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Volleyball – Complete Information You Don’t Want to Miss


History of Volleyball

volleyball game in black & white image
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Volleyball is the present name. Do you know the original name of the game?

The name was ‘Minotonette’.

William G.Morgan, a physical education director invented the game.

It was the year 1895 and Morgan worked in YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts, United States.

During the period, he wanted to create a game that is indoors and less rough than basketball. Then, basketball was famous, and it was becoming a popular game.

As per his plans, the game was for the older members of the YMCA, and so it should not be rough, should not need physical contacts and at the same time should need a physical effort.

In his attempt, he started to borrow ideas from basketball, tennis, baseball, and handball and created the new game.

Firstly, the rules were different, and he proposed any number of players to play the game. Comparatively, it was the major difference from today’s game.

Then, Morgan designed the game to use the net 1.98 m high in the court of dimension 7.6 m × 15.2 m.

As per his design, a match comprised nine innings with three serves for each team in an inning. However, there was no limit to the number of contacts with the ball before sending the ball to the opponents’ court.

Finally, In 1896, the game was first played as an exhibition match at YMCA Springfield, Massachusetts.

During the match, Professor Alfred Halstead, who was an observer, saw the ‘volleying’ nature of the game and suggested the name, ‘Volley Ball.’

In 1896, Spalding, an American company, created the first official ball. However, some sources differed and claimed that the creation of the ball happened in 1900.

Then the rules began to evolve. In 1916, in the Philippines, the ser and spike came into practice. It’s the passing of the ball high to help another player to hit it. Subsequently, in 1920, ‘three hits’ rule, and the rule which banned hitting from the back row came into force.

In 1917, the rule which reduced the winning points to 15 from 21 came into force.

From 1947, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), an international governing body, look after the affairs of the game.

The first World Championship for men happened in 1949 and for women in 1952.

The game is now popular in Europe, Brazil, Russia, the U.S. and some countries in Asia.

In 1987, FIVB endorsed the variation of the game. In the game, two players participated and played the game in the beach sand. Moreover, in 1996, the Olympic committee recognized this variation, and the sport became a part of the summer Olympics.

Basic Rules to Play Volleyball

There are six players in a team, 3 on the front row and 3 on the back row.

A maximum of three hits per side is the limitation.

A player can’t hit the ball twice successively, and a block doesn’t include in hits.

It is legal to play the ball which is off the net during a volley and on a serve.

A ball that hits the boundary line is ‘in’.

A ball is out of bounds or ‘out’ if the ball hits

The antenna
The net, cables, or ropes outside the antennas
The floor outside the playing area
The ceiling above a nonplaying area
The referee platform or pole
A wall or an object mounted on a wall
A non-playing player who doesn’t interfere with the play
An object which hangs from a ceiling and is below 15 ft.
– The referee decides the playability of the ball.

Contacting the ball with any of the body parts is legal

Catching, holding or throwing the ball is illegal

Attacking or blocking a serve is illegal, from or on the area of the 10-foot line

The front line players switch the positions at the net after the serve

Volleyball Court Dimensions

volleyball court dimensions

The standard volleyball court measures 18 meters by 9 meters. It’s 60ft by 30ft. The hight of the indoor court i.e. the area above the court should be at least 7 meters high. It’s 23 ft.

Boundary Lines

The end lines and the sidelines together form the rectangular boundary of the volleyball court. Among the lines, the lines at the short side of the court are the end lines. Similarly, the boundary lines at the long side of the court are the sidelines. Usually, the color of the lines contrasts the color of the court to aid clear visibility. The volleyball rules prescribe that the lines should be five centimeters in width.

The Center Line

The line which is exactly underneath the net is the centerline. It divides the court into two halves of 30 ft each. In the mid of the court, the centerline extends from one sideline to the other sideline.

Attack Lines

Attack lines also run from sideline to sideline at either side of the centerline. These lines are at a distance of 3 meters from the centerline.

Serving Area

The area from which the server serves the ball is the service area, and this area is behind the end line. Both sides of the court have a service area, and the area is 30 ft in width. The depth of the area should be six feet. However, if the area available is not adequate, the rules allow the extension of the service area into the court.

Substitution Zone

The area between the attack line and the scorer’s table is the substitution zone where substitution of the players takes place.

