In the game of indoor volleyball, a team is only allowed up to three hits in order to return the ball to the other side of the net. This is used in order to speed up the game and ensure that one team is not taking an absurd number of hits to get the ball across the net. If a team hits the ball more than three times, then the referee will stop play and grant the point to the opposing team. This rule is observed very closely as it keeps the pace of play as well as make sure that a team is not simply wasting time by hitting the ball back and forth with their teammates. Coaches usually teach that their team should make use of all three of their available hits by first using a pass to get the ball in the air. After the bump, players normally try to set the ball near the net so that the third hit could be used for a hit. If a team cannot successfully perform these hits, players usually just send a free ball over the net on the third possible hit.
It is up to each individual player if they would like to serve overhand or underhand to the other team. However, the server is not allowed to step on or over the end line until after they strike the ball. Unlike in tennis, the server in volleyball is only allowed one opportunity to get the ball over the net. The server can serve the ball anywhere as long as it is able to get over the net without hitting the ground. If the server is unable to get the ball over the net or they step on the endline without striking the ball, the referee will stop play and award the point to the opposing team. If their team loses the point, the server will no longer serve until their next turn. Usually as volleyball players get older, they start to serve overhand rather than underhand. This is because serving overhand is generally better as it is harder to send back over the net and gives the serving team a better chance of winning the point.
In volleyball, a player is not allowed to hit the ball two times in a row with no other hit in between. This means that if a player hits the ball up in the air, they cannot hit it again until someone else on their team hits the ball. This is used throughout the game to ensure that players are not just setting the ball up to themselves in order to get a better hit for their team. Also, if a player were able to hit the ball multiple times in a row, the team aspect of the game would fall apart as there would just be players hitting the balls up to themselves and trying to take over a match alone. The game would no longer be a team game and would just be individual players leading their teams. If a player wishes to hit the ball twice during a team's part of a rally, they must have one of their teammates hit the ball to separate the player's two hits.
During any given match, a team must rotate when they receive the serve after winning a point. The rotation of a volleyball team is done after they gain the serve, which only occurs after their team has won a point. Rotation ensures that every player will play each position throughout any given match since they have to rotate through each spot. The rotation must be in a clockwise manner meaning that the person in the front right would be the new server and the old server would be in the back-middle position after the rotation.
Team rotation is important as it usually causes the coach to use subs to reinsert people in the lineup that would improve the lineup after the rotation. Without rotating, a team would stay in the same place the whole match and nobody would change positions. This would also cause the same person to serve the whole match, which would not be fair to the rest of the team as server is usually the most liked position on the floor.
The rotation is also key to keeping the game fair for each side, as a set rotation would mean that the strongest server could continue to serve over and over.
During a match, the net is bound to be touched by either the ball or some players on the court. There are rules concerning these actions that restrict any type of touching by the players. For example, a player is restricted from reaching over the net unless it is for a follow through or trying to block the opposing team, only after they make contact with the ball. A player is also allowed to go under the net as long as it does not interfere with the other team as they try to hit the ball.
If a player is deemed to have hit the net, either on purpose or by accident during a rally, then their team will lose that point. However, if it is decided that the net hit the player for any reason, then the player is clear of any violations and the game can continue without any penalties being accessed.
If a ball were to hit the net and go over, then it is a live ball and can be hit. During a serve, if the ball hits the net and falls to the ground on the other side of the net, the serving team receives the point. This is important because unlike in other sports, like tennis, the server does not re-serve after the ball hits the net. The game continues and the returning teams still must return the ball back over the net.
In volleyball, boundary lines are played similar to those of sports like basketball, tennis, and soccer. If the ball hits the ground on the boundary line during any match play, the ball is considered in and the point is awarded to the team that hit the ball. Unlike in basketball and football when the ball is ruled out of bounds as soon as it touches the boundary line, in volleyball the boundary lines are considered in bounds and can be used very strategically by participating teams.
Because the boundary lines are considered in, referees must have a close eye on the lines throughout the game which is why there is always one referee position at a high angle in a similar chair to that of tennis and another referee is standing behind the out of bounds line in order to get the best view.
This rule can be utilized very strategically because if they aim for the line and are accurate with their hits, balls near the line are more difficult to return and therefore lead to more points. This strategy is also dangerous as it could lead to many balls out of bounds and points against your team if the hitter is not accurate enough.
At any time during a given volleyball match, each team is only allowed a maximum of six players on the court at once. This ensures that there will be three players positioned in the back row and three players positioned in the front row. Just like any sport, there is a maximum number of players allowed to play for each team at one time during the game. The coach is allowed to sub players during the game, but depending on the level, will have a limited number of subs they can use in a set.
Each position on the court has its own corresponding name that the six players will fill during their rotation throughout the game. Penalties can be accessed to teams that have more than six players on the court at once.
During a volleyball match, the first team to reach 25 points, by at least two points in one set, wins the set. This means that if one team is up 25-23 in the first set, they would win that set. A volleyball match is usually the team to win two out of three sets in a game. If a team wins the first two sets, then the third will not be played and the winning team wins. Volleyball can also be played as the best three out of five, which is played on higher levels. If teams go 1-1 or 2-2, they will play a final tiebreaker set. The tiebreaker set will be up to 15 points while all the others will be up to 25.
The offense is the team that is serving and they can score by a defensive miss or an out of bounds hit. The defense can score from an offensive miss, an out of bounds hit, or a serve that does not make it over the net.
There are different types of hits in volleyball that are considered violations and result in the opposing team receiving the point as well as the serve. Illegal hits are any hits that the referee deems contained any sort of open palm underneath the ball, or any carrying, or throwing of the ball.
Sometimes, contacting the ball illegally seems like the easiest way to get it back over the net, however, players should always refrain from illegally hitting the ball as it puts their team at a disadvantage. Illegal hits include any hits that result in the lifting, carrying, or throwing of the ball. Lifting occurs when a player uses an open palm to strike the ball up into the air. While throwing and carrying are easier to decipher, they can and do still occur when players panic when trying to hit the ball. Illegal hits always result in your team losing a point, so unless players know that they will get away with it, they should refrain from trying to do it.
Similar to every other sport, volleyball uses a regulation court that was decided upon long ago. Regulation volleyball courts follow dimensions of 9 meters by 18 meters with an attack line that is 3 meters from the centerline. Sports regulate their playing field in order to ensure that everyone is playing on the correct court and playing the game correctly. Teams that do not play on regulation courts could have an advantage over their opponents when it comes to playing games as the home team would have more knowledge of playing on a court of different dimensions.
The lines on volleyball courts are created so precisely that each and every court will have the exact same lengths to every line. Keeping the playing fields consistent is important for the sport and necessary in order to play the game the right way.