1. Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting"
a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules. Basketball is one of the world's
most popular and widely viewed sports.
A regulation basketball hoop consists of a rim 18 inches in diameter and 10 feet high mounted to
a backboard. A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the hoop during regular play.
A field goal scores two points for the shooting team if a player is touching or closer to the hoop than
the three-point line, and three points (a "3 pointer") if the player is "outside" the three-point line. The team
with more points at the end of the game wins, but additional time (overtime) may be issued when the
game ends with a tie. The ball can be advanced on the court by bouncing it while walking or running
(dribbling) or passing it to a teammate. It is a violation (traveling) to walk with the ball, carry it, or to double
dribble (to hold the ball and then resume dribbling).
Various violations are generally called "fouls". Disruptive physical contact (a personal foul) is penalized,
and a free throw is usually awarded to an offensive player if he is fouled while shooting the ball.
A technical foul may also be issued when certain infractions occur, most commonly forunsportsmanlike
conduct on the part of a player or coach. A technical foul gives the opposing team a free throw.
Basketball has evolved many commonly used techniques of shooting, passing, and dribbling, as well as
specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures (player positioning) and techniques.
Typically, the tallest members of a team will play "center", "power forward" or "small forward" positions,
while shorter players or those who possess the best ball handling skills and speed play "point guard" or
While competitive basketball is carefully regulated, numerous variations of basketball have developed for
casual play. Competitive basketball is primarily an indoor sport played on carefully marked and
maintained basketball courts, but less regulated variations are often played outdoors in both inner city
and rural areas.
In early December 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a physical education professor and instructor at the
International Young Men's Christian Association Training School (YMCA) (today, Springfield College)
in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA), was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day. He sought a
vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New
England winters. After rejecting other ideas as either too rough or poorly suited to walled-in gymnasiums,
he wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot (3.05 m) elevated track. In contrast with
modern basketball nets, this peach basket retained its bottom, and balls had to be retrieved manually
after each "basket" or point scored; this proved inefficient, however, so the bottom of the basket was
removed, allowing the balls to be poked out with a long dowel each time.
Basketball was originally played with an association football. The first balls made specifically for
basketball were brown, and it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would
be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball that is now in common use.
Dribbling was not part of the original game except for the "bounce pass" to teammates. Passing the ball
was the primary means of ball movement. Dribbling was eventually introduced but limited by the
2. asymmetric shape of early balls. Dribbling only became a major part of the game around the 1950s, as
manufacturing improved the ball shape.
The peach baskets were used until 1906 when they were finally replaced by metal hoops with
backboards. A further change was soon made, so the ball merely passed through. Whenever a person
got the ball in the basket, his team would gain a point. Whichever team got the most points won the
game. The baskets were originally nailed to the mezzanine balcony of the playing court, but this proved
impractical when spectators on the balcony began to interfere with shots. The backboard was introduced
to prevent this interference; it had the additional effect of allowing rebound shots. Naismith's handwritten
diaries, discovered by his granddaughter in early 2006, indicate that he was nervous about the new game
he had invented, which incorporated rules from a children's game called "Duck on a Rock", as many had
failed before it. Naismith called the new game "Basket Ball". The first official game was played in
the YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York on January 20, 1892 with nine players. The game ended at
1–0; the shot was made from 25 feet (7.6 m), on a court just half the size of a present-
dayStreetball or National Basketball Association (NBA) court. By 1897–1898 teams of five became
Rules and regulations
Main article: Rules of basketball
Measurements and time limits discussed in this section often vary among tournaments and organizations;
international and NBA rules are used in this section.
The object of the game is to outscore one's opponents by throwing the ball through the opponents' basket
from above while preventing the opponents from doing so on their own. An attempt to score in this way is
called a shot. A successful shot is worth two points, or three pointsif it is taken from beyond the three-
point arc which is 6.25 metres (20 ft 6 in) from the basket in international games and 23 feet 9 inches
(7.24 m) in NBA games. A one-point shot can be earned when shooting from the foul line after a foul is
Games are played in four quarters of 10 (FIBA) or 12 minutes (NBA). College games use two 20-
minute halves, while high school varsity games use 8 minute quarters. 15 minutes are allowed for a
half-time break under FIBA, NBA, and NCAA rules and 10 minutes in high
school. Overtime periods are five minutes in length except for high school which is four minutes
in length. Teams exchange baskets for the second half. The time allowed is actual playing time; the
clock is stopped while the play is not active. Therefore, games generally take much longer to complete
than the allotted game time, typically about two hours.
