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College Volleyball Rules

By Cleveland Van Cecil

Volleyball is a sport for all ages. The rules are simple, but a lot of thought has gone into making them fair and reliable across the board. College rules will vary from high school rules, as pro rules will vary from amateur play.


The server is only allowed to release the ball once in an attempt to serve. The ball, when serving, must leave the hand, to that it is hit free from a holding position. The server must stand behind what is called the service line, a line across the back of the court, and must not pass the service line until the ball has been hit.

Playing Area

The playing area is broken up into seven sections. The free zone is the main playing area, and the sidelines and endlines mark this. The centerline is underneath the net, extending from one end of the court to the other, separating the two free zones. The attack line extends across the court from one side line to another. Front zone is the area between the attack line and the centerline. There is also a substitution zone where players waiting to enter the game can stand.


A team is six players. The person in the right-back position is called Position One, and each player is numbered this way, counter clock-wise up to Position Six.

Libero Player

A team has the option to nominate one player as a defensive player, otherwise called a libero. This person can only play in the back row, cannot serve or block any shot from the opposing team. A libero can not be substituted as a normal player would, and usually there is a restriction how many times this can happen.


These are players on the team bench, in uniform and ready to play. A substitute area is where these players can warm-up. These players can be brought in between plays.

Team Captain

Before a game, one player of the team is nominated as the captain. This player remains the captain as long as he is in play on the court. When this captain leaves the court, either the captain or the coach will nominate a substitute captain. This is the only player allowed to talk to referees. As for the coach, a coach is allowed to talk to the players on court between sets. This must be done in the warmup or substitution area. The coach is not allowed to enter the substitution zone during normal play.


Scoring for volleyball is relatively simple. A point is scored when the serving team's ball hits the ground in the opponents court without going over the foul line. If it is not the team's serve when when they land the ball in the opposing team's court, they now get to serve. If the opposing team creates a fault or receives a penalty, you receive a point. A game or set is one when one team scores 25 points by at least a two-point lead. Otherwise, play is continued until one of the teams has a two-point advantage. A team wins a match when it wins two out of three sets or games.

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