Volleyball Rules, History, Tips & Equipment

A history of Volleyball, how to play, tips for improvement & necessary equipment

How to Play Volleyball

Volleyball, an Olympic team sport, is the second most popular sport in the world today. There are over 800 million volleyball players worldwide.

Volleyball History

In 1895, William G Morgan, a physical education director at the Holyoke, Massachusettes YMCA, created a game called Mintonette, as a low contact indoor sport. After observing the first game, Alfred Halstead, renamed the game Volleyball due to the volleying nature of the game. Numerous other variations of Volleyball have developed such as Beach Volleyball, Footvolley, Hooverball, and Newcomb. Both Men's and Women's Leagues are popular, and there are many clubs and tournaments throughout the year in the US.

Volleyball Rules

A Volleyball team is composed of between 6-8 players on a team, and a match is played between two teams with an equal number of players. A volleyball court is 60 feet long and 30 feet wide, divided into two 30 30 ft halves, by a 40-inch wide net, placed so that the top of the net is about eight feet above the center of the court. The first team to score 25 points (and be two points ahead) is awarded the set. Matches are best-of-five sets or best-of-three sets.

The goal of the game is to score points by grounding the ball on the opponent's court, or by having the other team commit a fault. A fault occurs if a team:

  1. Hits the ball out of bounds
  2. Hits the ball over three times during one series on their side of the court
  3. One player hits the ball two times in a row
  4. A player catches the ball
  5. A player touches the net while attempting to play a ball
  6. A player takes more than eight seconds to serve

Play begins by one player serving the ball over the net to the other team by throwing it up in the air and hitting it. The receiving team must not let the ball touch their court; they may touch the ball as many as three times, typically using the first two touches to set up for an attack. Players may hit the ball by:

  1. Hitting the ball with a closed fist
  2. Bumping the ball with two hands clasped together
  3. Setting the ball, making a triangle with their fingertips and hitting the ball above their heads
  4. Spiking or blocking the ball with open hands

The team that wins the point serves for the next point. If the team that won the point served the previous point, the same player serves again. If the team that won the point did not serve the previous point, the players of the serving team rotate their position on the court in a clockwise manner bringing up a new server.

Some Variations of these rules include:

  • Number of players
  • Number of points and sets needed to win
  • Number of player substitutions
  • Teams are awarded a point only if they served to begin the series
  • Server has two tries to get the ball over the net
  • Beach volleyball
  • Indoor volleyball
  • Sand volleyball
  • Pool volleyball

Volleyball Tips

Players can hone their volleyball skills by setting, bumping, and spiking a ball with a partner or against the wall. There are variety of volleyball drills that will increase skill in the game available both online and offline.

Volleyball Equipment

To play you need one volleyball, a 40 inch wide net that stretches 30 ft across the court, and two poles to hang the net.

Popular equipment makers include Asics and Tachikara.