Volleyball is a team ball sport differentiated by the use of a net. A point begins with an athlete serving the ball from behind the baseline. The opposing players then have three hits to get the ball back over the net. If they succeed, then that responsibility goes back to the serving team in a continual cycle until a team fails to get the ball over the net. Common ways to lose points are to let the ball hit the ground, hitting it into the net or out of bounds, or simply not getting the ball over the net in three hits or less. Each side has six players, with the main positions being the hitters who play close to the net, the setter who is tasked with placing the ball in an optimal position to be spiked, and a libero, who specializes in defense and digging the opponents' hits.
Volleyball has been played since the 19th century, with its inclusion in the Olympic Games occuring in 1964. It is most commonly played on a hard court surface, but a variant of the game known as beach volleyball is played on sand. Technique is very important in volleyball, and not knowing the correct way to hit the ball can result in an infraction. Players typically wear team uniforms and knee pads, so that diving for the ball is possible. Volleyball games are played to 25 points, with teams needing to win 3 out of 5 to secure the match. If the teams are tied 2-2 going into the fifth set, the game is played to 15 points. There is a head official who sits atop a chair in-line with the net during a game, as well as line judges tasked with determining if the ball was in or out.
There are many intricate rules of volleyball, but there are also basic regulations players must abide by in every game. There are certain rotation and substitution patterns that must be followed, as well as illegal types of hits, dependent on where you touch the ball on the court and how you make contact with it.
Volleyball is a very popular sport across the globe played by all genders and ages. While the formations seen at high levels of the sport can be confusing, the basic concept of bump, set, spike is easy enough to understand that volleyball has become one of the most popular intramural sports at high schools and colleges. Unlike other ball sports, it is much harder to practice without a certain number of people and equipment. While professional volleyball is not as well-known as other sports, it is a high intensity game that produces rallies no matter the level of play, making it an exciting game for fans to watch.