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Basics of Volleyball

Updated on September 14, 2015


Volleyball refers to an indoor sports game in which two teams are separated from each other with a net. Each team must try to get points/score by grounding the ball in the opponent’s court. Each team on the opposite side is allowed to touch the ball for a maximum of three times before passing it on to the opponent’s side. The rules governing the game also allows for the opponents to block the other side’s spike as it crosses the net. Often, in the volley court, there are usually six players. If a team wins the serve, all six players of the team must rotate once clockwise, so that the new person who serves goes from the right front to the right back of the court. It is usually only three players at the net who can jump, block, or spike the ball. However, the beach volleyball usually have some relatively different rules regarding the play. For example, sometimes the play time may be extended or shortened for different purposes.


In volley ball, a service begins each “rally”. A player must always hit the ball with his/her hands past the net to land within the court of the opponent (on the ground). While serving, the player is either expected to serve using the under arm or either the overarm. Each player in the team only gets one chance to serve. While serving, it is permissible for the ball to touch the net while crossing to the other side. Before the rule was revised, a net serve immediately ended the rally and the point was awarded to the opponents or rather the receiving team. According to the rules, when the serving team loses its points it also loses the opportunity to serve the ball. Consequently, the receiving end rotates its player’s position clockwise after winning back service.


The objective of blocking, in this sport is to stopping the ball from crossing the net or rather to channel the ball back to the defenders. Blocking is usually done by three of the team members who are positioned strategically at the court (near the net area). They are also referred to as the first line of defense. Often, a team will sometimes opt for a “read and react” block, where they try to react to the ball from the setter’s hand. The players may also settle for a commit block, where they decide to go for the middle balls. Otherwise, the best blocking is the penetration technique where the best blockers reach for the ball to counter it into the opponent’s court.

The Libero

The Libero refers to a certain defensive player in the game. He/she can only perform as a backcourt player. He/she is not supposed to attack when the ball above the net height. The Libero is also not allowed to block or serve. If a libero makes an overhand set, he/she must be standing behind the 3-meter line; otherwise, the ball cannot be attacked in front of the 3-meter line above the net. There may only be one libero per game. The Libero must always appear different from the rest of the players. Therefore, it is a common phenomenon to find this player with a different colored jersey from the rest.


It is normally a rule that after winning back service from the opponent, each of the six team members rotate. This is usually a counter-tactic against dominance. It is meant to balance between the best defenders and the attackers. It is usually required that a team should always be in the correct position before the ball is served over.


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