Volleyball is played by two teams on a court divided by a net. 


The object of volleyball is to send the ball over the net so that it hits the ground in the opponents' court, and to prevent the opponents doing the same. 

Each team is allowed three contacts to return the ball (in addition to a block contact).

The ball is put into play with a service from behind the baseline, sending the ball over the net and into the opponents' court. 

The rally continues until the ball is grounded on the playing court, goes 'out', or a team fails to return it properly.

The team winning a rally scores a point. This is known as rally point scoring. When the receiving team wins a rally it scores a point and the right to serve. Its players rotate one position clockwise.

The same player carries on serving until their team loses a rally. When  the receiving team wins  a rally it wins the right to serve and its players rotate 1 position clockwise, as shown in the diagram.


The back-row players (1,6,5) :

May not play the ball directly from within the attack area into the opponent’s court, unless the ball is played below the height of the net.

May not block.

The may smash, providing the take-off for the smash is behind the attack-line.

The player in position 1 starts the play with a service. The receiving team is allowed a maximum of 3 contacts to return the ball. (an attempted block does not count as a contact).

Players are not allowed to play the ball twice in succession.

Handling the ball:

The ball may be played with any part of the body.

The ball must be ‘hit’, not caught and/ or thrown.

The service:

The player in position 1 serves the ball from behind the baseline.

The service is considered good if the ball passes:

Over the net into the opponents court (even if it touches the net).

There is no second service!!



It is a fault if a player touches the net when playing the ball.

If to players from opposing teams simultaneously touch the net, it is known as a double fault. The point is replayed.

It is not permitted to touch the opponents’ court with any part of the body.

A match is played (usually) the best of three sets.

The first two sets up to 21 points (with two point lead).

And in the deciding third set up to 15 points (with two point lead).




Underarm serve


Overarm serve


Forearm pass/ underarm technique / or ‘dig’


Volley/ overhead technique / set up







Block: An attempt by a player or players to prevent the ball from coming over the net.

Court: The playing surface. (9x18 meters).

Dig: forearm pass, or underarm technique.

Double fault: When players from opposing teams simultaneously commit fauls.

Floater: a serve that floats through the air because it has no spin.

Pass: The first of three contacts on the offensive side, overhead or forearm.

Serve: The act of bringing the ball into play.

Spike: a ball hit forcefully from above the height of the net.

© Maarten Vermeulen 2017