Five players from each team may be on the court at one time. Substitutions are unlimited but
can only be done when play is stopped. Teams also have a coach, who oversees the development and
strategies of the team, and other team personnel such as assistant coaches, managers, statisticians,
doctors and trainers.
3. For both men's and women's teams, a standard uniform consists of a pair of shorts and a jersey with a
clearly visible number, unique within the team, printed on both the front and back. Players wear high-
top sneakers that provide extra ankle support. Typically, team names, players' names and, outside of
North America, sponsors are printed on the uniforms.
A limited number of time-outs, clock stoppages requested by a coach (or sometimes mandated in the
NBA) for a short meeting with the players, are allowed. They generally last no longer than one minute
(100 seconds in the NBA) unless, for televised games, a commercial break is needed.
The game is controlled by the officials consisting of the referee (referred to as crew chief in the NBA), one
or two umpires (referred to as referees in the NBA) and the table officials. For college, the NBA, and
many high schools, there are a total of three referees on the court. The table officials are responsible for
keeping track of each teams scoring, timekeeping, individual and team fouls, player substitutions,
teampossession arrow, and the shot clock.
Main articles: Basketball (ball), Basketball court, and Backboard (basketball)
The only essential equipment in a basketball game is the basketball and the court: a flat, rectangular
surface with baskets at opposite ends. Competitive levels require the use of more equipment such as
clocks, score sheets, scoreboard(s), alternating possession arrows, and whistle-operated stop-clock
4. An outdoor basketball net.
A regulation basketball court in international games is 91.9 feet long and 49.2 feet wide. In
the NBA andNCAA the court is 94 feet by 50 feet. Most courts have wood flooring, usually constructed
from mapleplanks running in the same direction as the longer court dimension. The name and logo of
the home team is usually painted on or around the center circle.
The basket is a steel rim 18 inches diameter with an attached net affixed to a backboard that measures 6
feet by 3.5 feet and one basket is at each end of the court. The white outlined box on the backboard is 18
inches high and 2 feet wide. At almost all levels of competition, the top of the rim is exactly 10 feet above
the court and 4 feet inside the baseline. While variation is possible in the dimensions of the court and
backboard, it is considered important for the basket to be of the correct height – a rim that is off by just a
few inches can have an adverse effect on shooting.
The size of the basketball is also regulated. For men, the official ball is 29.5 inches in circumference (size
7, or a "295 ball") and weighs 22 oz. If women are playing, the official basketball size is 28.5 inches in
circumference (size 6, or a "285 ball") with a weight of 20 oz.
The ball may be advanced toward the basket by being shot, passed between players, thrown, tapped,
rolled or dribbled (bouncing the ball while running).
The ball must stay within the court; the last team to touch the ball before it travels out of bounds forfeits
possession. The ball is out of bounds if touches or crosses over a boundary line, or touches a player who
is out of bounds. This is in contrast to other sports such as football, volleyball, and tennis (but
not rugby or American football) where the ball (or player) is still considered in if any part of it is touching a
The ball-handler may not move both feet without dribbling, an infraction known as traveling, nor dribble
with both hands or catch the ball in between dribbles, a violation called double dribbling. A player's hand
cannot be under the ball while dribbling; doing so is known as carrying the ball. A team, once having
established ball control in the front half of the court, may not return the ball to the backcourt and be the
first to touch it. The ball may not be kicked, nor be struck with the fist. A violation of these rules results in
loss of possession, or, if committed by the defense, a reset of the shot clock (with some exceptions in the
There are limits imposed on the time taken before progressing the ball past halfway (8 seconds in FIBA
and the NBA; 10 seconds in NCAA men's play and high school for both sexes, but no limit in NCAA
women's play), before attempting a shot (24 seconds in FIBA and the NBA, 30 seconds in NCAA
women's and Canadian Interuniversity Sport play for both sexes, and 35 seconds in NCAA men's play),
holding the ball while closely guarded (5 seconds), and remaining in the restricted area below the foul line
(the lane, or "key") (3 seconds). These rules are designed to promote more offense.
No player may touch the ball on its downward flight to the basket, unless the ball has no chance of
entering the basket (goaltending). In addition, no player may touch the ball while it is on or in the basket;
when any part of the ball is in the cylinder above the basket (the area extended upwards from the basket);
or when the ball is outside the cylinder, if the player reaches through the basket and touches it. This
violation is known as "basket interference". If a defensive player goaltends or commits basket
interference, the basket is awarded and the offending team gets the ball. If a teammate of the shooter
5. goaltends or commits interference, the basket is cancelled and play continues with the defensive team
being given possession.