Volleyball Equipment


volleyball net

We usually tie the net above the centerline of the court to the posts at either side of the court. And the net measures 1 meter long and 9.5 meters to 10 meters wide. The posts are at a distance of one meter from the sidelines. For men, the center of the net should lie 2.43 meters above the ground, and it’s 2.24 meters for women. The net is at a higher level of 2cm at the sides.


On the net, there is a tape which marks the width of the court. On the marking, there will be a flexible antenna of about one meter which extends from the tape marker. The antennas on both sides of the net help the referee in decision making. It mainly helps him/her when the ball goes outside the court.


ball used in volleyball game
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Volleyball is spherical in shape and measures about 65-67 cm in circumference. The ball which is of leather or synthetic material weighs 260 – 280g. However, the balls are available in various colors. In international matches, the balls should conform to the standards of the governing body, FIVB.

Knee Pads

kneepads used in volleyball

Indoor volleyball strains the knees much. In addition, most of the indoor courts are wooden courts, which make the knee protection a must. Players at the beginner level use small, flat knee pads but the defensive players prefer bubble style knee pad. These pads have foam which acts as shock absorbers and prevent injuries.

Referee Stand

The referee should be able to observe the game without interference. And so, the rules recommend a stable platform which helps the referee to raise his head. The referee’s head should be at a level 2 to 3 feet above the net. The size of the platform is 18 inches long and 12 inches wide.

Score Sheet

As per the rules, a score sheet should be in use in a competitive volleyball match. The score sheet provides many details and has the space for filling it. It notes lineups, individual scoring, team scoring, and timeouts. There is also space for the comments section, which is for noting down penalties, misconduct, etc.

Training Tools

Though passion and practice make a player perfect, training tools help in a way to do things correctly. The “Volleyball Pass Rite System” is a simple tool that helps in preventing the overswinging while bumping the ball. Spike trainers are also available which are useful in approaching and improving the spike.

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How to Play Volleyball

Basic Volleyball Stance

Other than the player who serves the ball, all of the players normally take the basic volleyball stance. In this stance, the players keep the feet slightly wider than the shoulders, the weight in a slightly forward position on their toes and knees in a bent position. However, the arms should be free and in front of the players.

Practice to serve in volleyball

While serving, you get the ball over the net and into the playing area of the opponent. With this, you start the rally, and if you score in the service, it is known as ‘ace.

There are two types of services in volleyball. The seniors and the experienced players use overarm serve. In the overarm serve, they toss the ball up and hit it with the outside of the hand. Before hitting, they bend and stretch the elbow to get more power.

In underarm serving, the players hold the ball with both hands and then hit it from the waist level. While hitting, the players use the fist with closed fingers.

Bump the ball

Volleyball players face the serve with ‘Bump,’ and it is the first in three-move play. The player who ‘bump’ the ball passes it to the setter of the team.

To get the bump, you have to close your fingers and make a fist in your left hand. Then cover it with your right-hand fingers while both thumbnails should be together and face upwards.

To get it right, your flat side of the forearms must be together and face upwards. Moreover, the locking of your elbows and keeping your arms at a slightly downward angle would give the appropriate position to bump the ball.

You have to move to face the ball, and your feet should be at your shoulder length. At the instance you hit the ball, the ball being at your waist level is better to get the bump right. Moreover, you should allow the ball to hit your forearms at about 2 to 6” above your wrists.

Practice setting in volleyball

In volleyball, players don’t set the ball on the return of the serve. Actually, during the play, you’ll set the ball so that another player can able to bump it or spike it.

In setting, you have to keep your feet at shoulder width with a slight bending of your legs. And your hands should be in the air in an upward position.

You have to hit the ball with your fingertips when it reaches your eye level. However, hitting the ball with palm is not allowed, and doing so will be called out ‘lifting.’

Spike the ball

In volleyball, spike is an offensive shot and is also known as “attack.”

While playing this shot, you have to keep your dominant hand in a curved position and your elbow in a bent position.

You should jump up and reach a maximum height to strike the ball with full power. You have to strike the ball to make it pass over the net but at a downward angle. It should be difficult for the opponent to pick your shot.

Practice Blocking in volleyball

The players at the front row who face the net do the blocking. There are two types of blocking.

While playing offensive blocking, you don’t just block the ball but send the ball back to the opponent’s side. Your timing and blocking should be right in predicting the direction of the ball, and the return should hit the opponent’s ground.

