Volleyball is a sport that requires a combination of skills, such as hitting, passing, setting, blocking, and serving. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, you can always improve your game by following some tips and advice from experts and coaches. In this article, we will teach you how to play volleyball, from the basic rules and equipment to the advanced techniques and tactics.
What is Volleyball?
Volleyball is a team sport that is played by two teams of six players each on a court that is divided into two halves by a net. The objective of the game is to score points by sending the ball over the net to the opponent’s court, with the goal of making the ball touch the ground or forcing the opponent to make a mistake. Volleyball can be played indoors or outdoors, on various surfaces such as grass, sand, or hard court. Volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan, an American physical education instructor who wanted to create a game that was less violent and more accessible than basketball[^1^]. Volleyball is now played by millions of people around the world, and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee[^2^].
What You Need to Play Volleyball
To play volleyball, you need the following equipment:
- A ball: This is a spherical object that is made of leather or synthetic material and has a circumference of 25.5 to 26.5 inches (65 to 67 centimeters) and a weight of 9 to 10 ounces (260 to 280 grams)[^3^]. The ball should be inflated to a pressure of 4.3 to 4.6 psi (0.3 to 0.32 kg/cm2)[^3^]. The ball should be yellow or white in color, with contrasting panels that make it easier to see.
- A net: This is a mesh fabric that is stretched across the middle of the court and separates the two teams. The net should have dimensions of 32 feet (9.75 meters) long and 3 feet (0.91 meters) wide[^3^]. The net should have a top band that is 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide and made of white canvas or synthetic material[^3^]. The net should also have two side bands that are 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide and made of the same material as the top band[^3^]. The net should be supported by two vertical posts that are placed at a distance of 0.5 to 1 meter (1.6 to 3.3 feet) from each side line[^3^]. The height of the net should be 7 feet 11.625 inches (2.43 meters) for men and 7 feet 4.125 inches (2.24 meters) for women[^3^].
- A court: This is the area where you play the game. The court should have dimensions of 59 feet (18 meters) long and 29.5 feet (9 meters) wide[^3^]. The court should be marked with lines that indicate the boundaries, the center line, the attack line, and the service zone. The lines should be 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide and made of contrasting color to the surface[^3^]. The boundary lines include two side lines and two end lines that mark the edges of the court. The center line divides the court into two equal halves and extends under the net. The attack line marks a distance of 9 feet 10 inches (3 meters) from the center line on each side of the court[^3^]. The service zone is a strip of space behind each end line where the server must stand while serving.
- Players: You need at least two players per team to play volleyball, but ideally you should have six players per team for a competitive game. You can divide the players into two teams by using different colored shirts, hats, or bands.
How to Play Volleyball
Once you have your equipment ready, you can start playing volleyball by following these steps:
- Decide which team will serve first and which team will receive first. You can do this by flipping a coin, playing rock-paper-scissors, or using any other fair method.
- The serving team will choose one player to serve the ball from behind the end line of the court. The server can use any type of serve, such as underhand, overhand, jump, or float. The serve must go over the net and land within the opponent’s court for it to be valid. The serve can touch the net, but not the antenna or any other part of the net structure. The server has one service attempt per point; if the serve is not valid, the serving team loses the point and the serve.
- The receiving team will try to return the ball over the net to the serving team’s court by using up to three contacts. The contacts can be made by any part of the body above the waist, but not by two or more parts simultaneously. The contacts must be clean and not held, lifted, pushed, or thrown. The same player cannot contact the ball twice in a row, except when blocking. A typical sequence of contacts is pass, set, and spike. A pass is a contact that is used to receive the serve or a spike and send the ball to the setter. A set is a contact that is used to place the ball in a good position for a spike. A spike is a contact that is used to hit the ball with force and speed over the net and into the opponent’s court.
- The rally continues until one team wins the point by making the other team unable to return the ball or by forcing them to make a fault. A fault is any violation of the rules that results in a loss of point. Some common faults are: hitting the ball out of bounds, touching the net or crossing under it, making four or more contacts, making a double contact, making an illegal contact, making an illegal serve, making an illegal block, or making an illegal attack.
- The team that wins the point also wins the serve and rotates one position clockwise before serving. The rotation ensures that each player gets to play in different positions on the court. The rotation only occurs when the serving team wins a point; if the receiving team wins a point, they do not rotate but keep their positions.
- The game is played until one team reaches 25 points and wins by at least two points. If both teams are tied at 24 points, the game continues until one team has a two-point lead. The match is usually played in a best-of-five format, with the first four games played to 25 points and the fifth game (if necessary) played to 15 points.
Tips and Strategies for Playing Volleyball
To improve your volleyball skills and increase your chances of winning, you can follow these tips and strategies:
- Practice your serve: Your serve is one of the most important skills in volleyball, as it can give you an advantage over your opponent and set up your defense. You can practice your serve by using different types of serves, such as float serve, topspin serve, jump serve, or jump float serve. You can also practice your accuracy, power, and consistency by aiming for different targets on the court, such as corners, seams, or zones.
- Practice your pass: Your pass is the first contact that you make with the ball after receiving the serve or a spike. It is essential to make a good pass to set up your offense and avoid giving easy points to your opponent. You can practice your pass by using the proper technique, such as bending your knees, keeping your arms straight, forming a platform with your forearms, and facing the target. You can also practice your pass with a partner or a group by playing pepper, triangle, or shuffle.
- Practice your set: Your set is the second contact that you make with the ball after receiving a pass. It is crucial to make a good set to create opportunities for your hitters and confuse your opponent’s blockers. You can practice your set by using the correct technique, such as positioning yourself under the ball, extending your arms and fingers, and pushing the ball with your wrists and fingertips. You can also practice your set with a partner or a group by playing toss, wall, or box.
- Practice your spike: Your spike is the third and final contact that you make with the ball before sending it over the net. It is important to make a powerful and accurate spike to score points and put pressure on your opponent’s defense. You can practice your spike by using the right technique, such as taking a three-step approach, jumping high and fast, swinging your arm and snapping your wrist, and hitting the ball at its highest point. You can also practice your spike with a partner or a group by playing hit, drill, or game.
- Practice your block: Your block is a defensive move that you make at the net to stop or slow down your opponent’s spike. It is vital to make a effective block to prevent points and create counterattacks. You can practice your block by using the proper technique, such as taking a quick step to the side, jumping straight up with your arms above your head, penetrating the net with your hands and fingers, and watching the ball and the hitter. You can also practice your block with a partner or a group by playing shadow, mirror, or cooperative.
- Use teamwork: You can use teamwork to communicate, coordinate, and cooperate with your teammates. You can assign different roles and positions to your teammates, such as setter, hitter, blocker, or libero. You can also use signals, gestures, or words to communicate with your teammates about who will take the ball, where to hit the ball, where to block the ball, or where to cover the court.
- Be alert and agile: You can be alert and agile by paying attention to the ball, the net, and the players at all times. You can also use your speed,