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What do you need to get a game going?

Somewhere to play. You can get a game of volleyball going almost anywhere – play it in the park, on the beach, in your back garden or even in the pool. An official volleyball court is 18m x 9m (or 16m x 8m on the beach), but fit your game to whatever space you have available.

Ball and net. You can use any good-sized ball, just make sure it’s not too hard or you’ll hurt your hands and wrists. A beach ball is a good one to start with. If you don’t have a net, just use a piece of string or a washing line tied between a couple of posts, trees, camper vans…use your imagination! Net height is normally somewhere between 2.2m and 2.4m, but again this can be flexible depending on what you’re using as posts!

Two Teams. Normally you’d have six people for a full team (or two for beach), but you can play with two people upwards. If you’re feeling really active, you can even have a game with one person on each side

The basic rules of volleyball

The main objective of volleyball is to stop the ball hitting the ground anywhere on your side of the net with just three touches - whilst trying to make it hit the ground on your opponent’s side of the court.

  • The server stands at the back of the court and can serve either over- or under-arm into the opponent’s side of the court
  • The opposing team is allowed a maximum of three touches on their side of the court before they must send the ball back over the net
  • The player cannot touch the ball twice in two consecutive touches but could on the first and third contact.
  • The ball must be hit - not caught
  • The ball can be played off the net during a rally
  • Whichever team wins the point then goes on to serve
  • Every time your team wins the serve from the other team your players rotate their position on court – clockwise so that everyone gets a chance to serve

Teams win points by:

Hitting the ball to the floor of the opponent's court within the court’s boundaries. When the other team makes a mistake such as hitting the ball more than three times, or hitting it into the net or out of bounds


The first team to 25 points wins (or 21 points if you’re playing on the beach) - but must be 2 points clear. If you’re pushed for time the match can be time-based with the team with the most amount of points by a certain time crowned as the winners.

Jargon Buster

  • A defensive pass usually played from close to the ground on your forearms to stop the ball hitting the ground, normally following a spike or serve from your opponents
  • Putting the ball high in the air, usually on the second of the team’s three permitted touches, to enable a team mate to spike it
  • To smash the ball ‘over arm’ into your opponent's court
  • Preventing an attacking ball from your opponents from coming over the net by forming a ‘wall’ of hands at the net
  • When the ball is served to the other team and none of your opponents touch it
  • To knock the ball off an opposing block so it lands out of bounds