Volleyball rules are fairly straightforward. However, it can depend at what level you play and rule changes are fairly frequent. Here are the basic volleyball rules and rule violations to give you an initial understanding. These volleyball rules may seem quite daunting to a beginner but through regular drills and commitment it will soon become second nature to follow them.

Game Play

  • Maximum of 6 players per team
  • Maximum of 3 touches per side (excluding the block)
  • The ball can be played off the net on serve and during a volley
  • A player cannot hit the ball twice in succession (a block doesn’t class as a hit)
  • Contact with the ball by any part of the body is a legal touch, providing the ball doesn’t visibly come to rest (and yes this includes feet!)
  • If two players have contact with the ball at the same time then this is classed as one play and neither of the players may take part in the next play.

The Serve

  • The server can serve anywhere from behind the end line.
  • The serve can be underhand or overhand.
  • The ball must go over the net for a valid serve.
  • If the ball grazes the top of the net and goes over then this is a let serve and play continues.
  • The serve must be returned by a bump only and not a setting or attacking.


The players must rotate in a clockwise direction after each serve won.


  • Rally rules are used for scoring in volleyball.
  • A point is scored on every score of the ball.
  • Defense score on an offense miss, serve into net or out of bounds hit.
  • Offense score on a defense miss or out of bounds hit.
  • The game is played up to 25 points and the win must be by 2 clear points.
  • The game will continue past 25  points if there isn’t a 2 point clear lead.


There are a few things you need to be careful to avoid during the game to avoid a violation. In the heat of the game it’s hard to avoid some of these! Keep focused and then you’ll have a successful game. Check out this list of violations:

  • Stepping on or over the line whilst serving
  • Failure to get the ball over the net on service
  • Illegal hits i.e. carrying, palming etc)
  • Touching the net with any part of your body whilst the ball is in play. If the net touches you due to the ball forcibly hitting the net from the opposition then this is not a violation and the play continues.
  • Reaching under the net (if causes interference of ball or player)
  • Reaching over the net. Exceptions to this are when:

a. Blocking a third play

b.  A follow through is executed

c.  Blocking the ball whilst it is in the opponents court but is being returned.

  • Not serving in the correct order (rotation)
  • Blocking or spiking whilst in a back row position and not behind the 10 foot line

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