Volleyball - Common Terms


  • Rally − A ball is serviced by a player and players of both teams hit it till a foul is committed or ball falls on the ground. This period, from the point it is put to service till it halts is called a rally. It is a complete rally if one of the teams scores a point.

  • Service − Players hit the ball with their fist, wrist, or arm, from the service zone and it has to move above the net to the other teams play zone.

  • Warm up sessions − Players can get used to the environment and practice in a short six to ten minute warm up sessions before the actual game begins.

  • Attack hit − The hit that sends the ball to the opponent side.

  • Positional Fault − Players are numbered in anti-clockwise starting from the player in extreme right position in the back row. So, players in the front row are numbered 4, 3 and 2 and players in the back row are numbered 5, 6 and 1 from left to right. They should lie in the same positions declared before beginning a set, when ball is served, else they earn a fault. However, after the service they may move within their court.

  • Rotational Fault − If a receiving team earns a chance to serve, its players change positions and move clockwise, i.e. player in 1st position moves to 6th player in 2nd position moves to 1st, etc. Not changing positions according to this order leads to a fault. An exception to this rule is the Libero who cannot serve or enter the front court.

  • Four Hit Foul − Three players in the receiving team may hit the ball consecutively and the fourth hit should deliver the ball to the other side, failing so will earn them a four hit fault.

  • Double Contact − Players should hit the ball to a teammate or to the other team. Simultaneous hitting leads to a fault.

  • Assisted Hit − Players shouldn’t receive help from their teammates or any other objects like posts to hit the ball.

  • Serving Fault − Players should serve according to the serving order. They should hit the ball according to the rules and when instructed. Not complying with these rules leads to a serving fault.

  • Double fault − If opponents commit faults successively, they have to play the rally again. This scenario is called a Double Fault

  • Blocking − Players near the net may jump and hit the ball near the net after an attack hit. Sometimes the ball doesn’t even completely cross the net. This action is referred to as blocking.

  • Crossing space − The gap or space between the antennae and above the net is termed as Crossing Space. This space can also extend to the roofs inside the indoor courts. The ball should cross the net only through the crossing space.