Important Rules of Volleyball All Varsity Players Should Know

A summary of important rules of volleyball reviewing court size, net height, sideouts, rally and point scoring.

Rules of Volleyball: The Rally

In the traditional game of six players vs. six players, a rally begins when one of the teams sends the ball over the net with a serve from their endline into the opponent's court and the opponent subsequently sends it back over the net on the first, second or third contact.

A rally continues 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.

Once the ball hits the floor the rally ends.

  • The two teams competing in the rally are composed of six players each, both facing each other from opposing sides of a net 
  • The official net height for women is 7 feet 4 5/8 inch.
  • The official net height for men is 7 feet 11 1/8 inch.
  • 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 during the rally. 

Rules of Volleyball
Scoring: Four Ways A Team Can Score A Point

Rules of Volleyball: When can a team score a point?: When the ball they attack hits the floor inside the court of the opposing Team B during a rally.....find out more on Improve Your Volleyball.comRules of Volleyball: When can a team score a point?: When the ball they attack hits the floor inside the court of the opposing Team B during a rally.....find out more rules on Improve Your

When can a team score a point?

Team A can score a point if:

  • the ball of the opposing Team B travels outside of the designated boundaries without any of Team A's players contacting it
  • Team B fails to return it to Team A's court in three contact attempts
  • if any member of Team B commits a fault

Rules of Volleyball
Common Faults Committed in Competition

What's a fault?

A fault is an error committed during a playing action. It's an action not permitted in competition as described by volleyball game rules.

When a team commits a fault, the opposing team gets the point and the right to serve the next ball. 

The following actions are described as  volleyball faults...

  • If the ball lands outside of the court, or in the same court as the team that touched it last
  • if the ball touches the "antennas" 
  • If the ball passes outside 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 hair) while making a play on the ball 
  • If the players on the team receiving serve don't touch the ball before it lands in their half of the court
  • If a backrow player jumps and spikes the ball while it is completely above the top of the net, unless he or she jumped from behind the attack line (the player is allowed to land in front of the attack line) 

Rules Of Volleyball
Scoring; More Ways To Score Points

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  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 

Learn more from these volleyball rules pages!

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