The Complete Rules of Volleyball (Abridged)


  1. JV always plays 3 games. The first two games are to 25 points, while the third is to 15 points.
  2. Varsity plays to the best 3 out of 5 games. The first four games are to 25 points. If there is a Game 5, it is to 15 points.
  3. Every serve results in a point for the team that wins the rally. A "rally" is what happens after the ball gets served and before it hits the floor.
  4. Bad Things™:
    1. The same player hitting the ball twice in a row.
    2. Touching the net.
    3. Holding the ball for a while (more than a quarter-second or so), known as a "lift," or a "carry."


  1. When the team that served the ball loses a rally, the other team gets to serve.
  2. First, the team rotates. Everybody on the team that's about to serve moves one position clockwise.
  3. The person in the back right position stands off the end of the court. That person smacks the ball as hard as they can at the other team. That's a serve.
  4. If the server steps on the line or into the court before they hit the ball, they lose the serve. If they threw the ball as part of their serve, they may let it drop and take another toss exactly one time per rotation. Catching the ball is Bad—you lose the serve.
  5. If the serve hits the top of the net and rolls onto the other side, we call it "really good" and the server gets a point. If it falls back onto the server's side instead, we call it "really close," and the other team gets to serve. These are called "let serves," although nobody knows why.
  6. If the serving team wins the rally, the same player gets to serve again (per rule 3, above). If the receiving team wins the rally, they get to serve instead (per rule 1, above).
  7. Whichever team gets the ball also gets a point. This is called "Rally Scoring." No two people can talk about rally scoring without getting into an argument over whether it's good or bad.


  1. After the serve, each team tries to send the ball onto the other side of the court. A team may touch the ball no more than three times. The same player can't touch the ball twice in a row. Once somebody on the other team touches the ball, you get three more tries to put it over the net and in.
  2. A ball is "in" if any part of the ball touches any part of the line, or if the ball is fully on the court. If the ball lands in on your side, or if your team hits the ball out, you lose the rally. If the ball lands in on the other team's side, you win the rally.