Volleyball Terms

This guide will give you an elemental run down of the most commonly used and basic terms and definitions in volleyball. Any individual who wants to learn the sport or regularly watches it must be aware of these terms. The knowledge of these terms and rules will aid the person in understanding the game better and enjoying it at a higher level. Not knowing the meanings to these basic terms and definitions can confuse a person entirely, and it can utterly ruin the activity of watching a game of volleyball. This knowledge takes up even more importance for a person who is actually playing the game.

Guide of Basic Volleyball Terms

This is an alphabetical list, and it covers the basic terms that will come in handy at some point or the other during a volleyball match.

ACE: A serve that no player of the opposition team touches before it hits the ground. It results in a point for the server.

ASSIST: Setting the ball up for a teammate who attacks the ball and then scores a point. An assist is counted only if the very next shot results in a point.

ATTACK: The act of actually approaching the volleyball and hitting it, in order to gain a point.

ATTACKER: The person who attacks the ball. Also known as the HITTER or the SPIKER.

ATTACK LINE: Also known as the ’10 foot line’, it is 3 meters away from the net and is present on both sides of the court.

BACK ROW ATTACK: A move where a player behind the attack line hits the ball. At the moment when he jumps to hit the ball he must be behind the attack line.

BLOCK: An action where a spiker’s move is deflected back into his court by blocking the ball.

BALL HANDLING ERROR: The referee may call this error, if he notices that there has been a double hit, or a ball is thrown or lifted.

BUMP PASS: The action of clasping one’s fingers together and using the forearms to hit pass the ball to a teammate or over the net.

CENTER LINE: The line under the net that divides the entire court into 2 equal parts.

DECOY: A move in which the actual spiker of the ball is disguised. This takes the opposing team by surprise.

DIG: The act of reaching a ball spiked by the opponents and passing it to a teammate.

DOUBLE HIT: An illegal move that implies that the same player has touched the ball twice in succession.

FLOATER: A serve that has often been mis-hit and its direction cannot be predicted as there is no spin or rotation on the ball.

FOUL: Any illegal violation of the rules.

HIT: Act of jumping up and forcefully ‘spiking’ or hitting the ball to the opposing court.

JUMP SERVE: A method of service where the ball is flung in the air and the server jumps to strike it.

KILL: A move or a strike that results in the gaining of a point.

MINTONETTE: This is what volleyball was officially known as earlier. The name was created by William Morgan.

READY POSITION: The position and stance that any player takes just before hitting the ball.

RED CARD: A disqualification by the referee. This implies that either a player must leave the game, the team forfeits a point, or a team forfeits a serve.

ROTATION: After a server has made his serve, all the players rotate in a clockwise movement.

SERVE: The game starts when one player serves the ball from the end line of his side of the court, into the opposing teams half.

SERVICE ERROR: A wrong service. This occurs when the service hits the net, or does not cross the net, or the ball falls out-of-bounds or the server’s foot crosses the line while serving.

SETTER: The person who has the crucial second touch of the ball. The third touch will be by a spiker, and the setter must set up the ball in a nice way for the spiker. He is one of the most important offensive players in a volleyball team.

SIDE OUT: A situation where the receiving team wins the right to serve. This occurs either because they have won a point, or because the serving team committed an error.

YELLOW CARD: A warning issued to any player. This does not accompany a loss

This guide is applicable for the game of volleyball played at any level. Knowing these terms can be a major help to any individual, who is a beginner in the game, and also any person who has been playing the sport for many many years.

Beach Volleyball Rules

Beach volleyball originated in South California, and now it is an Olympics team event. Presently, this game is popular all over the world, and even in landlocked countries like Switzerland.

Basics of Volleyball
Before we get to the rules, it is important that one knows the basics of volleyball, like the court measurement, etc. A beach volley ball court measures 26.25 feet by 52.5 feet. The game is played with two players on each side, but recreational games are played with 6 players on each side. Points are scored by making the ball touch the ground in the opponent’s side of the court, much like tennis. The game is played in sets of three―the first team to win two sets wins the match. A set is won after reaching the score of 21 (with a minimum difference of 2 points), and the third set is played only till 15 points, since it is like a tie breaker.

Terminology Used
If on a serve, no one from the opposing team touches the ball, then it is called an ‘Ace’. If the ball goes to the opposing team as a result of a fault, then it is known as a ‘Sideout’. A ‘Roof’ is when a player jumps over the height of the net to block the ball. A ‘Stuff’ is when a roof happens, and the ball goes back to the player who spiked the ball. When a player makes a save from a difficult attack, then it is known as a ‘Dig’. A ‘Kill” is made when a spike ends in a point or a side out.

Rules and Regulations
Here are the basic rules of the game.

  • As far as beach volleyball is concerned, players can reach under the net to score as long as they don’t hamper the opposing team’s play.
  • The ball can only be served from in front of the end line after contact had been made.
  • This serve must be over-handed or under-handed. A soft dink is not allowed.
  • The scores are monitored whenever the ball is dropped. A maximum of three hits are allowed per side.
  • It is okay if the ball grazes the net on a serve, and also if the ball lands on the boundary line.
  • A player is not supposed to attack or block a serve.
  • Only the front row player can switch positions, that too after a serve.
  • Touching the net while the ball is in play is a foul.

Indoor Beach Volleyball Rules
Beach volleyball and indoor beach volleyball are almost similar, but the two have some differences.

  • In indoor beach volleyball, the players can’t reach across the net to play the ball, unlike beach volleyball.
  • The side that serves first, must do so from behind the end line.
  • A point is also scored if the opposing team touches the net.
  • If two players hit the ball at the same time, they can’t hit it again in succession.
  • Taking more than 8 seconds to serve is also a fault.
  • A player can only serve the ball once.
  • A player cannot make two consecutive hits.
  • In a coed game, males and females must be positioned alternatively.
  • A block is not included as one of the three hits. Only if both the hands are used will it be called a block.
  • Points are only scored on each teams individual serve.

So these were some basic volleyball rules. You must have noticed that the rules are very similar with a few exceptions. Enjoy your summer and get that awesome tan!