Volleyball Rules

The Lingo

Ace - A service ace (SA) is a serve that results directly in a point. A service ace is awarded to a player: (1) If the serve strikes the opponent's court untouched. (2) If the serve is passed by the opponent but cannot be kept in play.

Antennae - The vertical attachments on either side of the net along the court sidelines. The antennae are the boundary markers for fair hit balls. A ball hit outside the antennae is not playable.

Attack - The aggressive play of the offensive team as it hits the ball over the net.

Attack Lines (or Three-meter Lines) - The two dividing lines located three meters from the net which separate the frontcourt and backcourt.

Backcourt - The area between the attack line and the baseline (end line).

Center Line - The dividing line of the court that runs underneath the length of the net. If a player completely crosses this line with his or her foot, or if any part of his or her body extends over this line into the opposing court, a fault will be called.

Classic Three Hit - Describes the use of the dig, set, and spike hits as one coordinated play on the ball.

Collective Block - A defensive maneuver in which two or three front-line players on the same team jump in unison to block an opponent's shot.

Dive - A player with outstretched arms extends his or her entire body toward the floor in an effort to get under a low hit ball.

Fake - Occurs when an attacking player in the frontcourt dupes the opposing team by jumping at the net as if to hit a spike, but instead allows the ball to go by for another teammate to hit.

Floater - An overhand serve in which little or no spin is put on the ball.

Formation - The positioning of players on the court on either offense or defense.

Frontcourt - The area on the court between the attack lines and the net.

Jump Set - A set to an attacking player, by a set player who strikes the ball while jumping in the air.

Kill - A smash, hit by a frontcourt player, that the opposite side is unable to return.

The Net - Depending on the league, the net stands between 6'10 and nearly 8' in height and extends the width of the court. It is a net foul if a player makes any body contact with the net.

Penetration - An offensive move toward the net by a back-row player acting as a setter, enabling the three front-line players to each act as potential spikers. Penetration can happen after a serve or on any rally following a serve.

Red Card - Issued by the referee to players or coaches for serious offenses such as unsportsmanlike conduct. A red card infraction awards a point or a side out to the non-offending team.

Rally - The period of play from when the ball is served until play stops.

Roundhouse - A powerful overhand serve hit with top spin that drops into the opposite court once it crosses the net.

Rotation - Following a side out, it is the clockwise movement of players on the serving team to their positions on the court. Once a serve has been made, players may move freely about the court. However, after each point they must return to their positions until the next service change.

Service Area - The area on the court where a player stands while serving the ball. It is anywhere beyond the baseline on either side of the volleyball court.

Setter - The name for the player who frequently uses the overhead pass to set the ball up to front-line players .

Soft Block - A defensive move by a front-line player who gently blocks an opposing attack player's shot in order to redirect the ball to a teammate. The intent is to allow his or her team to perform a quick set and spike.

Switch - After the serve, players may move to other positions on the court. However, backcourt players will not usually switch to the frontcourt because they can not touch the ball when it is above the net.

Tip (or Dink) - Similar to the fake, in that a player feigns hitting a spike or set, and instead uses his or her fingertips to lightly direct the ball over the hands of an opposing blocker toward an open area of the opponents' court.

Yellow Card - Issued by the referee for minor rule infractions.

A service ace (SA) is a serve that results directly in a point. A service ace is awarded to a player: (1) If the serve strikes the opponent's court untouched. (2) If the serve is passed by the opponent but cannot be kept in play

A service ace (SA) is a serve that results directly in a point. A service ace is awarded to a player: (1) If the serve strikes the opponent's court untouched. (2) If the serve is passed by the opponent but cannot be kept in play

Who Plays Where?

Two teams of six players set up on the court at one time. A net divides the court in half, with each half split between a frontcourt (attack) and a backcourt. Teams line up with three front-line players near the net and three back-row players near the baseline (end line). The serving team rotates its lineup clockwise prior to each service change.