Volleyball Rules


Laws of the Game:

  1. The Court
  2. Lines and Zones
  3. The Net
  4. The Ball
  5. The Game
  6. The Serve
  7. Hits
  8. Violations
  9. Scoring

The Court

The playing area includes the court and space surrounding it. Areas include: Free zone, boundary lines (sidelines and end lines which make up the dimensions of the court), centerline, attack line, front zone, service zone, and substitution zone. Indoor and outdoor courts are 59' x 29' 6", or 18 x 9 meters.

Lines and Zones

The centerline, the line that divides the court in half, runs the length of the net from one sideline to the other. Lines on the court are 2 inches wide, or 5 cm. The indoor court includes an attack area. The attack area line lies on either side of the court and extends from one sideline to the other and is placed 9 feet 10 inches, or 3 meters, from the centerline. All lines are two inches wide. The front zone lies between the centerline and the attack line and beyond the sidelines to the end of the free zone. The area behind the end line that extends from one sideline to the other designates the service zone, which is 29 feet 6 inches wide, or 9 meters, and extends to the end of the free zone. The substitution zone runs from attack lines up to the scorer's table.

The Net

The USAV acceptable height of the indoor/outdoor net for men or co-ed mixed sizes is 7'11-5/8", or 2.43 meters. For women, the net height is 7'4-1/8". For players 14 years old and younger, the net height should be 7'4-1/8" or 2.24 meters. The height of the volleyball net is measured at the center, and should be exactly the same measurement as the two sidelines and cannot be more than 2 cm higher than the official measurement.

The Ball

An official volleyball weighs between 9 and 10 ounces, with air pressure being anywhere from 4.5 to 6 pounds.

The Game

Before a match begins, the referee calls a short meeting in which he goes over any rules, including substitution and timeout procedures, and conducts a coin toss to determine the first server.

The Serve

The server is the player in the right back position and who must be standing behind the end line while executing the serve. Servers are allowed only one toss or release of the ball, many of which like to bounce or toss the ball a few times before serving. However a toss or release doesn't count until it is done with intent to serve.

Teams rotate clockwise after every serve won. Each side should contain 4-6 players.

Key Points:

  • The ball must be released or tossed when executing a serve.
  • The server is allowed only one serve, and is allowed eight seconds to do so - five seconds for children 14 years old and younger.
  • An underhand or overhand serve is good.
  • Opponents must be able to see the ball being served.
  • A volley will decide which team will serve the ball first, with all games after that being served by the team that lost the previous game.
  • A serve that contacts the net and drops over it may count for a point.
  • Serves may only be returned by bumps - not sets or attacks.
  • Servers may not step on, or across the service line until after the ball has been released, and this includes jump serving.
  • The server may not go outside the service zone until after the ball has been released.
  • Players may not block or attack a serve.
  • Players may only switch positions after serves, and may only be done between front line players.


Key Points:

  • Each side is allowed no more than three hits.
  • A player may not hit the ball two times in a row.
  • A block is not a hit.
  • Balls that hit the net may be played during volleys and serves.
  • Balls may touch the boundary line but not cross them.
  • Bodily contact with the ball from the waist up in which the ball does not come to rest is considered a legal hit.
  • Two players contacting the ball at the same time is considered one play, and those players may not participate in the next play.


Key Points:

  • Stepping on or over the line during a serve.
  • A serve that does not go over the net.
  • Not serving in the correct order.
  • Hitting the ball illegally.
  • Contacting the net with the body during play.
  • Reaching over the net, except to execute a follow-through.
  • Blocking a returned ball that is in the opponent's court.
  • Reaching under the net in a manner that interferes with the opposing player or the ball.
  • Not in the proper position while blocking or spiking the ball.


Key Points:

  • One point is scored for every scored ball.
  • Offense scores on defense misses or out of bounds hits.
  • Defense scores on offensive misses, out of bounds hits, or serving into the net.
  • The game is played until 25 points are earned, with a 2-point lead or better.