The referee signals that a foul has been committed.
Main articles: Personal foul (basketball) and Technical foul
An attempt to unfairly disadvantage an opponent through physical contact is illegal and is called a foul.
These are most commonly committed by defensive players; however, they can be committed by offensive
players as well. Players who are fouled either receive the ball to pass inbounds again, or receive one or
more free throws if they are fouled in the act of shooting, depending on whether the shot was successful.
One point is awarded for making a free throw, which is attempted from a line 15 feet (4.6 m) from the
The referee may use discretion in calling fouls (for example, by considering whether an unfair advantage
was gained), sometimes making fouls controversial calls or no-calls. The calling of fouls can vary between
games, leagues and even among referees.
A player or coach who shows poor sportsmanship, such as by arguing with a referee or by fighting with
another player, can be charged with a more serious foul called a technical foul. The penalty involves free
throws (where, unlike a personal foul, the other team can choose any player to shoot) and varies among
leagues. Repeated incidents can result in disqualification. Blatant fouls with excessive contact or that are
not an attempt to play the ball are called intentional fouls (or flagrant fouls in the NBA). In FIBA, a foul
resulting in ejection is called a disqualifying foul, while in leagues other than the NBA, such a foul is
referred to as flagrant.
If a team exceeds a certain limit of team fouls in a given period (quarter or half) – four for NBA and
international games – the opposing team is awarded one or two free throws on all subsequent non-
shooting fouls for that period, the number depending on the league. In the US college and high school
games, if a team reaches 7 fouls in a half, the opposing team is awarded one free throw, along with a
second shot if the first is made. This is called shooting "one-and-one". If a team exceeds 10 fouls in the
half, the opposing team is awarded two free throws on all subsequent fouls for the half.
6. When a team shoots foul shots, the opponents may not interfere with the shooter, nor may they try to
regain possession until the last or potentially last free throw is in the air.
After a team has committed a specified number of fouls, it is said to be "in the penalty". On scoreboards,
this is usually signified with an indicator light reading "Bonus" or "Penalty" with an illuminated directional
arrow indicating that team is to receive free throws when fouled by the opposing team. (Some
scoreboards also indicate the number of fouls committed.)
If a team misses the first shot of a two-shot situation, the opposing team must wait for the completion of
the second shot before attempting to reclaim possession of the ball and continuing play.
If a player is fouled while attempting a shot and the shot is unsuccessful, the player is awarded a number
of free throws equal to the value of the attempted shot. A player fouled while attempting a regular two-
point shot, then, receives two shots. A player fouled while attempting a three-point shot, on the other
hand, receives three shots.
If a player is fouled while attempting a shot and the shot is successful, typically the player will be awarded
one additional free throw for one point. In combination with a regular shot, this is called a "three-point
play" or "four-point play" (or more colloquially, an "and one") because of the basket made at the time of
the foul (2 or 3 points) and the additional free throw (1 point).
Basketball - Basic Skills
Dribbling - Dribbling is a crucial skill in basketball. Learn how to control the ball at game speed
and keep the ball away from the opposition. Staying low and keeping the ball at waist level will
help you keep possession. Always dribble with your head up and look for your teammates. No double
dribbling - when you have stopped dribbling the ball, you must either pass the ball to a teammate or
take a shot. To check out some drills for improving your dribbling.
Passing - Passing is the best way to keep possession of the basketball and is a faster way of
moving the ball up the court than dribbling. There are three main kinds of passes in basketball:
the bounce pass, the chest pass and the overhead pass.
Shooting - If you can't shoot, then you won't score, so shooting is one of the most important
basketball skills to develop. Learn the three basic shots: the layup, the set shot and the jump
Pivot - Pivoting with the basketball alows you to change direction and look for a pass or shot.
Remember not to move your pivot foot.
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to
score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules. It has been a part of
the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since 1964.
A scene of Volleyball play in Ervadi village.
The complete rules are extensive. But simply, play proceeds as follows: A player on one of the teams
begins a 'rally' by serving the ball (tossing or releasing it and then hitting it with a hand or arm), from
behind the back boundary line of the court, over the net, and into the receiving team's court. The receiving
team must not let the ball be grounded within their court. They may touch the ball as many as three times.
