Volleyball Rules -
Recent Rules Changes in Volleyball

Read about basic volleyball rules that have been changed recently.

You'll find simple and easy to understand rules for fans and players.

The size of a volleyball team

image placeholder The size and positions of a team.

The size of the team varies in leagues, but most often team can have 12 players on the roster.

One of the players is called a libero, defensive specialist who is wearing different color shirt.

(Often in international tournaments and matches between the national teams a roster can include 14 players, 2 of them being liberos).

About the volleyball court

The court is divided to front row and back row. 3 of the players are front row players and other 3 are back row players.

Players rotation in volleyball

Volleyball rotation on the court

Players rotate on the court clockwise - every time a team wins a rally after the opponent's serve.

Players won't rotate after winning a point after own serve.

Volleyball Libero Rules

Libero is a player who plays on the back court only. Libero wears a different color shirt.

Libero wears a different color uniform on the volleyball court A libero - the player with different color jersey.

International volleyball rules allow to use two liberos - i.e. other can be a defensive specialist and the other a serve reception specialist.

A libero cannot serve as a captain, or team captain for the team.

Notice that libero rules can vary between the leagues.

Can volleyball libero attack the ball?

Volleyball rules - libero setting rules Volleyball libero setting

A libero is NOT allowed to attack the ball (perform a swing above the net level).
  • Notice that a libero is able to perform a swing, if the ball is below the net.

    (You see younger junior teams using this rule and placing the sets to the libero.)

  • One more time in other words: if the ball is completely above the net, a libero is not allowed to swing the ball over.

Volleyball setting rules for a libero

Volleyball rules - libero setting rules Volleyball libero setting

It is LEGAL, but still a libero should not finger set the ball in the front row (inside 3 meter or 10 feet hitting line) because after the set other players are NOT ALLOWED to perform an attack.

  • When a libero finger sets in the front row, it becomes a mistake if the attacking player hits the ball, which is completely above the net level.

  • In other words, if a libero commits to a front row finger set, the next player is NOT ALLOWED to attack the ball above the net.

Bump set of the libero is allowed anywhere.

Volleyball libero's substitution rules

Volleyball libero can not serve the ball in international volleyball Liberos can only receive the serve,
not serve by FIVB rules.

A substitution is not needed when placing a libero to the court.

A libero can enter and exit the court between the rallies.

When the libero exits the court, the libero needs to sit out one rally before entering in again.

A libero is not able to serve the ball according to international rules. (Notice that some leagues in United States allow the libero to serve).

Volleyball Rules - Scoring Changes

Volleyball scoring basics

Volleyball points scoring

Scoring according to international volleyball rules: each game is played until 25 points, except the fifth game which is played until 15 points.

A team wins a match when it wins three games inside the match - the final score can be 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2.

Often in smaller tournaments two winning games are required to win a match - the final score could be 2-0 or 2-1. Sometimes only two games are played in the tournament. Then match can end up a tie, 1-1.

Volleyball scoring in the set

A difference of two points is required to the winning team, which means the game cannot end 25-24, or 15-14. The game is played as long as either team has a two point lead, which ends up the game. (Notice that in United States some leagues play the games until 30 points.)

Rally scoring is in use. Point follows after each rally to the winning team. (Before the rule changes a point was given only if the serving team won the rally and the games were played until 15 points.)

Next you find explanations to few rules which are hard to judge - even for referees.

Rules of Volleyball - Ball Handling Rules

You must already know this basic rule: the player can not hit the ball twice in a row. (EXCEPTION I: block doesn't count a touch.)

According to volleyball rules a double hit is allowed on defense A double hit is allowed on the defense
or serve reception.


A double hit is actually ALLOWED in few situations.

1. It is important to notice that a double hit or even various contacts are ALLOWED on the first hit, i.e. on the defensive or serve reception play. (I.e. in serve reception when ball hits the player first to the arm and right after that to any part of the body).

2. On the overhand serve receive or defensive play double hit is also ALLOWED.

3. A double hit on the set is ILLEGAL.

  • EXCEPTION: However, referee has a right to allow a "bad" set, if the player is setting from extreme position (i.e. when a player sets the ball while diving.)

Volleyball Rules Quote

Volleyball rules - what is a double hit?

Volleyball Rules - Playing the Ball above the Net

Rules of Volleyball that often cause confusion in the matches are situations in which the players play the ball above the net and reach over to the opponent's side.

Volleyball rules - playing the ball above the net When the ball is above the plane, the ball
can be played by the both teams.

These scenarios can be confusing and are difficult to judge.

Often referees end up doing mistakes with these calls.

  • The attacking player can hit the ball when is coming over the net, when it breaks the plane of the net (when a little piece of the ball is on the attacker's side)

  • IMPORTANT! If the ball breaks the plane of the net and the opponent's setter is setting the ball, the opponent is ALLOWED to play the ball.

    The reason for this is: when the ball is on the plane, the ball is there for both teams to play.

    (So basically it is never a false for a blocker to touch the ball, if the ball is on the plane of the net.)

    • In the last scenario if the setter is a back row player and both players touch the ball at the same time, the back row setter performs an ILLEGAL back row block.

      (A quick thinking blocker could actually use this into his/her advantage - but please know that this is sometimes difficult to judge.)

Sound confusing?

Try memorizing the following rules..

Volleyball rules - playing the ball on the plane.

Volleyball blocking rules - when to reach over?

Related Pages - How to use rules to your advantage on the court?

If you are interested to read more about how to use rules to win more points for the team, check out the following page.

This page is made for the quick thinking player to score more points in the match.

Volleyball Rules Cases for the Player

Related Pages - Basic Volleyball Rules

If the last few rules sound too confusing, explore the following basic rules pages.

Volleyball Official Rules

Volleyball General Rules

Wikipedia - Rules of the game

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