The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) sets the global standards for the sport, establishing basic equipment guidelines, defining court dimensions and governing the rules of play. FIVB establishes more specific standards for sanctioned international competition.
The ball must be spherical, made of a flexible leather or synthetic leather case with a rubber bladder inside. It may be a light color or a combination of colors. According to FIVB rules, it must weigh 260 to 280 grams with a circumference must be 65 to 67 centimeters. Its inside pressure shall be 0.30 to 0.325 kg/cm.
According to FIVB rules, a court is an 18- by 9-meter rectangle, surrounded by a free zone at least 3 meters wide on all sides. Side and end lines mark the boundaries, drawn on the inside of the playing dimensions. The center line extends from side to side under the net, dividing the court into 9-meter halves. The attack line, 3 meters back from the center line on each side, defines the front zone. The service zone is a 9-meter wide area behind each end line, defined by two short lines 15 centimeters long. The free playing space above the playing area must be free from any obstructions for at least 7 meters.
Net, Antennas, Post
On regulation FIVB courts the net extends vertically over the center line, 2.43 meters high for men and 2.24 meters for women at the center of the court. The net is 1 meter wide and 9.50 to 10 meters long. The net is made of 10 centimeter square black mesh. The top horizontal band is 7 centimeters wide, made of two-fold white canvas. At the bottom of the net is another horizontal band, 5 centimeters wide. White bands 5 centimeters wide and 1 meter long are fastened vertically to the net and placed directly above each side line. An antenna is fastened at the outer edge of each side band, on opposite sides of the net. The top 80 centimeters of each antenna extends above the net and is marked with 10-centimeter stripes of contrasting color. The side band and antenna are considered as part of the net. The posts supporting the net are placed 0.50 to 1.00 meters outside the side lines and are 2.55 meters high.
FIVB rules limit rosters to 12 players, wearing the numbers 1 to 20. The defensive specialist, the Libero, wears a different color and cannot be designated as captain. Each team starts six players. The starting lineup for each set dictates the rotational order for the rest of the set. There are three front row players and three back row players. As the ball is hit by the server, each team must be positioned within its own court in the rotational order (except the server). After the serve, players may move around on the court and into the free zone.
The server puts the ball in play from the service area. You must serve in the order established by the starting lineup. If the serving team wins the point, the same player serves again. If the receiving team wins the point, it rotates before its serve. The player moving from the front-right position to the back-right position serves. The server must toss or release the ball and hit it with one hand. Only one toss or release of the ball is allowed. The serve must be hit into the opposing court. As the serve is hit or the take-off for a jump service occurs, the server must not touch the court (the end line included) or the floor outside the service zone. After the hit, the server may step or land outside the service zone, or inside the court.
Volleyball uses the Rally Point System. The team winning a rally scores a point. When the receiving team wins a rally, it gains a point and the right to serve and its players rotate one position clockwise. Teams score points by hitting the ball down onto the opponent’s court. They also get points when the opponent commits a fault or receives a penalty.
Hitting the Ball
Players can hit the ball with any part of their body, but they can't catch or throw it. The same player can't hit the ball twice in row. A team has three hits to get the ball back over the net. Two or three players can hit the ball simultaneously, but it counts as two or three hits. The ball is considered out when it hits the court outside of the boundary, an object out of bounds, the ceiling, a person out of play, the antenna, post or ropes outside of the net side band. It is also out if it goes over outside the "crossing space" or goes all the way under the net. Balls can hit the net on the way over and be good hits or serves. Hitters can extend over the net following a hit as long as contact was made on their side of the court. Blockers can extend over the net if they don't interfere with the action of the hitters
Winning the Match
FIVB matches are best-of-five sets. The first team to 25 points wins a set, except in the decisive fifth set. Sets must be won by two points. If the set is tied at 24-24, it continues until one team wins by two points. If the match is tied at two sets each, the fifth set is played to 15 points with a winning margin of at least two points.
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