Volleyball Passing Drills

Passing the ball properly is the most important part of playing volleyball. Players need to pass the ball correctly and effectively. For the passes to be accurate, training and practice is the way to go. Moving sideways after passing the ball quickly is equally important. Some of the drills which are presented below include the ‘basketball passing’, ‘the pit’, ‘pipeline passing’, etc.

Pipeline Passing
This drill helps players to improve their lateral passing. To perform this drill, players are paired together. Their position should be such that they face each other. Distance between them should be 10 feet. One of the players passes the ball to his partner and quickly shuffles to the right side. Shuffling is done to touch the sideline, after which the player returns to his original position. Both players continue their activity to pass and shuffle at their respective right sides for 10 times. After 10 passes, the players should start shuffling to their left side, and complete the remaining 10 passes.

The Pit
This passing drill is used to sharpen the reflexes and improve the accuracy of their passes. In this drill, the ball has to be thrown at the player, and he has to return/pass it to the target area. Hitting or throwing the ball towards the player should be done in the same speed and manner as that of a real match. It gives a nice passing practice to the player, and as mentioned above, improves accuracy.

Basketball Passing
This drill is named as ‘basketball passing’ due to the fact that players who receive the serves have to pass the ball into baskets/targets. To perform this drill, a single server and 3 passers are needed. As the server serves the ball to one of the 3 players, they have to return/pass it to the assigned target. The server should start off with easy-to-receive-passes/hits, and gradually increase the speed of his serves. There are chances that the activity of just serving and passing may turn a bit boring. So, to make the drill interesting, one can think of introducing a point system. Points should be awarded to the servers or passers, depending on the rate of success of passing the ball to the basket. This way, the players get more involved in the game, and their drive to play a hard game increases.

Pass and Weave
In this drill, players have to receive the ball, pass it, and move ahead. Players move from their left to the right, and finally to the original position. The first player has to receive the ball passes it to the target and shuffles (weave around the ball) to the right. As the player moves to the next position, he receives another ball; while returning it with a pass, the player has to shuffle behind the ball. In the last step, the player should pass/return the ball to the given target, and shuffle in front of the ball. He has to then sprint back to the original position.

Pass and Move
Here, the passer gets a good practice of passing the ball and moving sideways. There are 3 tossers and one passer who participate in this drill. The passer should be positioned in a place that is right in front of the first tosser. As the first one tosses the ball, the player should pass it and then sprint towards the tosser. After touching the foot of first tosser, the passer should retreat backwards diagonally; he thus reaches a position which is in front of the second tosser. The second tosser tosses the ball which the passer returns and sprints towards him. The passer then attains the ready position behind both the tossers. He once again receives a toss from the first tosser and gets back to the original position.

Volleyball Rotations

Introduction of the rotation system in volleyball has made the sport faster and more interesting. Going by the basics of this system, each player has to play from each of the positions on the court at some or the other point during the game. Volleyball positions can be grouped into two categories: player positions, such as middle back and left front, and specialist positions, such as setter and blocker.

Volleyball Positions

The 6 players in each volleyball team are divided into two rows of 3 players each. The front row consists of the left front, middle front, and right front, while the back row consists of the left back, middle back, and right back. Besides these, there are some specialist positions, which are taken by players specializing in a particular aspect of the game. According to the new rules, the players have to start form their respective court positions, however, they can move to their specialist position upon completion of the serve. In volleyball, rotation is basically in the clockwise direction, wherein each player moves to the next spot every time the team wins a serve. Every player, except the libero, is supposed to rotate and play on each court position during the game.

Basic Volleyball Rotations

Basically, the team can start the game with players in any position, however, they need to ensure that the positions are maintained as the game progresses. This means that a particular player will remain in the same position corresponding to the other players, on his either side, throughout the game. The players have to execute rotation each time they break the opponent’s serve.

The rotation will be executed by each player in the front row moving one spot towards his right, and each player in the back row moving one spot towards his left. For instance, the player at the left front position will move to the middle front position, and the player in the left back position will move to the left front position. The same thing will be carried out by other players, each moving to the next spot. This will also ensure that the ball will always be served by the player in the right back position. One case of exception in to this rule is the libero, who doesn’t have to be an active part of the team rotation. The libero continues being in the back row with the primary responsibility of digging and supplying the ball.

