Volleyball is the fifth-most popular sport worldwide, with a fan base of 900+ million, being predominantly popular in Europe, Asia, Australia and America. Originally, it was known as ‘Mintonette’, a name given by William Morgan. This Olympic game originated a hundred years ago, and since then there have been many modifications to its rules. Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), founded in 1947, is the official confederation that is the international ruling organization for volleyball.
Did You Know?
There is a term in volleyball known as ‘Husband and Wife’. This indicates a served ball which lands in between two defensive players that eventually goes untouched, because both players think that either of them is going to take the lead.
- Court – The court is rectangular in shape and measures 18 meters (59 ft.) by 9 meters (29.52 ft.).
- The Net – It is suspended right above the center line at 7 feet 9 inches for men, and 7 feet 3 inches for women.
- Ceiling Height – The ceiling is at a height of 7 meters (23 ft.) from the playing ground, so that the game is not obstructed in any way.
- Center Line – A line that cuts the court into two halves, which results in two squares of 9 meters (29.5 ft.) by 9 meters.
- Boundary Line – They are the two side and end lines which portray the playing area, and these lines are marked inside the dimensions of the court.
- Service Line – This is a 3 meter area marked on each right side of the end lines, and the server serves the ball from this area.
- Attack Line – From the center, 3 meters (9.8 ft.) on both the sides of the court is this line which divides each playing area into two zones, the attacking zone or front zone, and the back zone.
- Right Back (RB)– A setter begins the game from this position. A right back is known as the zone 1 (Z1) position. It is a defensive zone, and while rotation, a player stepping in this position has to serve.
- Right Front (RF) – This is the zone 2 (Z2) position, and is placed right in front of the right back. A player positioned in this spot is at the front-right side of the court, near the net.
- Middle/Center Front (CF) – A position in the front row, right at the center near the net is the middle front spot. It is the zone 3 (Z3) position, and the player is in a rotational position.
- Left Front (LF) – A player in this spot is positioned at the front-left of the court near the net. It is the zone 4 (Z4) position, and also known to be an attacking position.
- Left Back (LB) – This is a rotational position and is situated at the left extreme of the back row. It is a defensive and zone 5 (Z5) position.
- Middle/Center Back (CB) – This is a zone 6 (Z6) position, and usually a middle hitter begins to play on this spot at the start of the game. He is later replaced by a libero, who is a specialized player for this position.
These players have a very crucial role in the team. Their main role is to set the ball for their team’s attackers so that they can score a point. A team may choose to have more than one setter in order to run the team’s offense. This is a role similar to a point guard in basketball.
These players hit and smash the ball that a setter sets up at the net. A middle hitter is also known as a middle blocker or blocker. They usually confuse the opponent team’s blockers and coordinate with the front row players for team blocking strategy.
These players attack from the extremes, from near the antennas. An outside hitter usually banks on a powerful swing to score a point, and is known to be the primary attacker of the team. This position is usually played by the front-left player, and is beneficial for a right-handed hitter, as the setter sets a shot from the right for an outside hitter, and hence, it can be easily smashed to score a point.
A front-right player plays in this position, and such players can also be termed as weakside blockers. Generally, a left-handed player is preferred for this position, because a right-handed hitter would need to swing his entire body to attack, since the ball would be set for him from his left side.
A libero is a player specializing in the defensive skills of volleyball. In Italian, libero means ‘free’. A libero has the right to replace any player during the game, and is usually a tall player. Libero players were officially introduced into this game in the year 1999, to increase its excitement. This player does not have to follow the rules of rotation like the other players. A team has to choose its libero before the start of the game, and this player cannot be changed for the rest of the game, unless injured. He has to be good in all the skills required for the game, like passing, quickness, and handling the ball.
