Volleyball Frequently Asked Questions

Volleyball is one of the most popular recreational and competitive sports in the world, enjoyed in nearly every country. What follows are a few of the more commonly asked questions about the indoor volleyball game. So next time you head for volleyball practice or to root for your favorite player, you'll know a little more about one of America's favorite pastimes.

What is volleyball?

Volleyball is played on a court between two teams divided by a net. Though teams may have up to a dozen or more players, only six of them are on the court at one time. While there are many versions of volleyball, there are two main types: Indoor and outdoor. Both can be played competitively or for fun. Indoor volleyball is played on a smooth court. Outdoor volleyball can be played on sand, grass, a concrete surface, or in the water.

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What are the governing bodies for volleyball?

The International Federation of Volleyball, or FIVB, governs all forms of world indoor and outdoor volleyball competitions and is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. FIVB has established a standard set of volleyball game rules that serve to guide national and local volleyball organizations. The organization includes 220 affiliated federations around the world.

The governing body for national volleyball competitions is USA Volleyball, or USAV, and provides training for athletes and coaches around the country. The national organization follows a modified version of FIVB rules.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) were established to deal with collegiate and high school volleyball competitions, respectively, and follow their own sets of rules.

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What is the object of volleyball?

Volleyball is a game of skill involving teams passing a ball over the net without the ball touching the ground or going out of bounds. Teams earn points when their opponent errors, or fails to legally return the ball over the net. The team earning the most points in a volleyball game wins.

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What are the different ways to play volleyball?

There are many ways to enjoy volleyball, but there are two main types: Indoor, and outdoor. Both can be played competitively or just for fun. The kind of volleyball played in most schools, colleges, and rec centers is indoor regulation volleyball. A popular version featured in the Summer Olympics is beach volleyball. The game can also be played on grass or in the water. Also, the number of players, court dimensions, the net height, volleyball size, and rules can be modified from league to league to suit the levels and numbers of players.

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What do I wear for volleyball?

That will depend on whether you play indoors or out, competitively, or for fun. Indoor volleyball practice calls for a t-shirt, athletic shorts, socks, court shoes, and knee pads. Your formal game gear will include a jersey, shorts, socks, shoes, and knee pads. Beach volleyball players wear swimsuits, sports bikinis, spandex tops and bottoms, full body suits, or shorts and tanks, depending on what their league allows.

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Who invented volleyball?

Indoor volleyball, originally called 'Mintonette', was invented in 1895 by a YMCA physical education director named William G. Morgan, in Holyoke, Mass. Morgan gave the game of volley a set of rules, and what later came to be known as "volleyball" held its first exhibition match in 1896 at a training school in Springfield, Mass.

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How is volleyball scored?

Volleyball scoring uses the rally system. Teams earn one point for every time the opponent fails to return the ball over the net, or otherwise errors while the ball is in play whether the earning team served the ball or not. The team awarded the point serves next. A game is played until a team has earned at least 25 points by a two-point lead.

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What skills do I need to play volleyball?

Being a good volleyball player involves developing a number of techniques. A few of these include vertical jumping, spiking, blocking, passing, digging, diving, and serving, all of which involve power, quick reflexes, great hand-eye coordination, and lots of teamwork! If you get really good at defense, your team members may elect you to be their defense expert, or "libero".

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What is a libero?

'Libero' is an Italian word meaning "free". As in football, soccer, and other sports, indoor volleyball uses defense specialists called liberos. Two liberos may be chosen from a team of twelve or more players, but only one "acting libero" can be on the court at a time. Not every team has to have a libero; according to FIVB rules, teams have the option to designate up to two liberos for a tournament from among the list of players.

Volleyball liberos wear contrasting jerseys to distinguish them from their teammates. Liberos follow a little different set of rules. The libero was added to the indoor volleyball game in 1999 to liven up the game.

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What's the difference between a libero and a defense specialist?

The main differences between the libero and a defense specialist involve duties and substitution.

The Libero:

The defense specialist:

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What are the different ways to hit a volleyball?

While in play, the ball can contact (hit) any part of the body as long as the ball is not caught or thrown, and volleyball hits happen simultaneously.

The different volleyball hits include:

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What are the different volleyball serves?

There are basically three kinds of serves used effectively in competition volleyball: Jump serve, float serve, and topspin serve.

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What are the dimensions of a volleyball court?

An indoor regulation volleyball court measures 59 feet (18 meters) by 29 feet 6 inches (9 meters).

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What is a court 'area'?

An 'area', sometimes called 'zone', is the place on the court where a player stands, or their court position. On a six-player team, there are going to six 'areas'.

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What's the difference between my court position and my playing position?

Not to be confused with playing position or specialty, a 'court' position is the spot or 'area' (or zone) on the court where a player is standing in the course of rotating. A six-player team will have six court positions. Those positions are right back, right front, middle front, left front, left back, and middle back. Your playing position is what kind of player you are, such as a setter, middle blocker, center, outside hitter, libero, opposite, etc.

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Why do teams rotate?

After a team earns a point following the opponent's serve, members rotate one spot to the right through all six court positions in a clockwise direction. Regular rotation helps to balance the skills and strengths among the entire team, and reinforces co-operation and team work.

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What are the health benefits of volleyball?

Volleyball is an aerobic activity that enhances teamwork and cooperation. Playing regular volleyball burns calories, strengthens the upper body, sharpens reflexes, and improves hand-eye coordination while building stamina and flexibility.

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