How to Play Volleyball For Beginners: 5 Easy steps

Want to learn volleyball? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This is an incredibly fun sport that’s like a combination of tennis and handball. It’s also the most popular sport in the world, right next to soccer. Most people fall in love with volleyball because there’s nothing more exhilarating than sending an explosive attack right past your opponent’s face and into the ground. If you’re tired of just watching games on-screen and want to start hitting a ball around, you’d do well to learn the basics.

This article will show you the basics of volleyball and how to play it.

Step 1: Understand the moves

Each player makes use of five fundamental moves.

Passing

This is when you pass the ball to another player. You do this with a simple underhanded bump to lift the ball to your teammate.

Setting

This is where you prepare the ball at a specific angle for your teammates to take a shot. Setting is as important as hitting the ball. You will always need a good setter and good striker to score points. Volleyball is a team sport, and teamwork can make or break a game.

Spiking

The one move everyone knows even if they don’t play volleyball. This is when a player runs up, jumps in the air, and smashes the ball, spiking it over the net and past the faces of the opposing team.

Beginners tend to focus on this move at the expense of their other skills. A good spike can win the game, but don’t neglect skills like passing and blocking. Those aren’t as flashy, but give you much more control over the game in the long run.

Blocking

The most essential skill in volleyball. Jumping with your arms held high in the air, ready to overcome any shot. Blocking a ball allows you to set up for the all-important counterattack.

Digging

The move that saves games. The opponent strikes the ball, past your defenses. You dive forward in the air and bump the ball up so that a teammate can strike it back or pass it along to someone else.

The Middle Blocker

This role is ideal for the tallest member of your team. This position is ideal for defense. They block the opponent’s shots and act as decoys.

Step 2: Learn the rules

There are six players on each team at all times. Each team is separated by a net. The goal of the game? To send the volleyball over the net and into the opposing team’s boundary.

You can also get a point if the opposing team commits a fault. What’s a fault?

A fault is a game violation. The most common faults are:

  • Stepping over the line when you serve.
  • Touching the net.
  • Hitting the ball out of bounds.
  • Hitting the ball in a way so you don’t hold the ball or palm, throw, or carry it.
  • Hitting the ball more than three times.
  • Using an object or structure not part of the game to reach the ball.
  • Touching the ball more than once in succession with your body.
  • Interfering with the opposing team physically at the net.
  • Touching the ball when it’s in your opponent’s space. Especially likely to happen during altercations at the net.

So how do you start a game? One person starts the serve. The server serves the ball from one side of the court to the other. To keep the game going, you have to hit the ball back into the opposing side of the court. That’s where strategy comes in.

You can hit the ball to your teammates a total of three times before you need to hit the ball into the opponent’s side. Your opponents will try to line up in a way so they can block your strike. Your goal is to bypass their defenses by striking in a spot they don’t expect you to hit. Or by striking at a spot they can’t defend.

Overview of how volleyball players rotate over the court. Made with Canva

If your team scores a point, the players need to rotate their position in the court in a clockwise direction. Because of this clockwise rotation, your players will end up playing in every position at least once. The same happens with the opposing team.

You play for the best of five games (for men) and three games (for women). The winning team has to score at least 25 points and have at least a 2 points lead over the other team.

So what are the different positions?

Step 3: How teams work: positions

You have six players on your team. Three at the front, and three at the back. The front line is the offensive line. The backline is the defensive line. Each spot has a different role and responsibility.

The Outside Hitter

This person is your main attack force. They stand at the front left of the court. They need to be able to jump well, attack well and have a good strong arm to spike the ball with.

The Right Side Hitter

The players in this position also attack but generally stand at your front right. They do everything your Outside Hitter does but from another position on the court.

The Opposite Hitter

This position demands both offensive and defensive skills. This role will need a strong arm to block shots. They also need to be ready to set the ball if the setter can’t do it. What’s a Setter?

The Setter

This person is your primary strategist. They need to work well with the team and make decisions on the spot. The Setter needs to understand the opposing team’s weaknesses and attack them. They prepare potential shots in a way so that their teammates can score easily.

The Libero

This role requires strong defensive skills. They need to be able to receive powerful spikes and pass the ball to their teammates. This player is at the back of the court and can enter and leave the game without after every really, without it counting as a substitution. They can also replace any player at any given moment.

Which position do you like the most? Players can have a strong preference for a position but usually end up playing all the roles. So your role is never set in stone.

Step 4: Grab your gear

If you want to get started with volleyball, there are a few things you’ll need to know. First, it’s crucial that you wear the right clothing. If you plan on playing on a court, you should wear sweatpants and sneakers or volleyball shoes. You can also play in shorts and sneakers (recommended for beginners). If you don’t plan on playing on a court, just wear clothes that are comfortable and allow for easy movement. Scrunchies or hair ties can also be useful.

To play it in your garden, you just need a net. There are great bundles available so it is easy to grab one of these and set it up. This can allow you to play with your friends and get a feel for this game. Everything is included in these kits so you don’t have to think about what gear you need.

If you play beach volleyball, you don’t need shoes. You might consider wearing sunglasses though so that you can see the ball at all times.

Step 5: Get started

It can be overwhelming to start playing volleyball. Everyone has to start somewhere and often players are willing to explain things that you don’t understand. It can take several months before you understand all the nuances of the game. Players typically start with improving their skills and later on they start to learn how to play together and how to read the game. The learning curve is quite steep at first as volleyball is quite complex. Stick to it and you will know the basics before you know it. There are always new things to learn and try. This keeps volleyball challenging and fun.

Joining a volleyball club is generally quite straightforward. You can choose between club and casual volleyball. Club volleyball is quite intense as you have to attend multiple training sessions per week. Casual volleyball is more non-committal.

To conclude we can state that volleyball is a team sport and ball sport. You need ball-handling skills. Once you have these, you can learn the rules of the game. Once these have been mastered, you can learn how to play together with other people.

As a beginner you might think about the drawbacks of volleyball .and wonder if it is something for you. Give it a try, you won’t regret it!