Typically, the first two touches are used to set up for an attack, an attempt to direct the ball back over the
net in such a way that the serving team is unable to prevent it from being grounded in their court.
The rally continues, with each team allowed as many as three consecutive touches, until either (1): a
team makes a kill, grounding the ball on the opponent's court and winning the rally; or (2): a team
commits a fault and loses the rally. The team that wins the rally is awarded a point, and serves the ball to
start the next rally. A few of the most common faults include:
causing the ball to touch the ground outside the opponents' court or without first passing over the net;
catching and throwing the ball;
double hit: two consecutive contacts with the ball made by the same player;
four consecutive contacts with the ball made by the same team.
net foul: touching the net during play.
The ball is usually played with the hands or arms, but players can legally strike or push (short contact) the
ball with any part of the body.
A number of consistent techniques have evolved in volleyball, including spiking andblocking (because
these plays are made above the top of the net, the vertical jump is an athletic skill emphasized in the
sport) as well as passing, setting, and specialized player positions and offensive and defensive
Origin of volleyball
William G. Morgan
On February 9, 1895, in Holyoke, Massachusetts (USA), William G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education
director, created a new game called Mintonette as a pastime to be played preferably indoors and by any
number of players. The game took some of its characteristics from tennis and handball. Another indoor
sport,basketball, was catching on in the area, having been invented just ten miles (sixteen kilometers)
away in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, only four years before. Mintonette was designed to be an
indoor sport less rough than basketball for older members of the YMCA, while still requiring a bit of
The first rules, written down by William G Morgan, called for a net 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) high, a 25×50 ft
(7.6×15.2 m) court, and any number of players. A match was composed of nine innings with three serves
for each team in each inning, and no limit to the number of ball contacts for each team before sending the
ball to the opponents’ court. In case of a serving error, a second try was allowed. Hitting the ball into the
net was considered a foul (with loss of the point or a side-out)—except in the case of the first-try serve.
After an observer, Alfred Halstead, noticed the volleying nature of the game at its first exhibition match in
1896, played at the International YMCA Training School (now called Springfield College), the game
quickly became known as volleyball (it was originally spelled as two words: "volley ball"). Volleyball rules
were slightly modified by the International YMCA Training School and the game spread around the
country to various YMCAs.
Rules of the game
9. Volleyball court
The game is played on a volleyball court 18 meters (59 feet) long and 9 meters (29.5 feet) wide, divided
into two 9 m × 9 m halves by a one-meter (40-inch) wide net placed so that the top of the net is 2.43
meters (7 feet 11 5/8 inches) above the center of the court for men's competition, and 2.24 meters (7 feet
4 1/8 inches) for women's competition (these heights are varied for veterans and junior competitions).
There is a line 3 meters from and parallel to the net in each team court which is considered the "attack
line". This "3 meter" (or 10 foot) line divides the court into "back row" and "front row" areas (also back
court and front court). These are in turn divided into 3 areas each: these are numbered as follows,
starting from area "1", which is the position of the serving player:
10. After a team gains the serve (also known as siding out), its members must rotate in a clockwise direction,
with the player previously in area "2" moving to area "1" and so on, with the player from area "1" moving
to area "6".
The team courts are surrounded by an area called the free zone which is a minimum of 3 meters wide
and which the players may enter and play within after the service of the ball. All lines denoting the
boundaries of the team court and the attack zone are drawn or painted within the dimensions of the area
and are therefore a part of the court or zone. If a ball comes in contact with the line, the ball is considered
to be "in". An antenna is placed on each side of the net perpendicular to the sideline and is a vertical
extension of the side boundary of the court. A ball passing over the net must pass completely between
the antennae (or their theoretical extensions to the ceiling) without contacting them.
Main article: Volleyball (ball)
FIVB regulations state that the ball must be spherical, made of leather or synthetic leather, have a
circumference of 65–67 cm, a weight of 260–280 g and an inside pressure of 0.30–0.325 kg/cm . Other
governing bodies have similar regulations.
Buddhist monks play volleyball in theHimalayan state of Sikkim, India.
11. Each team consists of six players. To get play started, a team is chosen to serve by coin toss. A player
from the serving team throws the ball into the air and attempts to hit the ball so it passes over the net on a
course such that it will land in the opposing team's court (the serve). The opposing team must use a
combination of no more than three contacts with the volleyball to return the ball to the opponent's side of
the net. These contacts usually consist first of the bump or passso that the ball's trajectory is aimed
towards the player designated as the setter; second of the set(usually an over-hand pass using wrists to
push finger-tips at the ball) by the setter so that the ball's trajectory is aimed towards a spot where one of
the players designated as an attacker can hit it, and third by the attacker who spikes (jumping, raising one
arm above the head and hitting the ball so it will move quickly down to the ground on the opponent's
court) to return the ball over the net. The team with possession of the ball that is trying to attack the ball
as described is said to be on offense.
