Volleyball 101

Volleyball 101How does volleyball work? What are the basic fundamentals of the game? Get ready to learn about volleyball 101. You don't need any prior knowledge to start learning.

Volleyball Basics

Volleyball Basics

Volleyball is a sport played between two teams. Each team has anywhere from 12 to 18 players, but at any given time, each team has six players on the floor. Teams play matches against each other which consist of three to five sets. Games will either be best out of three or best out of five. To win a set, a team must be the first to reach 25 points. If teams tie in sets (1-1 or 2-2), they will play a final tiebreaker set to 15 points. Whoever wins this set wins the match.

To get a point, a team must hit the ball onto the ground on the other team’s side of the net. However, if the ball is hit out of bounds, a point is counted against the team which hit it out of bounds. Points can also be scored if an illegal error is made, such as the same player touching the ball twice in a row.

Volleyball Equipment and Gear

Volleyball Equipment

The most important piece of equipment in volleyball is probably the ball itself. Without the ball, the game could not be played. Also, a bad ball or a ball that is inflated poorly will affect the players’ ability to control the ball.

Volleyball is played around a large net, which is also a crucial part of equipment. Like the ball, the net is not a piece of equipment worn by players but rather a shared equipment provided by the league.

Players sometimes wear knee pads too, which are the most protective piece of equipment used in volleyball. Knee pads are helpful for players who dive on the court, as their knees likely hit the floor hard when they do so.

Some players choose to wear ankle braces when they play volleyball. Ankle braces help protect against sprained ankles, which is a common injury among volleyball players.

The shoes which volleyball players wear are also considered to be part of their equipment. Proper, comfortable footwear goes a long way for these athletes who spend a lot of time standing and running.

Volleyball Penalties and Rules

Volleyball Penalties

There are many penalties in volleyball. Here is a list of penalties which result in a point against:

  • Touching the opponent’s side of the floor
  • Hitting the ball out of bounds
  • Catching and throwing the ball
  • Double hit: This occurs when the same player touches the ball two times in a row
  • More than three consecutive hits by one team
  • Touching the net
  • Foot fault: This occurs when the server’s foot passes the serving line while serving

Volleyball Positions

Volleyball Positions

Each team has six players on the court at a time, plus bench players who are not actively playing.

Here is a list of positions:

Volleyball Positional Rotations

At the start of each point, each player is assigned to one of the six zones on the court. While players can move around after the serve happens, they must line up in their respective zone beforehand. Once the receiving team scores a point, they gain service and must rotate clockwise one spot. Oftentimes, when a frontrow player rotates to the back row and vice versa, they will be subbed out.

Important Volleyball Concepts

Here are the most important concepts in volleyball:

Volleyball 101 Terms

  • Block
  • Serve
  • Dig
  • Attack
  • Set
  • Point
  • Setter
  • Libero
  • Left-side Hitter
  • Middle Hitter
  • Right-side Hitter
  • Ace
  • Five-One
  • Overpass
  • Opposite
  • Six-Up
  • Weak-side
  • Strong-side
  • Shank
  • Shot


What are the different positions in volleyball?

The main positions in volleyball are the setter, libero, defensive specialist, outside hitter, middle hitter, and opposite hitter. Each position has a different responsibility on the court. Although, the best volleyball players are well-rounded and capable of playing multiple different positions on the court with ease.

How many points do you need to score to win a game of volleyball?

To win a game or set in volleyball, teams need to score 25 points. Sets must be won by two points, so if the score is tied at 24, the first team to gain a two point advantage will win. In tiebreaking sets, games are played up to 15. While the same two point advantage rule applies to these sets many times there is a maximum score limit, usually 17.