Let's begin by looking at the court. Above is a picture of the volleyball court. We will walk you through every piece of it step by step.
Please note that volleyball is played both indoors and outdoors. There are often different dimensions and rules that apply to beach and outdoor volleyball.
First, we'll learn about the different lines you see on a volleyball court:
Next, we'll learn about the dimensions and major components you may find on a volleyball court. There are six types of elements you'll learn about:
Volleyball courts have several lines on them that dictate the play of the game and are enforced by certain rules. Read below to learn all about these lines.
The attack line, or ten-foot line, in volleyball sits ten feet from the net on either side of the court. It is 29 feet and 6 inches across. This is the line that divides the front court from the back court. Players in the back court have to be careful of where this line is, because they must hit from behind it on jumping attacks. The attack line also acts as a substitution line, as normal players must sub in and out in front of it, and the libero must enter and leave the court behind it.
The sidelines on a volleyball court signal where a ball is in or out. Sidelines are 59 feet long, so each team has 29.5 feet of depth on their side. These lines run under the net, so there is a space between the net poles and the sides of the court. The poles themselves are 36 feet across. If a ball lands entirely outside of these lines, it will be called out. However, if any part of the ball touches the line, it is in. Line judges watch these sidelines, as well as the baselines, to determine if a ball is in or out.
Baselines are lines at the back of the court on either side. Similar to the attack line, baselines are 29 feet and 6 inches across. It is behind this line that servers will serve the ball. Line judges watch this line to determine if a ball is in or out, and to look for foot faults. If the server steps on the baseline while serving, they will have commited a foot fault and will lose the point. Servers can jump during their serves and land over the line, only after the ball has been hit.
The center line lies directly underneath the net on a volleyball court. This is a line to divide the two sides of the court. This line is also 29 feet and 6 inches across. If a player steps over this line, they will be called for a center line violation and lose the point. This like exists to ensure the safety of both teams on the court so that they do not interfere with each other, intentionally or accidentally.
The net acts as the physical divider of the court. A lot of action happens here, blocking, and attacking. In men's volleyball, the net is just short of 8 feet, and the women's net is 7 feet and 4 inches.
The antennae stand at either side of the net, holding it up. It also marks what is in-bounds and out-of-bounds. If a ball hits the antenna or crosses the net outside of it, it will be called out of bounds.
On either side of the ten foot (or attack line) line are the frontcourt and backcourt. These are not the same size; the backcourt is much bigger than the front. Front and back row players stand in their respective courts.
Please note that there are technically two front and backcourts, one on either side of the net. Each team gets their own.
The service area is the space behind the baseline where servers will start play from. Depending on the court, the space in the service area will differ, but there will always be hash marks to label the sides of the area. Players must serve from inside those hash marks. The hash marks are 29 feet and 6 inches apart, the same length as the baseline itself.
This is the area outside of the court's boundaries. Players come here during timeouts.
Before substituting into the game for another player during gameplay, a player must wait off the court in the substitution zone in front of the scorer's table.
Before the libero player enters the game during gameplay, they must wait in the libero replacement zone in front of the team bench.
We've broken down the frontcourt and backcourt, but you may hear these areas be called front row and back row, because volleyball is played with three (3) players lined up in each court. You'll hear players referred to as front row and back row players.
You may also hear about center-right and center-left. Players in the front row and back rows can be in the center, right, or left of the row. For example, you may hear that a player is in the right back or center front location.
There is a specific location where coaches are allowed to be during a game. They must remain behind the attack line on their sideline, and cannot step onto the court during the game. If the coach steps over the ten foot line and is causing issues, the referees can penalize them with a yellow card as a warning.
The volleyball court is split into six zones called the serving zones, three in the frontcourt, and three in the backcourt. There is one zone per player on the court. From left to right, zones four, three and two are in the frontcourt. From left to right, zones five, six and one are in the backcourt. These zones are here to help coaches communicate with their players where to hit. During games, you may see a coach signal to the server with their fingers a number to tell them where to serve.