Simplified Volleyball Rules

Presented here are a simplified set volleyball rules to help beginners start enjoying the game without forcing them to go through the intricacies of the full rules.

  • Like tennis and badminton, the court is divided, by a net, into 2 equal halves. During play, each team remains on their own side and defend the floor.
  • 6 players pre team on court.
  • 1st team to 25 points wins.


Of the 6 players 3 are to the front and 3 to the back, with the back player at the left being the server.


  • Serve from behind the back line.
  • The serve must be hit with the hand.
  • After serving the server moves back onto court to help their team.
  • The serve is allowed to clip the net on the way over, but must not touch the antenna nor pass over or outside the antenna.
  • Once the ball has been served ANY player can move ANYWHERE on court and even chase the ball out of court if needed.
  • If the serve is going out leave it to hit the floor - if you touch it before it lands then you must play the ball back.
  • The serve is not allowed to touch the roof.
Volleyball Antenna
Serving Within the Antenna

Hitting the ball

  • The ball may be hit with any part of the body (hand, head, chest, even the foot! . . .) with the exception of the serve which must to be hit with the hand.
  • The hit has to be clean - no scoops, catch-and-rethrows, dunks etc.
  • Your team have up to 3 touches to return the ball over the net - although it can be returned by the 1st or 2nd touch.
  • A player mustn't have 2 consecutive hits - but having the 1st and 3rd hit is OK.

In the rally

  • Players mustn't touch the top of the net.
  • The only part of a players body that is allowed to land on the opponents court is the foot, and then only if part of it is above the centre line.
  • The ball mustn't touch the roof, walls or posts.
  • The ball CAN touch the net on the way over providing it does not touch the antenna.
  • The ball is allowed to go into the net and bounce out - the rally continues and this does not count as one of the 3 touches.
  • If the ball touches the court floor on the opposite side your team wins the point.
  • If the ball touches one of the opposition players and then the floor/wall your team wins a point.
  • If one of your players hits the ball out of court, the others can chase the ball and hit it back into court or over the net.
  • If the other team hits the ball more than 3 times your team wins a point.

Volleyball Court
Volleyball Court Zones


  • Blocking = jumping at the net with the arms up to stop the ball coming over the net.
  • Remember, players mustn't touch the net.
  • Blocking a serve isn't allowed.
  • A back court player mustn't take part in a block - even if they don't touch the ball
  • A block does not count as a regular hit - so your team still have 3 more hits, also if you block then you ARE also allowed to make the 1st hit.


  • Attack = whilst in the attack zone,
            hitting the ball from above the height of the net
            towards the other side
  • A back court player is not allowed to attack.
  • A back court player IS allowed to hit the ball from BELOW the height of the net whilst in the attack zone
  • A back court player IS allowed to hit the ball from above the height of the net whilst in the DEFENCE zone.
  • If PART of the ball is over the net then it's OK to attack the ball (even if it's mostly on the other side).
  • If ALL of the ball is on the other side of the net then the only shot that can be played is a block (ie not a hit)

Volleyball Block
Position of Ball for Legal Attack

Rotation - everybody gets to play in every position

  • Every time your team wins the serve from the other team all your players rotate their position on court - clockwise.
  • If you loose the serve your team doesn't rotate.
  • If you keep the serve your team doesn't rotate.


  • Up to 6 substitutions per set
  • Substitutions take place before the serve
  • Once player A has replaced player B then player B can only be substituted by player A


  • Up to 2 time-outs per set of 30 seconds each
  • Time-outs take place before the serve


  • The winner is the 1st team to reach 25 points (by 2 clear points)
  • If you serve and get the point you keep the serve, if you don't get the point, the other team gets the serve AND also a point. (ie the score changes EVERY time there is a serve)
  • Note: if the opposition only need one point to win and you mess up a serve, they win without even touching the ball