 

A team can score a point if:

  • the ball hits the floor during a rally,

  • if the ball travels outside of the designated boundaries without any players contacting it
  • if a team fails to return it to their opponent's court or
  • if any member of a team commits a fault

What is a Fault?

What's a fault?

The following actions are described as a fault in the list of

volleyball rules. When a team commits a fault, the

opposing team gets the point and the right to serve the

next ball. 

  • If the ball lands outside of the court, or in the same court as the team that touched it last, or if the ball touches the net "antennas" 
  • If the ball passes outside (or over) the antennas even if it lands in the opponents court 

  • If a player "holds", "lifts" or "carries" the ball resulting in the ball remaining in contact with the player's body for too long or resulting in the ball coming to a complete stop 
  • If a player touches the net with any part of the body or clothing (except her hiar) while making a play on the ball 
  • If the volleyball players on the team receiving serve don't touch the volleyball before it lands in their half of the court
  •  If a back-row player tries to block an opposing team's attack by reaching above the top of the net 
  • If a libero, a designated back row player jumps and attacks the ball, while the ball is above the top of the net   

Rules Of Volleyball About Keeping Score

The traditional way of keeping score is called sideout scoring

This was the original way of determining how a team earned

their points

With sideout scoring only the team that served the ball

was able to  score a point, so each team rallied to earn

the right to serve the ball. 

In the Rally Point System, the team that is in serve receive can 

earn a point if they win the rally.

The team that wins the rally 

  • receives a point
  • they earn the right to serve the ball  
  • they are required to rotate one position

A beginner's explanation of Olympic Volleyball Rules.

Watch this short video tutorial guide on

how to play Volley ball under Olympic and FIVB rules.

Rules of Volleyball: Where Do You Go From Here?

Fun stuff! Where do you need to go now? Here are your options: 

  1. Learn more about the Rules for Dummies
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page                    Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the Volleyball Rules section in the drop down menu at the top of the page 

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