The equipment required for the players include shoes, jerseys and shorts. A team should have a uniform color for the jersey, except for the libero. The ball used for the game has a circumference of approximately 26 inches and weight of about 10 ounces. The pressure inside the ball should be 4.26 to 4.61 psi. A team rotates after its serve in a clockwise direction. When the ball is on a team’s side, that team can hit the ball only three times, while a player can hit the ball just once. A player cannot carry or use his palm for passing the ball to the opposite team. After serving, the players of the opposing team can change their positions for attacking. In each set of the match, a maximum of 12 substitutions are allowed.
A player should serve the ball by standing behind the end line of his side of the court, and while serving the ball, he should be visible to the opposing team. The opposing team cannot block or attack the serve. The server should serve the ball in such a way (underhand or overhand) that it reaches the other side of the court without touching the net. There are a number of ways to serve the ball, which include top spin, jump float, hybrid service, sky ball serve, besides others.
The method used for scoring in the game of volleyball is ‘rally scoring’. A rally starts when the ball is served, and is a continuous passing of the ball from one player to another without the ball touching the ground. Thus, in rally scoring, a point is scored when the ball hits the ground. The team that wins the rally gets the chance to serve. The team that reaches 25 points first, with a difference of at least 2 points, wins the set. Usually, five sets are played during a volleyball match, and the ‘best of three’ rule applies.
If a player is injured, the game goes into an automatic 30-second timeout. If the injured player is unable to continue playing within this time frame, he needs to be replaced, or his team needs to take a technical timeout. Each team can take two technical timeouts per set, each being of 60 seconds duration. There is no timeout allowed in the fifth (deciding) set.
The following occurrences are considered as fouls:
- Unable to serve the ball successfully without it touching the net.
- Stepping over or across the end line while serving.
- Illegal passing of the ball, like palming, throwing or carrying the ball.
- Touching any part of the body to the net while passing the ball.
- Taunting or teasing the players of the other team.
- Crossing the center line of the court with any part of the body. If the line is crossed with just a part of the foot then it is not a violation (an entire hand or leg should cross the line).
- Ace – When a ball that has been served is not even touched by any opposing player and directly hits the ground, it is termed as an ace, and results in a point.
- Attack – An attack is an aggressive approach by the offensive team to hit the spiked ball in order to score a point, by aiming it on the opposing team’s court.
- Block – A defensive effort made by one or more players to stop a ‘hit’ from entering their court, and instead deviate the ball back into the opponent’s court.
- Back Row Attack – When a player positioned in the back zone leaps to hit the ball without stepping in the front zone, it is known as a back row attack.
- Dig – A defensive attempt to reach a spiked ball and pass the ball to a teammate is termed as dig.
- Decoy – An act by which the opposite team is caught unaware, as the spiker actually hits the ball aggressively.
- Double Hit – When the ball is touched by the same player twice, it is considered as a foul, and is termed as a double hit.
- Floater – If the direction of a served ball cannot be anticipated due to lack of spin, but has a swerve, and just floats through the air, then it is known as a floater.
- Hit – A spike or attack made forcefully by jumping and hitting the ball into the opponent’s court is termed as a hit.
- Kill – If a ball is struck and is not returned by the defensive team, it leads to a point. This is known as a kill.
- Mishit – A mishit means when a player hits the ball in a way he didn’t actually intend to.
- Rally – A rally starts with a serve and ends with either a sideout or a point.
- Rotation – All the players of the team move one position clockwise on the court, when the team wins a sideout and prior to their serve.
- Shank – A poorly passed ball is known as shank.
- Sprawl – When a defender runs towards a ball and retrieves it, but ends up sliding on the ground on his stomach, the move is called a sprawl.
- Tip – Tip is when an attacker aims a shot right at the gaps of the defensive side, and is also known as dump or dink.
- Waffle– It is when a spiker misses a spike completely or the ball just grazes his fingertips.
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- The flexibility of the hands and legs improve
- Builds stronger upper body muscles
- Helps improving the quickness of the mind and body
- Refreshing cardiovascular workout which strengthens the heart