Basic Volleyball Rules

The Serve

  • Server must serve from behind the end line until after contact
  • Ball may be served underhand or overhand
  • Ball must be clearly visible to opponents before serve
  • Served ball may graze the net and drop to theother side for point
  • First game serve is determined by a volley, each subsequent game shall be served by the previous game loser
  • Serve must be returned by a bump only. no setting or attacking a serve


  • Rally scoring will be used.
  • There will be a point scored on every score of the ball.
  • Offense will score on a defense miss or out of bounds hit.
  • Defense will score on an offensive miss, out of bounds hit, or serve into the net.
  • Game will be played to 25 pts.
  • Must win by 2 points.


  • Team will rotate each time they win the serve
  • Players shall rotate in a clockwise manner
  • There shall be 4-6 players on each side.

Playing The Game

  • Maximum of three hits per side
  • Player may not hit the ball twice in succession (A block is not considered a hit)
  • Ball may be played off the net during a volley and on serve
  • A ball touching a boundary line is good
  • A legal hit is contact with the ball by a player body above and including the waist which does not allow the ball to visibly come to a rest
  • If two or more players contact the ball simultaneously, it is considered one play and the players involved may not participate in the next play
  • A player must not block or attack a serve
  • Switching positions will be allowed only between front line players. ( After the serve only )

Basic Rule Violations

  • Stepping on or over the line on a serve
  • Failure to serve the ball over the net successfully
  • Hitting the ball illegally ( Carrying, Palming, Throwing, etc. )
  • Touches of the net with any part of the body while the ball is in play. If the ball is driven into the net with such force that it causes the net to contact an opposing player, no foul will be called, and the ball shall continue to be in play
  • Reaching over the net, except under these conditions a) When executing a follow-through b) When blocking a ball which is in the opponents court but is being returned ( the blocker must not contact the ball until after the opponent who is attempting to return the ball makes contact). Except to block the third play
  • Reaches under the net ( if it interferes with the ball or opposing player )
  • Failure to serve in the correct order
  • Blocks or spikes from a position which is clearly not behind the 10-foot line while in a back row position

The Court

  • Both indoor and outdoor courts are 18 m x 9m
  • Indoor courts also include an attack area designated bya line 3 m back from the center line

Net Height

  • Net height for men, co-ed mixed 6 is 2.43 meters
  • Net height for women is 2.24 m
Volleyball Lingo
“Ace” When the ball is
served to the other team, and no one touches it.
“Sideout” When the team that served the ball makes a mistake, causing the ball to go to the other team.
“Roof” When a player jumps above the
height of the net, and blocks the ball.
“Stuff” When a player jumps about the
height of the net, blocks the ball, and the ball
goes back at the person who attacked(spiked) the
“Dig” When a player makes a save
from a very difficult spike.
“Kill” When a team
spikes the ball and it either ends in a point or a

Volleyball Rules

Links to volleyball rule resources on the internet.

33 thoughts on “Basic Volleyball Rules”

    1. Yes you can use your leg, foot etc. to kick the volleyball. It’s best to do this only if you have to as it’s generally less accurate than a proper dig or volley. Also note that it counts as one of your teams 3 hits before the ball has to go back over the net

    1. No, the volleyball rule is that the kick or header counts as one of your team’s touches. It doesn’t have to go straight back over the net although it’s fine if it does. You can even kick or head the ball to the setter if you really want to

  1. if the opponent hits shot and the ball touches shoulder,chest,or back of player of other team nd rises up nd then after that the ball crosses the net IS THE POINT CORRECT?

  2. if we touch the ball through/between the gapes or squares of the net without touching the net to disturb the opponnent for making a shot – IZ IT FOUL?

  3. is it correct or foul that to block or attack means spike the ball which is served?
    I had this doubt because when we serve the ball, the opponents takes direct attack by spike.

    1. The FIVB Volleyball Rule you want is:

      13.2.4 No player is permitted to complete an attack hit on the OPPONENT’S service, when the ball is in the front zone and entirely higher than the top of the net

      So it depends on if the volleyball was fully above net height when it was spiked, and if the spiker was in the front zone.

  4. two questions:
    1. if the ball served touch the other side boundary line,is it foul or correct?
    2. in a situation a player jumped to block the ball which going to be spiked, but the spiker did not hit the ball and just passed ball with two hands and then opposite player blocked the ball. in this is it foul or right …

    1. 1) If any part of the ball touches the line, the ball is ‘in’

      2) Yeah that’s fine, the spiker can choose to volley the ball over and the blocker can then block.

  5. I want to know how much time is required to be played for the whole volleyball match??? Or is it points that determines the end of the match? Do we have half time like in soccer or what?

    1. Volleyball matches generally aren’t played for a specific time, they are played in ‘sets’. FIVB Volleyball rules are that a team needs to win 3 ‘sets’ to win a match so a team can win 3 sets to 0, 3-1 or 3-2 so it can be hard to predict how long a match might take as it may consist of only 3 sets (if a team wins 3-0) or as many as 5 (if a team wins 3-2)

      Many local volleyball leagues and tournaments have their own rules re. how a match is won. This can be a reduced number of sets (typically 3) or even timed matches (for example in an indoor tournament where time is limited and a certain number of matches must be played)

  6. If a player digs a spike and the ball touch the player’s (digger ) hand and then chest or hand and face, is this ok?
    Does it count as one or two touch?

    1. As long as its ‘one action’ then this is fine and counts as one hit. If the digger makes 2 actions (e.g. it bounces off their hand and then they try to head or chest the ball) then the volleyball rules state that this is 2 hits and hence a foul

  7. If a blocker touch the ball of the spiker before the spiker touch it ( I mean the third ball that has been set for the spiker and the ball still is in their side of the net ) is this a foul?

    1. Hi Bobby. No it is a foul to assist a player to hit the ball. The full FIVB rule is below:

      9.1.3 ASSISTED HIT
      Within the playing area, a player is not permitted to take support from a team-mate or any structure/object in order to hit the ball.

      However, a player who is about to commit a fault (touch the net or cross the centre line, etc.) may be stopped or held back by a team-mate

  8. what are the parts of body allowed to touch the ball? I mean the ball should touch hands only or any other ….

  9. Question

    How many serves does each player get One.? Or do you get a second serve if the first hits the net.? You dont mention that in your serve rules.?

    One serve or a second serve if the first hits the net.?

    1. Hi, a player only gets one attempt at a serve. The FIVB rule is below. Note that if the ball clips the net and goes over this is a valid serve and play should continue.

      12.4.2 Only one toss or release of the ball is allowed. Dribbling or moving the ball in the hands is permitted.

      The rule above means you can’t throw the ball up, catch it and try again. You do only get one chance!

  10. I have a question about substitution. Are you allowed to Substitute any player out of the court regardless of where they are standing or positioned?? I am really confused about substitution.

    1. You can’t block or spike a serve back (actually I guess in theory you could spike it back – if you are behind the attack line)

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