Player Positions on Court
LF → MF → RF
↑ ↓
LB ← MB ← RB

Player Positions When the Game Begins
P1 → P2 → P3
↑ ↓
P6 ← P5 ← P4

Rotation after First Serve Break
P6 → P1 → P2
↑ ↓
P5 ← P4 ← P3

Rotation after Second Serve Break
P5 → P6 → P1
↑ ↓
P4 ← P3 ← P2

Subsequent Rotations in Same Clockwise Format

Though it is compulsory for the players to switch to their respective positions before the ball is served, they can move to their specialist positions as soon as the serve is executed. Ideally, rotation is executed in such a manner that a specialist setter, outside hitter, and a middle blocker are in the front row of the court at any point of time in the game. For this, the teams may either opt for a 6 – 2 formation, wherein two specialist setters set the ball―one for each row, or 5 – 1 formation, wherein a single setter sets the ball by moving over to his specialist position on the court after the serve is executed.

Foul: Overlapping

If the player is standing in the wrong position, or if players switch position before the ball is served, then it will be considered ‘overlap’, which will earn a point for the opposition. The best method to avoid the confusion is to mark the fellow player standing right opposite to your position. In the above diagram, player 1 and player 4 will be always standing opposite to each other. If player 1 is the middle front position, player 4 will be the middle back, and if player 1 will be in the left front position, player 4 will be the right back. Following this method will ensure that the players are not caught overlapping each others position. Other than this, each player can keep a track of the two players on his either side.

It is important to understand the basics of volleyball in order to master the game. Though the rules on rotation may make it seem a bit complicated initially, practicing the formations will help you master them with immense ease.

How to Serve in Volleyball

Volleyball is a team sport, and the aim of this game is to ground the ball in the opponent’s court. Just like in tennis, in volleyball too the way a serve is delivered can turn the fortunes of a team. There are two ways in which you can serve in this game. One is the underhand method and the other is the overhand way.

Serving Underhand

  • Start with putting either your left foot or right foot forward. Bend your knees slightly.
  • Place the palm of your left hand under the ball, holding it in front of you.
  • Meanwhile, keep your right hand open and not in a fist.
  • Now drop your right hand as it would be normally and follow it by getting it back slightly beyond your hips.
  • The real thing comes next. Swing your arm forward, it should be under the ball. The mantra is to hit the ball using the heel of your hand, not the palm.
  • Step into the swing with either of the foot, but avoid stepping over the line while doing this.
  • After making contact with the ball, let the swing of your arm continue, that will be your follow-through.
  • Finally, bring your right hand over your left shoulder.

Serving Overhand

  • Place your left foot ahead of your right foot, and the distance between your feet should be one shoulder-width.
  • Align your shoulder and hips with the net.
  • Without bending your arms, place them straight in front.
  • The bottom of the ball has to be held with the palm of your left hand, and the top with your right palm. Remember that the elbows and arms should not be in contact with any other part of the body.
  • Raise you serving arm, in this case the right arm, next to your head. Your elbow should point upwards.
    The next thing you have to do is toss the ball in the air using the palm of your left hand. You are not supposed to use four fingers.
  • The ball should go about 2 to 3 feet in the air. Once it is mid air, with your left foot, step forward.
  • After you step forward, hit the bottom of the ball with your right palm, with a straight wrist and stiff hand.
  • The ball should be hit at the highest point, after you throw it in the air.
  • It is better not to hit the ball on its way down. For that, take care that you do not throw the ball too high!
  • Once you strike the ball, run back to your position on the court.
  • Remember these 4 words―toss, step, hit, and follow-through, to serve a volleyball overhand.

This might seem easy to read, but there is a fair chance that if you are just starting off, you may not be able to get it right immediately. There is no need to be disappointed. Remember, practice makes a man perfect.

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!

Volleyball Drills for Beginners

A game of volleyball, in whatever form, is a good exercise. If you are new to the game, good drills may help you in learning effective techniques in a short time. If you are an old timer, then beginner level drills can help in shaping up or replacing bad techniques with the good ones.

Toss and Pass

To practice these training exercises you will need a buddy, who is willing and interested to play with you. These simple workouts will go a long way to help build your self-confidence. You start off by tossing a ball to your buddy. After dealing with a preset number (10 per head, maybe) of tosses, your buddy tosses the ball to you. When both of you are proficient in passing the tossed ball, it is time to pass the ball back and forth. This will make the training fast, interesting, and competitive.

Wall Hitting

You can practice, even when you are alone. What you need is a ball, a wall, and willingness to apply your skills. Choose a spot on the wall to hit and try to hit the spot when tossing the ball. Instead of many hasty trials, concentrate on achieving accuracy by employing proper arm swing techniques, whilst hitting the tossed ball.

