Volleyball Serving Rules What Are The Rules When Serving A Volleyball? 

Learn important volleyball serving rules and answers to basic serving volleyball questions about what's legal when serving a ball from behind the service line. 

What Is The
Volleyball Serve?

The serve is the way the ball is launched over the net to start the rally after the ref has blown the whistle. 

Each official match must

Addi working on her standing floater in volleyball serve down the line.

Focusing on starting with hips open to the wall to her right,  a consistent toss and a smooth arm swing when contacting the ball with the middle of her hand to the middle of the ball.

Volleyball Serving Rules
Can you throw a ball over the net?

Throwing the ball over the net isn't allowed. 

Volleyball Serving Rules 
Who Is A Volleyball Server?

Who's the server?

The server is

  • the player on the team who won the right to serve based on the pre-match coin toss and who the coach has written on the lineup sheet to start in Zone 1
  • the player who rotates from the right front position on the court  known as Zone 2 and goes to Zone 1 behind the service line after their team has won a rally, won the point and the right to serve

Volleyball Serving Rules 
How many seconds do you have to serve in volleyball?

If you are the server, then at the beginning of the rally, after the referee blows the whistle, you are the player standing behind the end line in the service zone, and within 8 seconds after the ref has blown the whistle, you serve the ball over the net.

If for any reason you don't complete the first serve and get a second chance to serve again...then you subsequently have five seconds to serve. 

Volleyball Serving Rules
Where does the server serve the ball from?

After your team wins the rally, you also win

  • a point and
  • the right to serve

The player who was in the right front position on the court rotates from the front row and takes the ball behind the end line in the service area zone.

The server can serve from anywhere in the service area. 

The service area boundaries are from sideline to sideline and extend behind the endlines on both ends of the court.  (See the red area in the diagram.)

  • The server must be behind the service line until the ball has been contacted.

Volleyball Serving Rules:
Common Faults in Serving

While mastering your serving technique, you should also be aware of what actions could result in serve faults. Here are a few common faults:

1. Foot Fault:

A foot fault occurs when the server steps on or over the end line before the ball is contacted in a serve. This is considered illegal, and the serve immediately goes to the other team.

2. Double Hit:

A double hit happens when a server contacts the ball twice consecutively during a serve attempt.

3. Net Service Fault:

If a served ball hits a teammate, the antenna, or does not cross the net vertically inside the crossing space it is considered a serving fault.

4. Out of Order Serve:

Teams must serve in a specific rotation. If a player serves out of turn, it results in an automatic point to the opposing team.

5. Illegal Serve:

Any serve that does not conform to the correct technique (like a throw or carry) is deemed illegal and will result in a fault.

Being aware of these faults can guide players towards more legally precise serves, preventing unnecessary team penalties."

Volleyball Serving Rules: Team Rotation and Designating the Server

The concept of rotation is intrinsic to the game of volleyball. But how does this impact the server?

1. Winning a Rally:

When a team wins a rally while they're on the receiving side, they gain both a point and the right to serve. However, before they can serve, the team must rotate one position clockwise. This means the player from the right-front position moves to the right-back position to serve.

2. Designating the Server:

This rotation means that all players alternate between positions, including the server role. Therefore, serving is not limited to a single player but is done by all team players in sequence, depending on the rotation.

3. Continued Serving:

If the serving team wins the point, the same player continues to serve for the next point without any rotation.

4. Team Positions:

It's worth noting that, although players rotate their positions on the court, they still maintain their specialized roles such as setter, hitter, etc.

Understanding this rotating sequence not only ensures your team maintains the legal serving order but also adds a strategic nuance to the game as different players have different serving strengths and styles."

Volleyball Serving Rules:
The Let Serve Rule

One frequent question among volleyball players is the legality of a 'let serve.'

A let serve occurs when the ball served by a player touches the net but still successfully lands in the opponent's court.

1. Is It Legal?:

In earlier rules of volleyball, a let serve that touched the net was considered a fault.

However, under current Federation Internationale De Volleyball (FIVB) rules, as well as most other governing bodies, a let serve is considered legal. This means that if the ball contacts the net on the serve but continues over the net into the opponent's court, play continues as normal.

2. Continuation of Play:

When a let serve happens, players on both sides should be prepared to continue play because the rally continues just as if the serve didn't contact the net.

Understanding this subtle rule is essential for players to ensure there's no premature cessation of play, keeping the game going smoothly.

Do You Follow Me on Pinterest?

Follow me on Pinterest Volleybragswag to improve your game even faster!

I share alot of individual, partner and easy-to-do volleyball serving drills we do in class with my followers.

Many of these volleyball practice drills you can do at home by yourself or try at your next practice with your teammates.

If you're a B team or JV player trying to make varsity next year...your goal should be to complete 1000 reps a day of at least three of the basic skills on your own...volleyball passing, serving and setting should be at the top of the list. 

Volleyball Serving Rules 
Where Do You Go From Here?

Your three options are: 

  1. You can learn more about Serving by visiting the related links below.                            
  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. 
  4. Before leaving this page Say "Hi" to Miss Tattoo the Tiger wearing the #9 jersey below.  Miss Tattoo is the starting defensive and serving specialist for the All Beast VolleyBragSwag All Star team.

Meet Tatoo the Tiger, Serving Specialist on VolleyBragSwag's All Beast Team

You might like these volleyball basics pages!

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