Ultimate Guide to Coaching Youth Volleyball

Youth Volleyball Rules

A good volleyball coach knows and understands the rules of the game. Parents can lose their cool, and referees can make mistakes, so it's up to the coach to make sure the game is fair. To play volleyball, you need a court, a net, a ball, two teams of players and a referee. Older children usually play on a 30-by-60-foot (9-by-18-meter) court, while younger children may play on a 25-by-50-foot (7-by-15-meter) court. Six players from each team play on the court at a time; however, some leagues play with just four players from each team [source: Westlake High School].

While rules can vary from league to league, the United States Youth Volleyball League (USYVL), an affiliate of the USA Volleyball League, uses the following basic rules for playing youth volleyball.

The referee of the game signals each serve of the ball. The server stands behind the end line and hits the ball over the net into the opposing team's court. Once a child serves the ball, the opposing team must return it in no more than three hits. Other than on a serve, a ball that hits the net is still in play, but players cannot touch the net at any time. Players in the front row can try to block a ball as it comes over the net, but they cannot block during a serve [source: USYVL].

Play will continue until the ball touches the ground, the ball goes under the net, the ball goes out of bounds or a player commits a fault. Examples of faults include the following: a team touching the ball more than three times, a player hitting the ball twice in a row, an illegal serve, an illegal block, a player touching the net or reaching under the net, or a ball landing out of bounds. A ball that lands on a boundary line is considered "in" [source: USYVL].

Once a volley ends, the team that won the volley rotates clockwise. A side-out occurs when the serving team loses the volley and turns possession of the ball over to the other team. The team that reaches 25 points first wins the game [source: USYVL].

If you want a killer team, play by the rules and show good sportsmanship. Read the next page to learn about teaching basic volleyball skills.