A Beginner's Guide on How to Play Volleyball

women playing volleyball inside court

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Objective of the Game

The objective of volleyball is to score points by successfully hitting the ball over the net and into the opponent's court while preventing the opponent from doing the same. Each team has three hits to return the ball, and the rally continues until the ball hits the ground or goes out of bounds.


To play volleyball, you'll need the following equipment:

  • Volleyball: Use a regulation-size volleyball with a proper inflation level. Indoor volleyballs are typically made of leather or synthetic leather, while beach volleyballs are made of a softer material for outdoor play.

  • Net and Court: Set up a volleyball net at the appropriate height for your skill level. Indoor nets are typically set at a height of 7 feet 11 5/8 inches (2.43 meters) for men and 7 feet 4 1/8 inches (2.24 meters) for women. The court dimensions are 29 feet 6 inches (9 meters) wide and 59 feet (18 meters) long for indoor play.


Volleyball teams consist of six players, each with specific positions:

  • Setter: The setter is responsible for setting up the ball for attacking plays.

  • Outside Hitter: Also known as the left-side hitter, the outside hitter attacks from the left side of the court.

  • Opposite Hitter: The opposite hitter, or right-side hitter, attacks from the right side of the court.

  • Middle Blocker: The middle blocker plays near the net and is responsible for blocking and quick attacks.

  • Libero: The libero is a defensive specialist who often wears a different-colored jersey. They focus on passing, digging, and defense.

Basic Skills

To play volleyball effectively, you'll need to master the following basic skills:

  • Serve: Start the rally by serving the ball over the net. There are different types of serves, including the underhand serve, overhand float serve, and topspin serve.

  • Pass: Use forearm passing, also known as bumping, to receive the opponent's serve or to pass the ball to a teammate. Keep your wrists firm and create a platform with your forearms to direct the ball accurately.

  • Set: Setters use overhead setting to deliver the ball to their teammates for attacking plays. Use your fingertips to contact the ball and guide it to the desired location.

  • Attack: Hitters aim to spike the ball over the net and into the opponent's court. Jump, approach the ball, and use a forceful downward swing of your arm to hit the ball with power and accuracy.

  • Block: Blockers jump at the net with their arms raised to stop the opponent's attack. Work on timing, footwork, and reaching over the net to block effectively.

  • Dig: When the opponent's attack is difficult to block, defenders use digging to keep the ball in play. Get low, use your forearms, and absorb the impact of the ball.

Rules and Scoring

Understanding the basic rules and scoring system is crucial:

  • Rotation: Players rotate positions clockwise after winning a rally and gaining the right to serve.

  • Scoring: In traditional scoring, a point is awarded to the serving team for winning a rally, and the first team to reach 25 points (with a two-point advantage) wins the set. In rally scoring, a point is awarded for every rally, and the first team to reach a specified number of points (often 25 or 15) wins the set.

Strategy and Teamwork

To excel in volleyball, consider the following strategic elements:

  • Communication: Effective communication is essential to coordinate plays, call out shots, and ensure everyone is on the same page.

  • Positioning: Players need to understand their roles, move into position, and be ready to react to the opponent's plays.

  • Reading the Game: Anticipate the opponent's moves, watch for cues, and adjust your positioning and tactics accordingly.

  • Serve Receive Patterns: Develop specific patterns for serve receive to ensure efficient ball distribution and to create favorable attacking opportunities.

  • Set Plays: Coordinate set plays to confuse the opponent's defense and create scoring chances.

Practice and Improvement

To enhance your volleyball skills, consider the following tips:

  • Regular Practice: Dedicate regular practice sessions to work on your fundamental skills, including serving, passing, setting, attacking, blocking, and digging.

  • Play with Others: Participate in organized games, join a local league, or play recreational matches to gain experience and improve your game sense.

  • Seek Coaching: Consider taking lessons from a qualified volleyball coach who can provide technical guidance, help you refine your skills, and offer valuable feedback.