In defensive blocking, you block the ball and reduce the power of it. Then, you direct the ball to one of your teammates to hit back to the opponent’s side. The blocking doesn’t add to the counting of the maximum allowed three touches before returning the ball.

Practice to Dig in volleyball

You have to dive to get the quick returning ball towards the ground. Players diving with the extended hands while the chest touches the ground is “dig” in volleyball terms.

The volleyball players doing dig is a good sight to watch, but the players are prone to injuries when they don’t get the shot right. Experienced players apply the rolling technique to avoid injuries.

Place Setters

The setting helps the offensive attacks of the team. Moreover, the players who act as setters should have the definite skill and should act in coordination with the attackers of the team. They should be able to place the ball at the right positions which helps the attackers to strike it hard.

The setters should move fast and should be very easy at moving. Moreover, they should be accurate in placing the ball. If the ‘set’ is not right, it will affect the progress of the team.

The setters can hit and attack the ball when they are in the front row. However, they have restrictions when they are in the back row, and they don’t attack any ball that is above the net.

Make use of a ‘Libero’

Using a ‘libero’ is a strategy that teams want to employ as a winning strategy. Getting a libero ‘in,’ not comes under substitution. A libero is skillful in playing defense and should have quick reflexes. The player receives the attack and serve and replaces the middle blocker or center. The player is free to get in and out but can’t play in the front row.

Place right hitters

There will be middle, opposite and outside hitters in the team.

Middle hitters should have the capability to play both offense and defense of the game. The players have to perform fast attacks and also blocking.

Opposite hitters must be a good blocker as they have to block the opponent’s strong hitter.

Outside hitters should be able to hit consistently well as they receive all of the opponents’ serves.

Substitution in volleyball

International rules allow six substitutions, and you can substitute a defense player or a hitter as your team needs. You can get in substitution when you feel some position is weak and when the opponent gets the upper hand. Some Volleyball leagues allow unlimited substitutions.

Try Different Formations

Placing the players in the court doesn’t follow a fixed pattern. With the six players per side, a team can follow 4-2, 6-2, or 5-1 formation. Here the numbers 4, 6, and 5 represent the hitters at the front row. The other players are setters. In the 6-2 formation, all players play as hitters.

Choose the Team

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As per the norm, each team consists of six players. Even if you prefer to play with your friends, having six players per side is the right option. The team should be in two rows. While the front row is near the net, the back row will be near the end line.

The player in the back right corner will start the service. Then The players rotate the position so that everyone gets the ball to serve.

Decide the Starting Team

Among the two teams, by tossing a coin or by an agreement you can decide the team which starts to serve first in the game.

Serve from Behind the Line

You should serve by standing behind the end line. Standing on it or serving from inside the court is foot fault. For the service to be right, the ball has to land in the opponent’s court, but it can touch the net. The ball landing on the line is not a fault. The players on your side will be in clockwise rotation, facing the net to get the chance to serve.

Return the Ball

If you are on the receiving side, you have to return the ball. In trying to return, you can hit the ball three times within your team. However, the landing of the ball matters in volleyball. You can cross the lines to pick the ball. If a player from your side hits the ball to out of bounds, you can run and retrieve the ball. But the ball should not have touched the ground.

Grounding the ball, scoring, and faults

If the ball lands on the serving side, the opponent gets the chance to serve the ball

On the other hand, if the ball hits the ground on the receiving side, the serving team gets the chance to serve again.

The team which doesn’t allow the ball to hit the ground gets the point.

If the ball goes out of bounds, the team which hit the ball loses the point.

No player should touch the net. Doing so gets the point to the opposite side.

If the foot of any player goes under the net, the opposite team gets the point.

A player consequently hitting the ball twice is a fault. But, during blocking, it’s not a fault.

A team hitting the ball more than three times will lose the serve. And also, catching the ball while receiving and returning the ball under the net give points to the opponent team.

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Winning the game

In playing with your friends, you can decide the points for a game. For example, a game can have 15 points, and you’ll start a new game when a team reaches 15 points.

But regulation games consist of 25 points, and in the set of three games, the third game is played for 15 points. And each team changes side at the start of the new game. Furthermore, winning the game needs two points lead. For this reason, close games can take much time to end.

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