Rules of Volleyball

Rules of volleyball can seem intimidating to learn at first. Whether you’re a beginning player, coach or fan, learning the rules will make volleyball an overall more enjoyable experience.

Basic Rules for Playing Volleyball

  • 6 players on a team, 3 on the front row and 3 on the back row
  • There is a 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 a serve
  • A ball hitting a boundary line is ‘in’
  • A ball is ‘out’ if it hits:
    • an antennae,
    • the floor completely outside the court,
    • any of the net or cables outside the antennae,
    • the referee stand or pole,
    • the ceiling of the venue
  • It is legal to contact the ball with any part of a players body
  • It is illegal to catch, hold, or throw the ball
  • If two or more players contact the ball at the same time, it is considered one play and either player involved may make the next contact (provided the next contact isn’t the teams 4th hit)
  • A player cannot block or attack a serve from on or inside the 3 meter line
  • After the serve, front line players may switch positions at the net
  • If a team has five players they will have a ghost position and when that position is serving the team will lose the point and serve.
  • The referee/duty crew is made up of two refs, line judges and a scorekeeper.

Basic Violations in Volleyball

Doing any of these results in a violation for your team and a lost point:

  • When serving, stepping on or across the service line as you make contact with the serve
  • Failure to serve the ball over the net successfully
  • Contacting the ball illegally (lifting, carrying, throwing, etc.)
  • Touching the net with any part of the body while the ball is in play.
    • Exception: 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.
  • When blocking a ball coming from the opponents court, contacting the ball when reaching over the net is a violation if both:
    • 1) your opponent hasn’t used 3 contacts AND
    • 2) they have a player there to make a play on the ball
  • When attacking a ball coming from the opponents court, contacting the ball when reaching over the net is a violation if the ball hasn’t yet broken the vertical plane of the net.
  • Crossing the court center line with any part of your body.
    • Exception: if it’s the hand or foot, the entire hand or entire foot must cross for it to be a violation.
  • Serving out of order.
  • Back row player blocking and spiking, back row players near the net cannot contact the ball when part of his/her body above the top of the net (an illegal block).