We I talk an awful lot about football on this blog. I'm partial to it, I'm not gonna lie. But volleyball deserves some love too. It's such a fun, summery, perfect-for-a-backyard-BBQ sport. And then, of course, there's indoor volleyball. And it's their offseason for way longer than it is in football.
But who actually knows how to play it? Do those points just magically appear on the board? HELP.
Fear not, I have (most of) the answers!*
*This is simple working knowledge gained from casually playing and talking to actual players who do, in fact, know what they're talking about. Unlike me. I'm basically Jon Snow. I know nothing.
Step 1: Set up.
In volleyball, there are a total of 6 players on the court at once. Usually, there are 3 up front, close to the net, and 3 in the back.
Let's briefly talk about positions!
Our peeps in the back row are defending. Their goal is to hit the ball up so it can be launched over the net later. In the back row, there's usually someone wearing a contrasting jersey. This person is the Librero, or Defensive Specialist. They pretty much do what they want, though their specialty is "bumping" the ball up into play.
Our front row peeps have a lot more fun. First, there's a setter. This player takes the ball from the defenders/DS and "sets" it so the hitters can go to town with it. There are two hitters (left side and right side) who hit the ball and frequently get kills. Finally, there's a middle blocker, who is responsible for blocking any sort of attack made by the other team.
Step 2: Get the ball over the net.
So, we know our positions and we're ready to play. Now what?
To start play, the person in the back right corner must step behind the line of the court and serve. There are several different types of serves. I know, I know, things are getting complicated!
Common in casual play is the underhand serve.
In most competitive volleyball, the overhand serve is used, though the jump serve is more prevalent in NCAA and Olympic level play.
There's also other serves, but these are the main 3 you'll see in play. If the ball comes down on the other side of the net untouched, that's called an ace and you get a point. If it's out of bounds or on your side of the net, it's a service error and the other team gets a point. Which brings me to....
Step 3: Score!
Scoring points in volleyball is really strange. Since either team can score points at either time, it's really easy to get in a hole or make a dramatic comeback.
Basically, how you score is if you get the ball to touch the floor in bounds on the other side of the net. Or if an opposing player hits it out of bounds on either side of the net, that's also a point for you.
So, how do we set up to score (ideally)?
First, the serve makes it over and the defender bumps the ball up, passing it to the setter.
Second, the ball is set and passed to a hitter....
where it is then ANNIHILATED.
If this ball touches the floor, it's called a kill, and you get a point! (Kills are so much fun, if you can get 'em.)
But, what if the opposing team has just hit the ball over and now I have to get it?
(Fun fact, one time I was playing and I went down for a dig without kneepads on and I burned a hole in my pants in addition to getting a sick nasty friction burn. It's actually kind of a cool hole in my pants...at my knee. Don't go for digs without pads unless you like friction burns.)
Get that ball outta there, even if it takes drastic measures.
Or, if you're at the front of the net, throw your hands in the air like you just don't care, and jump. (Called a block...we have block parties all the time in volleyball.)
Step 4: Win!
Score points. Score more points than the other team.
There are 3 matches in a game, and they're played best of three. The first two go to 25 points, and the third, if necessary, goes to 15 points. Unless the game is really close, in which case you have to win by two points.
And that, friends, is the game of volleyball.
Back to football.