How to play Volleyball

volleyball 3

Image credit: Calvin Teoh/SportSG

Volleyball can be as easy to play as it is to watch if you understand the game play. To get started, a team is chosen to serve by means of a coin toss, and the losing team will then decide which side of the court to play on.

Each team consists of six players in the starting line up and other players can be substituted into the game. The team's starting line up indicates the rotational order of the players and must be maintained throughout the set.

If a discrepancy between the players' positions and the official line up sheet is discovered, the team at fault must revert to the positions according to the line up sheet. Their opponents will receive a point and the next service. All points scored by the team at fault from the moment of the fault up to the discovery of the discrepancy are cancelled.

A player from the serving team will start the game with a serve, and the opposing team must return the ball using no more than three contacts. Usually, the first contact is a pass aimed to push the ball towards a setter. The setter will use a set move to pass the ball to the hitter/attacker. The hitter will either spike or hit the ball over the net to conclude an attack.

The team on defence will try to prevent the ball from landing on their court by blocking the ball. If the ball gets through the blocking move, other players on the defensive team will attempt to control the ball with a dig. After a successful dig, the defensive team will transition to offence.

This back-and-forth play of the ball is called a rally, and it continues until the ball touches the court within the boundaries on either side or until an error is made. Typical errors made include failure to return the ball within three contacts or the ball landing outside the boundaries.

Points are awarded when the ball contacts the floor within the court’s boundaries or when an error is made. The opposing team is awarded a point in the event of an error, even if they are not the current serving team. If the ball hits the boundary lines, the ball is counted as in and a point is awarded to the team that hit it there. Players can travel outside the court to play a ball that has gone over the boundary lines in order to keep it in play.

The team that won the point will serve for the next point. If the team that won the point served in the previous point, the player who served the ball will do so again. If the team that won the point did not serve the previous point, the players of the serving team will rotate their positions on the court in a clockwise manner.

Scoring differs between leagues, tournaments and levels. At the SEA Games, matches are best-of-five sets. The first team to score 25 points with a two-point margin will win the set. Sometimes, the fifth set, if necessary, is played to 15 points instead. The match is won by the team who wins three sets.

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