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
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
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
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.
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 libero setting
A libero is NOT allowed to attack the ball (perform a swing above the net
- 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 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
Liberos can only receive the serve,
not serve by FIVB rules.
A substitution is not needed when placing a libero to the court.
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).
- Scoring Changes
Volleyball scoring basics
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 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 - 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.
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
- 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
(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.)
Try memorizing the following rules..
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.
Wikipedia - Rules of the game