How to Play Volleyball

Volleyball is a fun sport involving two teams of 6 players each, with two rows of 3 players on either side of the net. Once the ball is served from one side of the court to the other, the object of the game is for the teams to hit the ball back and forth over the net in a rally in such a way that the other team is unable to return the ball.

How to Score in Volleyball

In volleyball, points are generally earned when one team puts the ball over the net and the other team is unable to return the ball. For example, if the ball hits the floor within the boundary lines or goes out of bounds, a point may be earned. Points can also be earned when a player hits the ball two times consecutively or when the ball is hit more than three times on one side of the net. Other examples of when points are earned include the ball is hit into the net, a service fault or penalty occurs, or a player touches the net or crosses the centerline of the court. 


There are two different methods of scoring in a volleyball game: side-out scoring and rally scoring. In side-out scoring, only the serving team can earn a point. The receiving team must therefore win a rally to earn a serve and an opportunity to score a point. If a team loses their serve, it is called a “side-out” and neither team receives a point. Side-out scoring is usually played in a best of three match with each set going up to 15 points. However, side-out scoring has become less common and has been largely replaced by rally scoring. In rally scoring, a point is given to one of the teams after winning a rally regardless of which team served the ball. In other words, teams do not need to serve in order to win a point. 


Volleyball matches have either three or five sets, depending on the level of play, and teams must win either two of the three sets or three of the five sets in order to win the match. In a three set game, each set is usually played up to 25 points. A two-point margin is needed to declare a winner for each set. In a five set game, each of the first four sets are played up to 25 points. The fifth and final set is played to 15 points, and the winner of the final set wins the match. In some matches there may be a point cap for the final set and a winner is declared when a team achieves 17 points, even if there is less than a 2 point margin. 

How to Spike in Volleyball

When one player jumps up and forcefully hits the ball by swinging one arm overhead with an open palm, it is called a spike. There are many techniques for spiking a ball, but a common method is to first approach the ball with the foot opposite to the hand you will use to spike. In other words, step with your left foot if you are spiking with your right hand. Next, take another step with the other foot, placing it next to the first foot. Jump with both feet, bending your knees and using your entire body to gain power. Plan your jump so the shoulder of the arm you are hitting with is aligned with the ball. Swing your arm as fast as you can, hitting the ball as your arm moves downward, being sure to hit the ball at the base of your hand. It is important to hit the ball at the highest point of your jump with your arm stretched out vertically and your back slightly arched to have maximum effect. Be sure to land on both feet with your knees slightly bent to properly absorb the impact of the jump.

How to Set in Volleyball

A set in volleyball is ideally the second hit after a ball comes over the net, with the first being a pass or bump and the third being a spike. There are many techniques for setting a ball, but the key to success is to be consistent with how you set. It’s important to anticipate where the ball will be and to be well positioned under the ball for a set. Place your feet shoulder-width apart with one foot slightly forward and bend your knees slightly. Place your hands in such a way that your thumbs and index fingers form a triangle but are slightly spread apart, with your fingers in the shape of a ball. During a set, the ball should only touch your fingers, not your palms. If properly positioned the ball would be directly above you. It is important to know who your target is for the set and this is where strategy, communication and teamwork come into play. Be sure to send the ball high enough in the air so the hitter can has sufficient time to approach, jump and spike it to the other side. As soon as you contact the ball, quickly straighten your arms to follow through. Pushing up with your legs while hitting the ball will provide extra power.

How to Dig in Volleyball

Digging in volleyball is an important defensive technique that occurs when you receive an opponent’s spike. The main goal of a dig is to prevent the opponent from scoring. The first step in digging is getting ready by anticipating when a spike will occur and where it will land. Be sure to keep your weight forward, enabling you to move quickly in any direction if necessary. When getting ready to dig, get low to the ground and bend forward slightly so that your hands are a few inches in front of your knees. Once you know where the ball will land, clasp your hands together and form a platform with your arms just like you would for a pass, but with your arms pointed down towards the floor. Make sure both feet are firmly on the ground to maintain balance and avoid diving for the ball if possible to maintain control. The ball should simply bounce right off your arms, but you can control the direction the ball will go by changing the angle of your arms relative to the floor. Experienced players aim to get the ball high enough in the air so one of their teammates can return the attack. 

How To Dig In Volleyball

Photo by Aj Guel {Photo Source Here}


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