This is how you do it: Toss the ball, take a step and try to hit the spot on the wall. Deal yourself a set of 10 tosses and the next set for your buddy, just for the sake of competition. You can vary your style by tossing the ball, raising your arms, and angling the ball to hit the ground. Be prepared to play your next shot, when the ball bounces off the ground and comes seeking you.

Wall Block

Blocking is as important as hitting the ball. Therefore, learning the block is of utmost importance. Position yourself in front of a wall. Adopt the proper blocking position and jump as high as you can to touch the wall. The purpose is to touch the wall, i.e., to imitate you have executed a block, as high as you can, whilst following the proper blocking technique. It is important to land on the floor in the proper position, so that you are ready to follow with the next block, if needed. When perfected, it hones your defensive skills to a great extent.

Ball in Play

The following will help you to keep the ball in play for a long time. Here’s how to do it. Ask your buddy to stand on the other side of the net. Toss the ball and start passing it to each other. If you cannot get to the ball in time, bump it for yourself and then set it across the net. Does it feel like a duel? Yes, it does. The aim is to hone your skills in sending the ball to the other side of the net with accuracy.

Serving the Ball

You and your buddy should stand on the baselines of the court, across the net, and facing each other. The idea is to serve the ball to each other. Initially, you can start serving from inside the baseline, which will bring you close to net. As both of you get comfortable in serving to the other side of the net, start moving to the baseline. After that, start serving from behind the baseline with the other player occupying different spots on the court.

Many people know about the game but very few take the pains to learn it. The aforementioned drills are easy to follow and are a must to perfect your skills. Their basic purpose is to synchronize your hand-eye-and-body coordination and enhance your skills to place the volleyball at the selected spot.

Volleyball Positions on the Court

Quite a popular game, the objective of volleyball is the grounding of a ball from one team on other team’s court. There must be quite a few instances, where you may have heard words, like setter, libero, and so on. For the players, this is an everyday affair. They hear these words in and out, and are expected to be proficient about the game – regarding positions, player duties, court dimensions, etc. A layman, however, is not aware of the game’s jargon, positions, and rules. If you wish to understand a game of volleyball with intricacy, the article below will provide you some information about the different volleyball positions on the court.

Volleyball Positions – Players
Player positions


A setter is one who sets the game off and a team’s attack. It is akin to what a quarterback does in American Football. An offense of a team is unleashed by a setter.

Outside Hitter

An outside hitter attacks close to the position of the left antenna. The most consist of the lot, he gains maximum number of sets for a team.

Middle Hitter

Those attacks that made close to the setter and are very fast are done by a middle hitter. Typically, these attacks take place close to the setter. They are experts in blocking and attempt equally strong attacking shots from the opponents.


This player holds the fort for the defense and takes the responsibility of the serve and attack. They normally have the best passing skills and quickest reaction time.

Opposite Hitter

An opposite hitter takes the burden off the defense for a team and is stationed in the first row. Their main job is to put up a strong block to nullify the opponent team’s outside hitters. They can also double up as backup setters. This is one of the very important positions.

Volleyball positions and numbers, basically depend on the kind of formation a team has. The most common formation for a volley ball team is a 6-2 formation. In such a formation, there are two setters, and all the 6 players can act as attackers at different phases of the game. These formations keep changing and players are rotated.

Volleyball Positions – Court
Court positions

Right Back

This is the primary position for a team on a court. A setter normally serves from this spot. This player is in rotation in the back court on the right side. During a rotation, a player getting in the right back position gets to serve.

Right Front

To describe in simple terms, the player who stands right in front of the Right back is the right front. So, basically, a player in this position is close to the net dividing the court, on the right hand side.

Middle Front

This player is at the net, in the center and is a rotation position. As the name suggests, this player is in the middle of the court, from a team’s playing area.

Left Front

This is the attack position and as the name goes, on the left side of the court. The player who is in left front is more often than not an outside hitter. In case there is a rotation, sometimes right side hitter or opposite hitter plays in that position.

Left Back

This is the spot at the left end corner of a team’s playing area. Liberos play in this position. If there is a rotation, the middle blockers play alternatively in this position, after his or her serve. Post-serve, the libero chips in for the middle blocker.

Middle Back

Normally, what happens is a middle hitter starts the game on this position in the line up. But then, he is substituted by a libero, who is a specialist ‘back bencher’ preceding the first serve. Sometimes, even outside hitters can play in middle back position, which gives them a chance to attack well.

Finally, it is all about skill, agility, and quick reflexes, which wins team a game. A collective effort is what is the key to the success of a volleyball team, just like Earvin Johnson, aka Magic Johnson said, “Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates.”