The team on defense attempts to prevent the attacker from directing the ball into their court: players at
the net jump and reach above the top (and if possible, across the plane) of the net in order to block the
attacked ball. If the ball is hit around, above, or through the block, the defensive players arranged in the
rest of the court attempt to control the ball with a dig (usually a fore-arm pass of a hard-driven ball). After
a successful dig, the team transitions to offense.
The game continues in this manner, rallying back and forth, until the ball touches the court within the
boundaries or until an error is made. The most frequent errors that are made are either to fail to return the
ball over the net within the allowed three touches, or to cause the ball to land outside the court. A ball is
"in" if any part of it touches a sideline or end-line, and a strong spike may compress the ball enough when
it lands that a ball which at first appears to be going out may actually be in. Players may travel well
outside the court to play a ball that has gone over a sideline or end-line in the air.
Other common errors include a player touching the ball twice in succession, a player "catching" the ball, a
player touching the net while attempting to play the ball, or a player penetrating under the net into the
opponent's court. There are a large number of other errors specified in the rules, although most of them
are infrequent occurrences. These errors include back-row or libero players spiking the ball or blocking
(back-row players may spike the ball if they jump from behind the attack line), players not being in the
correct position when the ball is served, attacking the serve in the front court and above the height of the
net, using another player as a source of support to reach the ball, stepping over the back boundary line
when serving, taking more than 8 seconds to serve, or playing the ball when it is above the opponent's
When the ball contacts the floor within the court boundaries or an error is made, the team that did not
make the error is awarded a point, whether they served the ball or not. If the ball hits the line, the ball is
counted as in. The team that won the point serves for the next point. If the team that won the point served
in the previous point, the same player serves again. If the team that won the point did not serve the
previous point, the players of the team rotate their position on the court in a clockwise manner. The game
continues, with the first team to score 25 points (and be two points ahead) awarded the set. Matches are
best-of-five sets and the fifth set (if necessary) is usually played to 15 points. (Scoring differs between
leagues, tournaments, and levels; high schools sometimes play best-of-three to 25; in the NCAA games
are played best-of-five to 25 as of the 2008 season.)
12. Before 1999, points could be scored only when a team had the serve (side-out scoring) and all sets went
up to only 15 points. The FIVB changed the rules in 1999 (with the changes being compulsory in 2000) to
use the current scoring system (formerly known as rally point system), primarily to make the length of the
match more predictable and to make the game more spectator- and television-friendly.
In 1998 the libero player was introduced internationally. The libero is a player specialized in defensive
skills: the libero must wear a contrasting jersey color from his or her teammates and cannot block or
attack the ball when it is entirely above net height. When the ball is not in play, the libero can replace any
back-row player, without prior notice to the officials. This replacement does not count against the
substitution limit each team is allowed per set, although the libero may be replaced only by the player
whom he or she replaced.
The libero may function as a setter only under certain restrictions. If she/he makes an overhand set,
she/he must be standing behind (and not stepping on) the 3-meter line; otherwise, the ball cannot be
attacked above the net in front of the 3-meter line. An underhand pass is allowed from any part of the
The libero is, generally, the most skilled defensive player on the team. There is also a libero tracking
sheet, where the referees or officiating team must keep track of who the libero subs in and out for. There
may only be one libero per set (game), although there may be a different libero in the beginning of any
new set (game).
Furthermore, a libero is not allowed to serve, according to international rules, with the exception of the
NCAA women's volleyball games, where a 2004 rule change allows the libero to serve, but only in a
specific rotation. That is, the libero can only serve for one person, not for all of the people for whom he or
she goes in. That rule change was also applied to high school and junior high play soon after.
Recent rule changes
Other rule changes enacted in 2000 include allowing serves in which the ball touches the net, as long as
it goes over the net into the opponents' court. Also, the service area was expanded to allow players to
serve from anywhere behind the end line but still within the theoretical extension of the sidelines. Other
changes were made to lighten up calls on faults for carries and double-touches, such as allowing multiple
contacts by a single player ("double-hits") on a team's first contact provided that they are a part of a single
play on the ball.
