How to Play Volleyball

Are you looking for a sport that requires a positive team relationship, builds good communication skills, increases upper body strength and delivers an unlawful amount of fun? This article will teach you the basics of how to play volleyball. At the end, you’ll be ready to set, serve and spike!

Part One of Four:

Playing the Game


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Choose your players. Ideally, you want at least 6 players for a competitive game. However, if you’re playing with a group of friends, keep the same number of players on each side.

  • You should have 2 rows of players, with the first row closest to the net and the back row closest to the rear boundary of the court.

The player in the back right corner will serve the ball. You can rotate players around the court so that you will have a new server for each service game.

If you are rotating players out, rotate clockwise — looking at the net, the player closest to it on the right side would rotate out, allowing for many players to play.

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Serve the ball from behind the line at the back of the court. If you serve from in front of the line it will not count as a point. This is known as a foot fault. The ball has to go over the net (but it can touch), and it has to land within the court for the serve to be good.

The player on the right-hand side at the back of the court serves. Each player will only receive one service attempt per serve rotation; you may serve as many times as you can get the ball in the other teams court.

The ball is good even if it lands on a line.

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Return the ball if you’re on the receiving team. Thus the rally has begun! A typical play will be bump, set, spike — but as long as it goes over within three hits, it’s good.

Technically, you can hit the ball with any part of your body so long as the ball does not come to a rest.[1]

Players may go over the lines, but the ball may not. If a player on your team hits it out of bounds, you may run to retrieve it — successfully so if it doesn’t touch the ground.

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Continue hitting the ball back and forth across the net until a fault happens. This could be because of any one of the following:

The ball hits the ground.

If the ball hits the ground on the side of the serving team, then the other team has the opportunity to serve.

If the ball hits the ground on the side of the receiving team, then the serving team can serve again.

The point is awarded to the team that did not allow the ball to hit the ground.

The ball goes out of bounds. The team that hits the ball out of bounds loses the point.

Someone touches the net. If a player on one team touches the net, then the opposing team picks up a point.

Someone’s foot goes under the net. When this happens, the opposing team receives the point.

Someone hits the ball 2 consecutive times. Players can’t strike the ball twice in a row, unless a strike is in the block. A block does not count as a touch.

A team hits the ball 4 or more times without sending it over. 3 is the maximum.

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Serve the ball again. The team that won the last point gets to serve the ball. If you’re rotating, rotate now.

If your team has the ball, it’s common for the rows to back up a bit. The idea here is to get ready for an attack. If you don’t have the ball, move forward. The idea instead here is to make the attack.

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Continue playing until you reach a threshold. You can decide how many points you will allow for each game. For instance, you can start a new game when a team earns 15 points.

Recent rules state that regulation games go to 25 points, with the third game (in a set of three) going to 15.[2]

A standard match is three games long. Each team should switch sides at the start of a new game.

  1. A game must be won by two points. 25-26 will not cut it; it must be 25-27. Because of this, close games can go on much longer.

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