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 contact.

  • 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 volleyball team is allowed to contact the ball a total of three times

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

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'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 out of the volleyball court, or in the same court as the volleyball 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 The Scoring System

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 volleyball 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.

Find out more basic volleyball rules in the articles below.

  1. Improve Your Volleyball
  2.  ›
  3. Rules For Dummies
  4.  ›
  5. Rules of VB

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