History of Volleyball Rules Positions Olympics Women's National Volleyball

The game of volleyball, which has become increasingly popular over the last decade is defined as a game for two teams, usually of six players, in which a large ball is hit over a high net, the aim being to score points by making the ball reach the ground on the opponents side of the court.


William G. Morgan
William G. Morgan
Volleyball was invented at the YMCA in Springfield in 1895 by William G. Morgan. He developed the game so that business men could play a sport with less physical contact than basketball. Volleyball was intended to be a mix of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball. The game was originally played one on one, and had 9 innings of play. An inning was when each player gets to serve from their side one time. The Net was originally 6 feet 6 inches tall.


The Basic Rules

  1. Server must serve from behind the end line.
  2. Ball may be served underhand or overhand.
  3. Ball must be clearly visible to opponents before serve.
  4. First game serve is determined by a coin toss.
  5. Serve must be returned by a pass, no attacking the serve
  1. Rally scoring will be used.
  2. There will be a point scored on every score of the ball.
  3. Offense will score on a defense miss or out of bounds hit.
  4. Defense will score on an offensive miss, out of bounds hit, or serve into the net.
  5. Game will be played to 25 pts.
  6. Must win by 2 points.

Team will rotate each time they win the serve.

Players rotate in a clockwise manner.

There should be 4-6 players on each side.

Example of girl playing volleyball

Maximum of three hits per side.

Player may not hit the ball twice in succession ( A block is not considered a hit ).

Ball may be played off the net during a volley and on serve.

A ball touching a boundary line is good.

If two or more players contact the ball simultaneously, it is considered one play and the players involved may not participate in the next play.

A player must not block or attack a serve.

Switching positions will be allowed only after a serve

Stepping on or over the line on a serve.

Failure to serve the ball over the net successfully.

Hitting the ball illegally ( Carrying, Palming, Throwing, etc. ).

Touches of the net with any part of the body while the ball is in play. If the ball is driven into the net with such force that it causes the net to contact an opposing player, no foul will be called, and the ball shall continue to be in play.

Reaching over the net, except under these conditions:

1 - When executing a follow-through.

2 - When blocking a ball which is in the opponents court but is being returned ( the blocker must not contact the ball until after the opponent who is attempting to return the ball makes contact). Except to block the third play.

 Failure to serve in the correct order.

Court Dimensions:
Both indoor and outdoor courts are 18 m x 9mi (29'6" x 59').

Indoor courts also include an attack area designated by
a line 3 m (9'10") back from the center line.

Lines on the court are 5cm (2" wide).

Net height for men, co-ed mixed 6, & outdoor is 2.43 meters or 7'11-5/8".
Net height for women, 7'4-1/8".

The height of the net shall be 8'.

The ball weighs between 9 and 10 ounces. Ball pressure is between 4.5 and 6.0 pounds
Diagram of Court Dimensions

The rules for volleyball are very specific.

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Diagram of Volleyball Positions
Volleyball positions determine what your role is out on the court during a game. Each player has a specific job to do and each position works with the teammates to make the best play possible. Below find the role of each position defined, a list of things you should do if you're playing that position and a list of attributes you need in each spot.

Outside Hitter: Teams outside hitters are usually the primary attackers on the team. These hitters attack balls that are set to the left side of the court. Outside hitters may also be referred to as outside blockers.

Middle Blocker: A good middle can read the opponent's setter like a book and is quick enough to get from one end of the court to the other to block the ball. The middle also hits quick sets and keeps the other team's defense off balance. Learn the ins and outs of being a great middle blocker and a major key to your team's defense.

Opposite: The opposite plays opposite the setter on the right front and hits sets behind and in front of the setter. The opposite is responsible for blocking the opponent's outside hitter, which means the person who plays opposite needs to be a solid blocker as well as a good hitter. The opposite is also needed to pass and set, so should have great ball handling skills.

Setter: The setter is the player on the volleyball team that sets the teams attackers. A setter position is similar to a quarterback in football or a point guard in basketball in the sense that the setter runs the teams offense. Some teams may choose to have multiple setters run the team offense.

Libero: The libero plays in the back row and has impeccable ball control. The libero needs to be a great passer and an even better digger. They are all over the court to keep the ball in the air for their team to create scoring chances.

With the different positions, rotation can be tricky.

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Indoor: The first Olympic indoor volleyball games were played in 1964 in Tokyo. The Japanese women won the first gold medal in 1964. For the first four Olympic Games after its inception, women's indoor volleyball saw final competitions between Japan and the Soviet Union. The United States won its first medal, the silver, in 1984. Brazil holds the most recent indoor gold medal, earned at the 2008 games. Beach volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1996, with the Brazilian team winning the gold medal. The United States women's team won the gold medal in 2004 and 2008.

Womans Olympic Team

Beach: The two-person team beach volleyball game was first observed in the 1930s. Often conducted as impromptu games on the beach, the California Beach Volleyball Association, founded in 1965, finally standardized the rules of beach volleyball. Though women's first inclusion in beach volleyball was through beauty contests that accompanied men's games in the 1950's, formal women's world championships in beach volleyball were finally played in 1993. Beach volleyball is an official sport in the Olympics.

Womans USA Beach Team


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Women's Professional Volleyball

Florida Wave Professional Team Photo

The governing body of women's volleyball in the United States was founded in 1928, and is now known as USA Volleyball. Internationally, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) oversees world championship rules and competitions in indoor and beach volleyball. The American Volleyball Professionals (AVP) was formed in 1983 and currently hosts beach volleyball tournaments throughout the United States.

The first women's indoor volleyball national championships were held in the United States in 1949 and the first international championships in 1952. The NCAA held the first collegiate women's championships in 1981, won by the University of Southern California. In 1975, the first year-round training facility was developed for women's volleyball in Pasadena, Texas, two years before the first men's facility was started. As of 1997, the United States Women's Indoor Volleyball team has a year-round practice facility in Colorado Springs.

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This page was created by Kristina Naff and was last updated on April 23, 2012