How To Play Volleyball And Win!

Learn how to make your varsity volleyball team with instruction by Coach April
for  high school players in Nevada, California, Utah, and Texas 

Stupak Gym Las Vegas, NevadaStupak Gym Las Vegas, Nevada

Are you ready to learn how to play volleyball so you can make the teams you plan to try out for?

Whether your goal is to make your varsity, JV or a club team or even prepare to play in college you've come to the right place.

You'll get your questions answered  and you'll learn how to improve your playing skills so you can help your team score points and win.

Are you ready?

How To Play Volleyball: About The Volleyball Serve

The serve is the first opportunity for you, the player, to score a point. 

And, its the one skill, out of all six of the essential skills , that you, the player can do, all by yourself without the assistance of another player to help score a point for your team. 

When a player scores a point with their serve its called an ace.  An ace is a serve that is so well placed that it lands on the opposing team's court before an opposing player is able to play the ball. 

Once the referee blows their whistle to begin a rally, the player on the serving team in the right back position, which is also known as Zone 1,  steps behind the service line and serves the ball over the net.  

Beginner and inexperienced players will learn how to play volleyball just by serving it over the net easily to begin the rally.

But the volleyball serves made by advanced players are  tougher and harder because they are trying to score a point with their serve. 

As a beginner  player you may first learn how to play using the underhand technique with a closed fist. 

As you become stronger and you gain more experience then you'll be taught how to serve a volleyball overhand. 

There are several different overhand service techniques and with more playing time and more practice, I teach advanced players how to jump float serve a ball, jump spin and top spin serve.  

How To Play Volleyball:  
Passing in Volleyball

Passing and serving are two of the most important skills you can learn. 

One of the  two most important skills to learn first is passing in volleyball because if you can't pass then you can't play.

Passing is done when you hold both wrists together, and with both thumbs side by side and pointing to the ground as you contact the ball on the  forearms of both arms.

Keeping your thumbs pointed to the ground, keeps your arms straight.

Your forearms, commonly known as "your platform", should be angled towards the target you plan on passing the ball to. 

When learning how to play volleyball, you need to understand that "the pass" is used the majority of the time to get the ball to travel from one player to a teammate, or over the net. 

To pass well,a player who is passing in serve receive should be able to

  • read the opposing server well, 
  • present a flat, straight-armed platform without swinging the arms when contacting the ball, 
  • be able to angle their shoulders to their target keeping shoulders over their knees, 
  • keep hips below the level of the ball when passing and 
  • do lots of repetitions in practice to improve passing accuracy and precision. 

How To Play Volleyball: Learn To Set A Volleyball 

When learning how to set a ball, you'll use an overhead contact with all ten fingers shaped in a triangle around the ball to push it back up towards the ceiling,  so it travels from you to your intended target. 

According to the rules of volleyball, during a rally, each team is allowed only three contacts. On the third contact, the ball has to go over the net to the opposing team's side.

What usually happens in volleyball is that a passer in the back row uses their underhanded pass to contact the ball for the first contact. 

The second contact on most teams is made by a setter who is responsible for delivering a "set" to one of her hitters so they can hit the ball, for the third contact, over the net to try and score a point for the team. 

Setters, are the players responsible for getting to every second ball on their side and they are specialists in using this overhead contact called "the set" to deliver the ball to the hitters on the team.

University of Kentucky, Freshman, volleyball setter

Madison Lilley

SEC Freshman of the Year

SEC Setter of the Year

This was Madison's first year in college.

That means last year, she was in high school!.

Inspiring Volleyball Setters Quote of the Day

If she can be that successful, why can't you?


So once the serving team serves the ball into the opposing team's court, the first contact is made by the passer on the receiving side who passes the ball up to their setter.

The setter is waiting close by the net for the pass and she "sets the volleyball" to one of her outside hitters or middle blocker. 

How To Play Volleyball: About The Volleyball Spike 

The hitters responsibility is to spike the ball over the net, back to the side of the team who first served the ball. They are trying to spike or hit the ball to an open space on the court so the receiving team can score a point. 

When learning how to play volleyball  its important to learn the importance of hitting to different areas of the court. 

Hard hitters with well-placed spikes score for their team all the time.  

But smart hitters who see the court and know where to place the ball, out of the reach of opposing players on defense, score just as many points. 

So it doesn't always matter how big you are just how talented you are and how well you see the block and the court when it comes down to learning how to spike in volleyball.  

When you score a point with a hard hit, its called a "kill." 

How To Play Volleyball: About The Volleyball Block

At the beginning of a rally if your team is serving, that means after the serve goes over the net your team is on defense. 

When a team is on defense they have their three hitters become blockers. 

Since the block is the first line of defense against the attack or spike from the other team, its the blockers job to try and stop the attack hit from coming over the net into their court.

Penn State University, Senior, middle blocker

Haleigh Washington

BIG10 Defensive Player of the Year

#1 Blocker in the Nation 

This was Haleigh's senior year in college. 

She was the top middle blocker in the country.

Motivational Blockers Saying of the Day

If she can be that successful, why can't you?


As a defensive player at the net, which is what a blocker is, you will block a ball by

  • watching the ball while the opposing team's passer passes it to their setter 
  • then you'll watch the setter to see where she sets the ball from, how fast she sets it, and who she intends to set the ball to
  • once the setter sets the ball you'll watch the ball, tracking the set as it leaves the setters hands and travels to the hitter
  • finally you'll watch the hitter to quickly determine where her spike approach is taking her to meet the ball and see where her arm is swinging so you pick up clues on where she intends to spike the ball

This eye sequence pattern is called BSBH  or  Ball - Setter- Ball - Hitter.

Its what both,  the diggers. in the back row and blockers in the front row do or better yet 'how they watch the offense' in order to try and be in the right place at the right time in order to stop a ball at the net..or keep the ball from hitting their court floor.

How To Play Volleyball: About Volleyball Digging

Both defensive player positions in volleyball will use BSBH while playing defense

While its the blockers job to try and stop the ball at the net, its the responsibility of the players in the back row  to keep the ball of the floor, if the ball happens to get past their block. 

University of Illinois, Senior, libero

Brandi Donnelly

Watch how low to the ground you can dig a ball...and still play it with two hands, not one!


The technique used to keep the ball of the floor is volleyball digging. 

Similar to the passing technique, as a digger you'd position yourself around the perimeter of the court, behind the block but in a spot where you can see  the opposing hitter when they are attacking the ball.

Learn how to play volleyball better...Watch Morgan Hentz, Stanford libero's digging exhibition...  

A dig is made when  you put your hand or arm(s) in front of the path of a ball, while sinking your hips lower to the ground, below the level of the oncoming ball.

You use your forearms to contact and deflect the ball up towards  the ceiling so a second player, ideally the setter, can make a second contact on the ball. 

How To Play Volleyball: Where Do You Go From Here?

What do you need to do now? You have three options: 

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

Recent Links:

How to Play

Learn To Play








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