How to Play Volleyball
Skills, Positions, Rules, and Strategy

When first learning how to play volleyball, you need to understand the object of the game. The object of the game is to beat your opponents to a predetermined number of points.

In the old days, volleyball was played to 15 points and a point is scored only when the serving team wins the rally.

Today, rally scoring is primarily used which means a point is scored as a result of each play. Most volleyball games today are rally scoring and played to 25 points.

To win the game, you must score more points than your opponent and be leading by at least 2.

How to Play Volleyball

Winning the Rally

When first learning how to play volleyball, it's important to understand how to score points.

To score a point in volleyball, a team must win a rally. A rally is begun by a server serving the ball into play. The ball is served over the net to the opposing team.

The opponent then gets a maximum of three hits to return the ball back over the net.

A team wins a rally if...

  • there opponent isn't able to successfully return the ball

  • a player hits the ball down into their opponents court

  • a player hits the ball out of bounds

  • the team hits the ball off an opposing player

  • a player commits a fault when playing the ball

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Coaching Tips for Volleyball

Basic Rules

Indoor volleyball is played with two 6 player teams. Each team has 3 front row players and 3 back row players. The front row players mainly hit and block. The back row players mainly pass and dig.

The teams are separated by a net over which the ball must cross.

In the mens game, the net is positioned to 2.43 meters high.

In the womens game, the net is positioned to 2.24 meters high.

Basic Skills

There are some basic volleyball skills and court positions that you must know before you start playing volleyball.

The skills listed here are just basic.

The basic skills for playing volleyball are serving, passing, setting, attacking, blocking and digging.

The serve is what begins the game.

Passing the ball is the skill that's performed by the player receiving the ball.

Setting is the action of playing the ball to a teammate. Setting is usually done in an overhead motion using the hands. Players that have a hard time getting in good position to hand set may elect to set using a forearm passing motion. This is called bump setting.

Attacking or spiking is the action of sending the ball over the net to the opponent's court. Attacks are usually done by taking steps to approach the net to jump and hit the ball. The volleyball approach and hit is often thought of as the most fun skill in volleyball.

A block is the action of trying to prevent the ball from crossing the net into your court.

Digging is the action of playing the ball in a way that prevents the ball from touching the court after an attack by the opponents.

To get good at these volleyball skills require improving physical proficiency and hand-arm-and-eye coordination. Being able to effectively communicate with your teammates and having an understanding of how to play volleyball will highly influence how well you perform these skills.

The Players

On a very basic level, players on the team can be divided into 2 types.

  1. Front row players (attack/blocker)
    The front row players responsibility is attacking the ball when the setter sets them. Also, front row players try to block the ball coming from the opponent.

  2. Back row players (passer/digger)
    The back row players main responsibility is to pass the ball that comes from the opponent. Back row players are the main passers on the team when receiving the opponents serve. Back row players also dig balls hit by opposing team spikers.

The Positions

Here are some basic volleyball positions you should become familiar with when learning how to play volleyball.

  • Setter
    A setters main job is to set spikers. This is done by waiting for a teammate to pass the ball to them.

  • Spiker
    A spiker (attacker) is a player that attacks a ball over the net. The spiker is a front row player and their main job is to spike balls at the net.

  • Passer
    A passer is player that passes the ball up to the setter. The better a passer is able to pass, the easier it is for the setter to set which results in a better attack by the spiker.

  • Digger
    A digger is a defensive player that passes the ball up to the setter. The digger is skilled at digging hard driven spikes and chasing down off-speed shots by the opponent.

  • Server
    The server is the player on the team that puts the ball into play to start the rally. The players that understand how to play volleyball the best are often the best servers on the team.

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