The Top 10 Rules Of Indoor Volleyball

The Top 10 Rules Of Indoor Volleyball

Indoor volleyball features a unique set of rules that allow the game to be played fairly and keep games competitive. Players need to master the rules of the sport in order to give their team the best chance of winning, and ensure mistakes don't cost their team a game. Read on to learn about the top ten rules of indoor volleyball.

What are the most important rules of volleyball?

  • Maximum Number of Hits
  • Serving Rules
  • Double Touch Rules
  • Team Rotation Rules
  • Net Contact Rules
  • Boundary Lines
  • Player Number Rules
  • Scoring Rules
  • Illegal Hits
  • Regulation Court Rules

1. Maximum Number of Hits

volleyball maximum number of hits

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 to speed up the game and ensure that one team is not taking an absurd number of hits to get the ball over 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 and makes sure that a team is not simply wasting time by hitting the ball back and forth with their teammates.

Coaches usually teach their team to 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 spike. If a team cannot successfully perform these hits, players usually just send a free ball over the net on the third possible hit. A block on an opposing spike does not count towards the three touches.

2. Serving Rules

Volleyball Serving

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 service 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 or landing out of bounds. If the server is unable to get the ball over the net and inbounds 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.

3. Double Touch Rules

Volleyball Consecutive Contacts Double Hit Fault

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. Additionally, if a player were able to hit the ball multiple times in a row, the team aspect of the game would become less important as there would be players hitting the balls up to themselves and trying to take over a match alone. 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. If a player blocks the opposing team's spike, they are allowed to hit the ball again since it does not count as a hit.

4. Team Rotation Rules

Volleyball Rotation Rule

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.

The rotation is also key to keeping the game fair for each side, as a set position would mean that the strongest server could continue to serve over and over.

5. Net Contact Rules

Volleyball Net Contact

During a match, the net is bound to be touched by either the ball or players on the court at some point. There are rules concerning these actions that restrict any type of touching the net 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 team is still tasked with returning the ball back over the net.

6. Boundary Lines

Volleyball Boundary Lines

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 strategically.

Since the boundary lines are considered in-bounds, referees must have a close eye on the lines throughout the game. This is why there is always one referee positioned at a high angle in a chair similar to tennis, and another referee standing behind the out of bounds line in order to get the best view.

This rule can be utilized very strategically because if a player aims for the line and is accurate with their hits, balls near the line are more difficult to return and therefore lead to more points. This strategy presents a high risk, and it could lead to many balls landing out of bounds and points against your team if the hitter is not accurate enough.

7. Player Number Rules

Volleyball Player Number Rules

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. 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 assessed to teams that have more than six players on the court at once.

8. Scoring Rules

Volleyball Scoring

During a volleyball match, the first team to reach 25 points with a lead of 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. The winner of 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 leading team wins. Volleyball can also be played with a best three out of five structure, which is typically seen at higher levels. If teams go 1-1 or 2-2, they will play a final tiebreaker set. The tiebreaker set will be played 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 a hit that goes out of bounds. The defense can score from an offensive miss, an out of bounds hit, or a serve that does not make it over the net.

9. Illegal Hits

Volleyball Illegal Hits Referee Signal

There are different types of hits in volleyball that are considered violations and result in the opposing team receiving the point and serve. Players should always refrain from illegally hitting the ball, as it puts their team at a disadvantage. Illegal hits are any hits that the referee deems contained any sort of open palm underneath the ball, any carrying the ball, or any throwing of the ball. Lifting occurs when a player uses an open palm to strike the ball up into the air. While throwing or carrying the ball is easier to avoid, these violations can still occur when players panic while 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 committing these violations at all costs.

10. Regulation Court Rules

Volleyball Court Dimensions

Similar to other sports, 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 same sized court and playing the game correctly. Teams that do not play on regulation courts could have an advantage over their opponents as the home team would have more knowledge of playing on a court with 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 ensure fairness of play.


What is indoor volleyball?

Indoor volleyball is a popular sport played between two teams, created by William G. Morgan in the late 19th century shortly after the creation of basketball. The sport is popular throughout high schools with countless high school athletic programs featuring a girls team, but many high schools also have a boys volleyball team as well. The teams must hit a ball back and forth over a net, until a point is awarded to one of the teams. In order to score, one team must get the ball over the net and have it hit the ground on their opponent's side of the net. Team's can also score when their opponent fails to return the ball back over the net, or fail to serve the ball in bounds and over the net. After each point is scored, the ball must be served in order to start another point.

What are the dimensions of a regulation volleyball?

A regulation volleyball, used in professional or Olympic matches, are 25.5-26.5 inches (65-67 centimeters) in circumference. The regulation weight is 9.2-9.9 ounces (260-280 grams). All regulation volleyballs must also adhere to a specific range of ball pressure, which is anywhere from 4.3-4.6 psi (pounds per square inch).

Are you allowed to kick the ball in volleyball?

While it may surprise you, kicking the ball in volleyball is actually completely legal. This is not a very common tactic, given that controlling the direction of a kick can prove far more difficult than the direction of a bump, set, or spike, but it has certainly been done before. In regard to kicking in volleyball, the main purpose would be to scoop a ball dangerously close to hitting the ground. This would likely be something of a last resort, in a circumstance in which you have no chance of diving to get your hands under the ball. That being said, you are not allowed to kick as a serve and some lower-level leagues may have more strict rules regarding kicking the ball for the sake of player safety.