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A point or rally is started when one team serves the ball. The player serving the ball must stand behind the end line or restraining line at the back of the court until after they have contacted the volleyball. To serve a player hits the ball with their hand over the net and into the opposing team's side. If the ball doesn't go over the net or hits the ground, the point is over. The opposing team must now return the ball without letting it hit the ground. They can hit the ball up to three times. No single player can hit the ball twice in a row (blocks don't count). Typically a team will try to set up an attack. They use the first two hits to set the ball for a spike or hard hit over the net. The two teams continue hitting the ball back and forth until the point ends. A point can end by one team hitting a winning shot that hits the ground within the opponent's court or by one team causing a fault and losing the point.
Which volleyball team serves the ball is determined by the previous point. Whoever won the previous point, gets to serve next. At the start of a match, the first serve is determined by a volley.
Although players play certain roles on a volleyball team, they all must play all positions. There are three players on the front line and three in the back. Each time a team gains the serve they must rotate. The entire team rotates in a clockwise manner with one player moving to the front line and another player moving to the back line. This way each player plays each spot.
Scoring in volleyball is pretty simple, but it also has changed over time. Most matches are divided up into sets. A typical match may be a best of 5 sets where the first team to win 5 sets wins the match. In each set, the first team to 25 points wins as long as they are 2 points ahead. A point is scored on every rally, regardless of which team serves.
It used to be that only the volleyball team serving could score a point on a won rally. Also, sets were typically played to 15 points. This was changed in 1999.
There are several ways to fault and lose the point. Here are some examples:
Hitting the volleyball illegally - you must strike the ball in a manner such that you don't hold the ball or palm, carry, or throw it.
Stepping over or on the line while serving
Not hitting the ball over the net
Touching the net
Reaching under the net and interfering with a player or the ball
Not serving in the correct order
Hitting the volleyball out of bounds
Double hitting - when the same player hits the ball twice in a row
Hitting the ball more than 3 timesIn volleyball there are 6 players on each side. Three of the players are positioned on the front court and three on the back court. Players have to rotate clockwise whenever their team wins serve so their positions on the court will change. However, their positions on the team may remain somewhat the same with a certain players always being responsible for setting, digging, or attacking. Typically players in the front row will be attackers and blockers, while players in the back row will be passers, diggers, and setters. However, these roles are not set in stone and different teams may employ different volleyball strategies.
Here is a list of typical volleyball positions and the roles they play on the team:
The setter's main job is to put the ball in the perfect place for the attackers. Typically they will take a pass from another player and take the second touch. They will try to put the ball softly in the air at just the right height for an attacker to spike the ball into the opponent's court. The setter also runs the offense. They have to be quick both physically (to get to the ball) and also mentally (to decide where and who to set the ball to). The volleyball position setter is much like the point guard in basketball.
This volleyball position is both the main blocker and the attacker for the middle of the net. Top level teams will often have 2 players playing this position on the court at the same time.
The outside hitter is focused on the left side of the court and is generally the main attacking position. They tend to get most of the sets and most of the attacking shots in the game.
The weekside hitter is positioned on the right side of the court. This is the backup attacker. Their primary job is blocking against the other team's outside hitter.
The volleyball position responsible for defense is the liberos. This player will generally receive the serve or dig the attack. There are unique rules for this position as well. They wear a different color jersey from the rest of the team and they can substitute for any player on the court generally replacing a player on the back row.
Volleyball Position Skills
The hitters, attackers, and blockers are generally tall players that can jump high. They need to be able to jump above the net for spikes and blocks. Setters and liberos players need to be quick and able to pass and set the ball with a lot of control.