In 2008, the NCAA changed the minimum number of points needed to win any of the first four sets from
30 to 25 for women's volleyball (men's volleyball remained at 30.) If a fifth (deciding) set is reached, the
minimum required score remains at 15. In addition, the word "game" is now referred to as "set".
Changes in rules have been studied and announced by FIVB in recent years, and they have released the
updated rules in 2009.
Competitive teams master six basic skills: serve, pass, set, attack, block and dig. Each of these skills
comprises a number of specific techniques that have been introduced over the years and are now
considered standard practice in high-level volleyball.
Setting up for an overhand serve.
A player making a jump serve.
A player stands behind the inline and serves the ball, in an attempt to drive it into the opponent's court.
His or her main objective is to make it land inside the court; it is also desirable to set the ball's direction,
speed and acceleration so that it becomes difficult for the receiver to handle it properly. A serve is called
an "ace" when the ball lands directly onto the court or travels outside the court after being touched by an
In contemporary volleyball, many types of serves are employed:
Underhand: a serve in which the player strikes the ball below the waist instead of tossing it up and
striking it with an overhand throwing motion. Underhand serves are considered very easy to receive
and are rarely employed in high-level competitions.
14. Sky ball serve: a specific type of underhand serve occasionally used in beach volleyball, where the
ball is hit so high it comes down almost in a straight line. This serve was invented and employed
almost exclusively by the Brazilian team in the early 1980s and is now considered outdated. In Brazil,
this serve is called Jornada nas Estrelas (Star Trek).
Topspin: an overhand serve where the player tosses the ball high and hits it with a wrist span, giving
it topspin which causes it to drop faster than it would otherwise and helps maintain a straight flight
path. Topspin serves are generally hit hard and aimed at a specific returner or part of the court.
Standing topspin serves are rarely used above the high school level of play.
Float: an overhand serve where the ball is hit with no spin so that its path becomes unpredictable,
akin to a knuckleball in baseball.
Jump serve: an overhand serve where the ball is first tossed high in the air, then the player makes a
timed approach and jumps to make contact with the ball, hitting it with much pace and topspin. This is
the most popular serve amongst college and professional teams.
Jump float: an overhand serve where the ball is tossed high enough that the player may jump before
hitting it similarly to a standing float serve. The ball is tossed lower than a topspin jump serve, but
contact is still made while in the air. This serve is becoming more popular amongst college and
professional players because it has a certain unpredictability in its flight pattern.
A woman making a forearm pass or bump.
Also called reception, the pass is the attempt by a team to properly handle the opponent's serve, or any
form of attack. Proper handling includes not only preventing the ball from touching the court, but also
making it reach the position where the setter is standing quickly and precisely.
The skill of passing involves fundamentally two specific techniques: underarm pass, or bump, where the
ball touches the inside part of the joined forearms or platform, at waist line; and overhand pass, where it
is handled with the fingertips, like a set, above the head. Either are acceptable in professional and beach
volleyball, however there are much tighter regulations on the overhand pass in beach volleyball.
The set is usually the second contact that a team makes with the ball. The main goal of setting is to put
the ball in the air in such a way that it can be driven by an attack into the opponent's court. The setter
coordinates the offensive movements of a team, and is the player who ultimately decides which player will
actually attack the ball.
As with passing, one may distinguish between an overhand and a bump set. Since the former allows for
more control over the speed and direction of the ball, the bump is used only when the ball is so low it
cannot be properly handled with fingertips, or in beach volleyball where rules regulating overhand setting
are more stringent. In the case of a set, one also speaks of a front or back set, meaning whether the ball
is passed in the direction the setter is facing or behind the setter. There is also a jump set that is used
when the ball is too close to the net. In this case the setter usually jumps off his or her right foot straight
up to avoid going into the net. The setter usually stands about ⅔ of the way from the left to the right of the
net and faces the left (the larger portion of net that he or she can see).
Sometimes a setter refrains from raising the ball for a teammate to perform an attack and tries to play it
directly onto the opponent's court. This movement is called a "dump". The most common dumps are to
'throw' the ball behind the setter or in front of the setter to zones 2 and 4. More experienced setters toss
the ball into the deep corners or spike the ball on the second hit.
The attack, also known as the spike, is usually the third contact a team makes with the ball. The object of
attacking is to handle the ball so that it lands on the opponent's court and cannot be defended. A player
makes a series of steps (the "approach"), jumps, and swings at the ball.
