Matches are played to a best-of-five format. The first four sets are played to a maximum of 25 points, with the last set being played to a maximum of 15 points. A set must be won by a team by two points. Because there is no defined limit, a set will continue until one of the teams obtains a two-point edge.
In addition to the actual match, each player on a team can earn up to 100 additional points for "breaking a block" on their opponent's serve. A block occurs when a player from either team touches her/his own ball while it is in play. If a player causes a block twice in a row, she/he will be disqualified for the current point sequence and another player will be given the opportunity to enter the court.
This occurs when a player does not follow proper blocking techniques and allows her/himself to be hit by the opposing team's pass. If a player commits a fault once in a match, she/he has the option of taking a free shot at the net or receiving a small break from the opposition. If the player chooses to take the free shot, then the opposing team gains possession of the ball and receives a free point. If the player does not take the free shot, then she/he must serve the ball before playing continues again from the beginning of the point.
For winning a rally, a team receives one point. Unless the teams are deadlocked at two sets each after four sets—or one set apiece after two sets under USA Volleyball's tournament rules—each set is played to 25 points. The deciding tiebreaker set is then played to 15 points. If still tied, the match will proceed immediately to the gold medal match.
The number of points awarded in a championship match depends on how many sets have been played. If only one set has been played, then each team earns five points for a total potential score of 35 points. In other words, there is no winner until at least one set has been played. As soon as the first game is finished, it is time to declare a winner.
If two sets have been played, then each team earns 10 points for a total potential score of 50 points. The same thing applies: no matter who wins the first set, the other team has already won the match because two sets have been played.
In conclusion, winning a rally awards one point to the winning team and zero points to the losing team. Two sets award 10 points to each team and three sets award 20 points to each team. Four sets is the maximum amount of points that can be awarded in any single match.
Matches will be decided by the best of three or best of five games. Each non-decisive game will be won by the side that scores 25 points first with a minimum two-point lead. If a decisive game is played, the side that scores 15 points first with a minimum two-point advantage will win. If both teams are still tied after the third game, a fifth game will be played immediately followed by a best-of-three match for the title.
In addition to being the most common number of games in a series, three is also the maximum score possible. A winning team will have at least two matches remaining while the other team will have one match left if they want to continue playing. If there is a three-way tie, each match in the sequence will be played as a best-of-five set until one team achieves a 2-0 record.
A best-of-five match is the highest level of competition in which a player can participate. There is no limit on the number of players who can be included in a single match, so long as all parties agree to play. In fact, some competitions allow for six or even seven players on a court at once!
The best-of-three match is the second highest level of competition in which a player can participate.
Volleyball games are played first to 25 points, with a two-point margin of victory required. Games are made up of five sets, and teams must win three of them to win. The winner of the last set is the first to 15 points. For the third game to be necessary, both teams must earn two points during an additional five-minute period called "time." If there is still a tie, another game will begin immediately.
The order of scoring for a volleyball match is as follows: service, reception, aces, blocks, and hits with the ball in play. When a player serves, they take one step forward with the ball and then throw it into the air. The opposing team's blocker tries to block the shot by jumping or diving headfirst toward the court with their arms extended. If the blocker fails to block the shot, the server is awarded a free point.
Aces occur when a player hits the ball cleanly off the stringing on all sides of the net without it touching the ground first. When this happens, it is known as a "spike" and scores a point for the serving team. Aces can also be achieved by hitting the ball out of bounds behind the backboard or over the fence into the audience or away from the field of play. This is called a "out". Outfield players are responsible for guarding these areas of the court against attack by their opponents.
All games in competitive adult matches are best of five sets. Volleyball differs from other sports in that the first four sets are played to 25 points, while the fifth set is only played to 15 points if the match goes to a fifth set. In non-competition play, a set usually lasts about 30 minutes; a game lasts approximately an hour.
There are several variations on the volleyball game that exist outside of competitive play. These include: beach volleyball, indoor volleyball, pool volleyball and standup paddleboarding (SUP). In beach volleyball, two teams of two players each hit a ball over netting to their opponent's team who try to get it into their court. Indoor volleyball is played on a carpeted floor with seven players per side. There are no walls to hit against, so indoor players use a jump shot or a spike for a high shot. Pool volleyball is similar to beach volleyball but without any netting between courts. Standup paddleboarding is growing in popularity among athletes who use their board like a surfboard to ride waves and charge down hills. Like volleyball, there are men's and women's divisions in SUP.
Beach and indoor volleyball have become popular again after being abandoned for many years. Beach volleyball was popular in the 1950s and '60s but then disappeared until the early 2000s when it became popular again.