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Old Volleyball Rules

By Sam Amico

Volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G. Gordon, a Massachusetts YMCA instructor. Since then, it has undergone a number of rules changes.

Same Purpose of Scoring

Volleyball scoring in volleyball is unchanged. You want the ball to touch the ground or floor inbounds on the opponent's side.

Scoring Changes

Prior to 1999, only the serving team could score points and official sets were 15 points. Now either team can score regardless of who serves and most sets within the best-of-three match are played to 25 points.

Three Hits

Before 1920, when a rule permitting just three hits per side was instituted, teams could hit the ball as many times as it took to get it over the net.

Serving Changes

Originally, a ball hitting the net on a serve meant a change of possession. Since 2000, serves can hit the net and the ball remains live, provided that it falls onto the opponent's side of the court.


The three games within a volleyball match were referred to as a "game" when the sport began. In 2008 the NCAA determined that a "game" would now be called a "set."

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