16. Ideally the contact with the ball is made at the apex of the hitter's jump. At the moment of contact, the
hitter's arm is fully extended above his or her head and slightly forward, making the highest possible
contact while maintaining the ability to deliver a powerful hit. The hitter uses arm swing, wrist snap, and a
rapid forward contraction of the entire body to drive the ball. A 'bounce' is a slang term for a very
hard/loud spike that follows an almost straight trajectory steeply downward into the opponent's court and
bounces very high into the air. A "kill" is the slang term for an attack that is not returned by the other team
thus resulting in a point.
Contemporary volleyball comprises a number of attacking techniques:
Backcourt (or backrow)/pipe attack: an attack performed by a back row player. The player must jump
from behind the 3-meter line before making contact with the ball, but may land in front of the 3-meter
Line and Cross-court Shot: refers to whether the ball flies in a straight trajectory parallel to the side
lines, or crosses through the court in an angle. A cross-court shot with a very pronounced angle,
resulting in the ball landing near the 3-meter line, is called a cut shot.
Dip/Dink/Tip/Cheat/Dump: the player does not try to make a hit, but touches the ball lightly, so that it
lands on an area of the opponent's court that is not being covered by the defense.
Tool/Wipe/Block-abuse: the player does not try to make a hard spike, but hits the ball so that it
touches the opponent's block and then bounces off-court.
Off-speed hit: the player does not hit the ball hard, reducing its speed and thus confusing the
Quick hit/"One": an attack (usually by the middle blocker) where the approach and jump begin before
the setter contacts the ball. The set (called a "quick set") is placed only slightly above the net and the
ball is struck by the hitter almost immediately after leaving the setter's hands. Quick attacks are often
effective because they isolate the middle blocker to be the only blocker on the hit.
Slide: a variation of the quick hit that uses a low back set. The middle hitter steps around the setter
and hits from behind him or her.
Double quick hit/"Stack"/"Tandem": a variation of quick hit where two hitters, one in front and one
behind the setter or both in front of the setter, jump to perform a quick hit at the same time. It can be
used to deceive opposite blockers and free a fourth hitter attacking from backcourt, maybe without
block at all.
3 players performing a block
17. Blocking refers to the actions taken by players standing at the net to stop or alter an opponent's attack.
A block that is aimed at completely stopping an attack, thus making the ball remain in the opponent's
court, is called offensive. A well-executed offensive block is performed by jumping and reaching to
penetrate with one's arms and hands over the net and into the opponent's area. It requires anticipating
the direction the ball will go once the attack takes place. It may also require calculating the best foot work
to executing the "perfect" block.
The jump should be timed so as to intercept the ball's trajectory prior to it crossing over the net. Palms are
held deflected downward about 45–60 degrees toward the interior of the opponents court. A "roof" is a
spectacular offensive block that redirects the power and speed of the attack straight down to the
attacker's floor, as if the attacker hit the ball into the underside of a peaked house roof.
By contrast, it is called a defensive, or "soft" block if the goal is to control and deflect the hard-driven ball
up so that it slows down and becomes more easy to be defended. A well-executed soft-block is
performed by jumping and placing one's hands above the net with no penetration into the opponent's
court and with the palms up and fingers pointing backward.
Blocking is also classified according to the number of players involved. Thus, one may speak of single (or
solo), double, or triple block.
Successful blocking does not always result in a "roof" and many times does not even touch the ball. While
it’s obvious that a block was a success when the attacker is roofed, a block that consistently forces the
attacker away from his or her 'power' or preferred attack into a more easily controlled shot by the defense
is also a highly successful block.
At the same time, the block position influences the positions where other defenders place themselves
while opponent hitters are spiking.
Woman going for a dig.
Digging is the ability to prevent the ball from touching one's court after a spike or attack, particularly a ball
that is nearly touching the ground. In many aspects, this skill is similar to passing, or bumping: overhand
dig and bump are also used to distinguish between defensive actions taken with fingertips or with joined
arms. It is especially important while digging for players to stay on their toes; several players choose to
employ a split step to make sure they're ready to move in any direction.
18. Some specific techniques are more common in digging than in passing. A player may sometimes perform
a "dive", i.e., throw his or her body in the air with a forward movement in an attempt to save the ball, and
land on his or her chest. When the player also slides his or her hand under a ball that is almost touching
the court, this is called a "pancake". The pancake is frequently used in indoor volleyball.
