Basic Volleyball Rules
Basic Rules and Procedures

Not knowing the basic volleyball rules can be a frustrating experience whether you're a player, coach, or just a fan.

You may have stumbled upon volleyball on television. You're watching the game, the referees make a call, and you don't understand why.

Maybe you have a sudden interest in volleyball now that your daughter has made the high school volleyball team. You want to understand the rules the best you can so you can cheer her team on.

Maybe you're a player that often gets frustrated when a referee makes a call that you don't understand.

Maybe you're coaching and looking for every advantage you can get to help your team win.

Maybe you're a recreational volleyball player that is looking for that edge you need.

Whether you're a coach, athlete, parent, fan, or just a recreational player, it's a good idea to be familiar with the basic volleyball rules.

Basic Volleyball Rules

Basic Volleyball Rules for Playing the Game

  • 6 players on a team, 3 on the front row and 3 on the back row

  • 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 above a nonplayable area

  • 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 can not block or attack a serve from on or inside the 10 foot line

  • After the serve, front line players may switch positions at the net

  • At higher competition, the officiating crew may be made up of two refs, line judges, scorer, and an assistant scorer

Basic Volleyball Rules Violations 

The following are some basic volleyball rules for violations.

The result of a violation is a point for the opponent.

  • 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 whenreaching over the net is a violation if the ball hasn’t yet broken the vertical plane of the net.

  • Crossing the court centerline 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 (deflecting a ball coming from their opponent), when at the moment of contact the back row player is near the net and has part of his/her body above the top of the net (an illegal block).

  • Back row player attacking a ball inside the front zone ( the area inside the 10 foot line), when at the moment of contact the ball is completely above the net (an illegal attack).

Basic Volleyball Rules Related Pages

New Rules
New volleyball rules for 2010 USAV season. Significant rule changes are applied every four years. The following are the rule changes for 2009 to 2012. FIVB... 

Volleyball violations and basic rules of volleyball. Multiple contacts, four hits, assisted hit, catching or throwing the ball, attacking and blocking faults are volleyball rules all... 

Second Referee Training
R2 training, learning the basics of volleyball officiating. Second referee or down ref responsibilities include calling nets, centerline violations, subs, timeouts… 

Top 4 Rules Every Competitive Player and Coach Should Know
Knowing the rules can often be the difference between winning and losing. Learn and use these rules to get an advantage over your opponent. 

Learning Rotation
Rules and court diagrams for player alignment. Do you know which players on the court can't overlap? 

Basic responsibilities for volleyball referees. The first referee (the referee on the stand) and the second referee… 

Officiating Crew
Officiating team is made up of referees, line judges, scorer, and assistant scorer. Volleyball officials main responsibilities are… 

High School Rules - Changes for 2007-2008
NFHS has some significant rule changes that involve the libero replacement, uniform, referee signals… 

Basic Game Rules
The object of the game, strategies for winning, rules for court dimensions and equipment... 

Basic Terminology for Dummies
Basic volleyball terminology for understanding the game. Game, match, point, rally, volley, substitution, time-out, coach, screening… 

› Basic Volleyball Rules










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