January 25, 2022, by Mathilde Tighe

The Headliner: Guide to Volleyball

As we get closer to the Headliner with Men’s and Women’s Volleyball on Wednesday 2nd February, it’s time to refresh your memory about how Volleyball works!

Game rules

Firstly, let’s go over the basic organisation of a volleyball game including point scoring, game length, number of players and more.

A volleyball match is played as the best of five games. The team that takes three games is the overall winner of that match. To win a game, a team must score 25 points with at least a two-point lead. If one team has scored 25 but there is less than two points between the opposition, the game can continue over the 25-point maximum. On the final game of the match, it’s only played until 15 points.

A rally begins with a serve. The server takes their shot from behind the end line and choose between an underhand or overhand shot.

When a team wins a rally, they score a point. A rally begins with a serve and ends when a team wins a point. There are two ways to do this. If your team sends the ball over the net and the defending team fail to return it, you score a point. The other way is if the other team hit the ball out of the court boundary.

A team can hit the ball to each other a maximum of three times before returning it to the other side of the court.

A volleyball team consists of six players, and there are a number of positions, which we will explain next. Usually, there are three players near the net at the front and three towards the back of the court.

There are a few other rules you need to know. You are not allowed to:

  • Step on or over the end line when taking a serve
  • Touch the net while the ball is in play
  • Reach over the net to get the ball. You may reach over to execute a follow-through or block a returning ball
  • Reach under the net
  • Hit or serve the ball into the net


The players

Each team has six players: three at the front in the attack zone and three in the back in the defence zone. These are the different positions:

Outside hitter: This player is at the front-left of the court in the attack zone. They usually attack the ball a setter has prepared for them. They can often move across the front and back row while the ball is in play.

Opposite hitter: They score the most points in the game. They are usually in the back left corner of the court. Although they score points, they also need great defensive skills to outplay the opposition’s opposite hitter.

Middle blocker: Standing in the middle, their main responsibility is to block attacks from the other team.

Setter: Also called the playmaker, the setter run the offensive strategies and set the ball up for the attackers to score. They’re normally in the right-back of the court and play between both rows

Libero: They’re a back row player, who can only play at the rear of the court. They normally wear a different colour top to the rest of the team and can join and leave the game without substitution. They also can replace any other player and they often swap places with the middle blocker.

The moves

There are a number of moves you will definitely see throughout the course of a volleyball game, some offensive and some defensive.

Passing: When a player receives the ball from the server and passes it to the setter (playmaker).

Blocking: When the ball comes over the net, it is blocked by the players and either moved into their side or back over the net towards the opposing team.

Digging: When the ball is heading towards the floor after an attack, a defender from the back row can run or dive forward to bump the ball back up and pass it to another team member.

Setting: When a player places both their hands above their forehead, creating a triangle shape with their thumbs and index fingers, and they push the ball up with their fingers to allow the attacker to take their shot.

Spiking: When a player runs, jumps and hits the ball over the net with a powerful swing.

So, that’s all you need to know about volleyball! We look forward to seeing you next week ready to support both of our teams as we go toe-to-toe with Northumbria in what is sure to be a fantastic afternoon of volleyball!

You can register your attendance for the event here; https://bit.ly/3dZRddN. With the first match of the afternoon beginning at 4.30pm, doors to the event will open at 3.30pm where registration will be checked before admittance.

However, if you aren’t able to be at the Headliner in person then don’t worry – you are still able to view the event online and catch every second! The Headliner event will be streamed live on our YouTube channel complete with commentators, and pre and post-match coverage.

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