Sometimes a player may also be forced to drop his or her body quickly to the floor in order to save the
ball. In this situation, the player makes use of a specific rolling technique to minimize the chances of
Volleyball is essentially a game of transition from one of the above skills to the next, with choreographed
team movement between plays on the ball. These team movements are determined by the teams chosen
serve receive system, offensive system, coverage system, and defensive system.
The serve receive system is the formation used by the receiving team to attempt to pass the ball to the
designated setter. Systems can consist of 5 receivers, 4 receivers, 3 receivers, and in some cases 2
receivers. The most popular formation at higher levels is a 3 receiver formation consisting of two left sides
and a libero receiving every rotation.
Offensive systems are the formations used by the offense to attempt to ground the ball in to the opposing
court (or otherwise score points). Formations often include designated player positions and skill
specialization. Popular formations include the 4-2, 6-2, and 5-1 systems described in more detail below.
Coverage systems are the formations used by the offense to protect their court in the case of a blocked
attack. Executed by the 5 offensive players not directly attacking the ball, players move to assigned
positions around the attacker in order to dig up any ball that deflects off the block and back in to their own
court. Popular formations include the 2-3 system and the 1-2-2 system.
Defensive systems are the formations used by the defense to protect against the ball being grounded in
to their court by the opposing team. The system will outline which players are responsible for which areas
of the court depending on where the opposing team is attacking from. Popular systems include the 6-Up,
6-Back-Deep, and 6-Back-Slide defense.
Coaching for volleyball can be classified under two main categories: match coaching and developmental
coaching. The objective of match coaching is to win a match by managing a team's strategy.
Developmental coaching emphasizes player development through the reinforcement of basic skills during
exercises known as "drills." Drills promote repetition and refinement of volleyball movements, particularly
in footwork patterns, body positioning relative to others, and ball contact. A coach will construct drills that
simulate match situations thereby encouraging speed of movement, anticipation, timing, communication,
and team-work. At the various stages of a player's career, a coach will tailor drills to meet the strategic
requirements of the team. The American Volleyball Coaches Association is the largest organization in the
world dedicated exclusively to volleyball coaching.
19. Volleyball Equipment &
Volleyball Court Dimensions
The Volleyball court is 60 feet by 30 feet in total.
The net in placed in the center of the court, making
each side of the net 30 feet by 30 feet.
A center line is marked at the center of the court
dividing it equally into 30 feet squares, above which
the net is placed.
An attack line is marked 10 feet of each side of the center line.
A service line, the area from which the server may serve the volleyball, is marked 10
feet inside the right sideline on each back line.
Basic Skills of Volleyball
The worst situation that a volleyball team could be in is to show up at a game without knowing what skills
they needed to win the game. Hitting the ball, being in the right place, and playing competitively can help
to win the game as well as gain confidence in the sport. Focusing on the basics for volleyball can help
you to gain the skills you need for every game.
1. Serving. This is what always starts the game and helps to keep the game. There are two basic types of
serves. One is overhand; where the player will throw the ball in the air first, then hit it. The second is
underhand, where the server will hold the ball and swing their other arm underneath the ball to hit it.
There are a variety of other serves beyond these basics, all which help to get the ball over the net, and
get the game going.
2. Pass or reception. This is usually set up by the setter of the game. It is used in order to take the ball
and give it to the other players on your own team. They will then have the ability to put the ball to the
other side like they want to. You can either pass by the forearm or by hitting the ball overhead.
3. Tip. A tip is used as a way to trick the other team into thinking that the ball is going further than it will.
The player will hit the ball lightly, making it go over the net but not too far into the other player's area so
that they can't hit it back.
20. 4. Dig. This is the ability for a player to save the ball from hitting the court after it has been spiked. It
usually requires a player to slide underneath the ball on the court or to dive underneath the ball.
5. Rebound. This occurs when the ball stays on one side, making the players rebound, or take the ball
With all of these different hits for a ball, you will want to make sure that the players have the ability to
move freely and effectively with every move. With all of these different hits, the players will need to
connect where they want to hit the ball with the way that their feet move. For example, a dig will require
the feet to move under the body in order to save the ball. A serve will require more balance on both feet in
order to hit the ball more effectively. This will be important to keep in mind as you are training players.
The basics of volleyball hits can lead a long way when you are working towards playing the game. If you
are finding ways to teach techniques to players, this is the place to start. It will allow everyone to have a
good chance at controlling and hitting the ball, no matter what the set up is.
Deon Melchior is the Editor and Publisher of Article Click. For more FREE articles for your ezine and
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