A team sport featuring two teams of six players. Each team aims to score points by striking a ball over the net and grounding it on their opponent's side of the court.
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What is volleyball?

One teams begins a 'rally' by serving the ball, which is done by tossing or releasing it and then hitting it with a hand or arm. The opposing team are then allowed a maximum of three 'touches' to return the ball over the net and play continues.

Any member of the receiving team may touch the ball. A player cannot touch the ball twice consecutively but could have the first and third touch before the ball is returned. If a player violates this rule, then they concede the point.

A traditional match is the best of five sets, with each set won by the first team to reach 25 points provided they are ahead by a minimum of two points. If the match does go to five sets, the final set is often the first to reach 15 points, rather than 25.

Find out more about how to play volleyball formats.

Equipment needed

  • Volleyballs (or balls suitable to competency / age range)
  • Net
  • Suitable playing space

A brief history of volleyball

Volleyball can be traced back to 19th century United States where it was designed to be played indoors with no set number of players. Over time the rules were standardised and the sport grew in popularity, with the first country outside of the US to play volleyball being Canada. Today, volleyball is played internationally and has influenced various formats of the sport, including beach volleyball.

Volleyball has featured at the Olympics since 1964 and medals have been very evenly distributed in the event’s history. Brazil, as a country still competing in the Olympic Games, hold the title of the most medals, with the United States hot on their heels with an even number of medals but short by one gold. 

Get involved

The School Games is inclusive to all young people and provides opportunities for everyone to get involved, either within school, against other local schools, or at county or regional level.

School Games Organisers

School Games Organisers (SGO) help schools coordinate appropriate competitive opportunities for all young people from Key Stage 2-4, to recruit, train and deploy a suitable workforce, and to support the development of club.

Sign up to find your local SGO

Quick and easy volleyball activities

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