Game Guide

Volleyball is a game invented by William C Morgan in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1895 who was a YMCA physical education teacher.  Morgan’s idea was a game played indoors by any amount of players, taking some characteristics from tennis and handball.  The game later evolved into what we now know as volleyball.

Volleyball Game Glossary
Playing the Game

Volleyball is a game played by six players on a court with a net in the middle, separating the two teams. Each volleyball team attempts to score by putting the ball into play with serving to the team on the opposite side of the net. A point is scored when the opposing team fails to return the ball and it touches the ground, goes out of bounds or is hit more than three times by one team.

A volleyball game is over when a team scores either 15 or 21 points and a win is awarded to the team with the most points.

Volleyball Glossary

Volleyball Game Glossary A

bullet serve that quickly scores a point. A whizzer with WOW!
fast run by a spiker before jumping in the air.
awarded when a player moves the ball to another player who then is able to score.
an attempt to make the other team miss the ball, resulting in a point.
Attack Block
opposing player who tries to block a spike before it crosses the net.
Attack Error
resulting in a failed attack and point for the opposing team.
Attack Line
line parallel to the net that is 10 feet back from where all spikes must take place by players on the back row.
team member who tries for a team point by hitting or spiking the ball.

Volleyball Game Glossary B

term for area from the end line to attack line.
Back Row Attack
the act of a player in the back row who attacks the ball and attempts to score, usually in the form of a spike. Usually occurring behind the attack line.
Back Set
delivery behind a setter’s back followed by a hit by an attacker.
Back Zone
the marked space behind the attack line.
Ball In
a ball is in when it lands inside any of the boundary lines.
Ball Handling Error
call by game official for a double hit, blocking error or centerline violation. You get but 1 shot at the ball—them's the rules!
Beach Dig
receiving the ball with an open hand.
occurs when a player blocks an attack from opponents at the net.
Block Assist
occurs when more than one player blocks an opponents attack.
the act of hitting the ball, on offense or defense, with both hands together using the flat of the forearm to hit the ball into the air in order to advance play.

Volleyball Game Glossary C

Campfire Defense
when a ball hits the floor, normally in a ring of defenders who look like they are standing around a campfire, amazed that the ball has touched the ground and no one defended it.
the act of prolonging contact with the ball that is illegal.
the line running under the net, between the two posts.
Centerline Violation
the crossing of an opponent into the other teams half of the court..
being hit with the volleyball in the chest. Do I hear an Ouch?
Cover The Hitter
the act of multiple players attempting to block a particularly good attacker on the other team in order to block them.
Closing the Block
two players close in together to create a defensive block to prevent the ball from touching the floor between them.
Cross-Court Shot
term for organized attack from one end of the opposing team's side of the net to the opposite sideline.
Crossing Space
the space over the net where the ball must cross in order to be in play.
Cut Shot
a spike that is traveling at an angle across the net to the opposition.

Volleyball Game Glossary D

Dead Ball
a ball in play, declared dead by an official.
term for offensive play meant to camouflage the spiker.
Deep Dish
a set where the player maintains control of the ball for a prolonged and illegal period of time. An extreme version of a carry.
Deep Set
term for strategic play to put off the timing of opposing blockers.
retrieving a ball that has been spiked or hit into your area, typically occurring low to the ground and resulting in a successful pass to a teammate. When successful, a smooth move!
jargon for push of the ball around or over opposing blockers.
Double Block
team of 2 players create a strategic move to deflect an attacked ball.
Double Quick
team of 2 players move towards an opposing setter for a quick inside hit.
term for 2-player team on each side, usually a beach volleyball game.
Double Touch
the act of a player touching the ball twice in a row, resulting in a turnover.
Down Ball
jargon for ball in play that blockers determine will not result in a successful block or spike return.

Volleyball Players Terms F

a spike that makes contact with an opponent's face. A very big OUCH!
Fish or Tuna
a player who is entangled in the volleyball net.
offensive strategy using 6-players to include 5 hitters and 1 setter.
Five Set
includes a right front hitter and a back set.
a serve that does not spin, is flat and is seen fluttering, dropping or changing direction.
Foot Fault
the act of putting your foot on or over the end line when serving.
Forearm pass
occurs when the arms area from elbows to the wrists are formed to hit the ball in an underhand motion.
game rules violation.
offensive strategy using 6-players to include 4 hitters and 2 setters.
Free Ball
a weak attack that is easy to return by the opponent.
Friendly Fire
the act of being hit in the head by a teammate serving behind you.
Front Zone
the area in front of the attack line.

Volleyball Players Terms H

Held Ball
is a foul occurring when ball stops during contact.
a hard deliberate spike. It's a pounder!
the act of hitting the ball.
refers to spiker or attacker.
Hitting Percentage
calculated as kills vs. attempts.

Volleyball Players Terms I - K

time between sets, usually three minutes.
Isolation Play
strategic move to isolate an attacker against a defender.
occurs when 2 opposing players together battle for an above-the-net ball.
Jungle Ball/Picnic Volleyball
game played by inexperienced players.
Jump Serve
term for the beginning of a serve where the player tosses the ball upwards followed by a quick jump up to hit the ball downwards.
attempt to predict the opposing team's next play.
the act of hitting the ball with great force into the opponent’s court. One of the most exciting plays of the game and a definite crowd pleaser.
pads worn by players to protect the knees when making contact with the floor during digs.

Volleyball Players Terms L

Let Serve
occurs when a serve touches the net. Results in either a ball-in-play if it goes over the net or dead ball if it stays in the serving team’s court.
marked boundaries of a volleyball court.
Line Judge
person situated on each out of bounds line who judges whether a ball is in or out of bounds.
Line Shot
occurs when the ball is spiked at opponent's sideline close to the hitter and outside the block.
a successful dig. Another crowd pleaser worth applause!

Volleyball Players Terms M - N

a series of three sets played in best of three format. The first team to win two sets wins the match.
defensive strategy using the middle back player to cover deep spikes.
defensive strategy using the middle back player to cover dinks or short shots.
Original name by William Morgan, inventor of the game.
Multiple Offense
strategy whereby a team mixes up different tactical plays against opponents. Keep 'em guessing, yes?
refers to the net between the two sides that the ball must travel over.

Volleyball Players Terms O

Off-speed Hit
spiked ball not hit hard, but with spin.
enforcers of the rules who judge the game as it happens and award points.
Outside Hitter
left or right attacker moving from outside the court.
Overhand Pass
passing with both hands open utilizing fingers and thumbs.
Overhand Serve
serving the ball with a motion above the shoulder.
players’ positions before ball contact when serving.

Volleyball Players Terms P - Q

occurs when a player uses one hand, open palm to dive and retrieve a hit. Alternatively, the hit is returned using the back of the hand.
a player who passes the ball to an attacker.
occurs when reaching across the net to block a hit.
the result of a successful rally. Worthy of cheers and yeahs!
Power Alley
term for long hit that avoids the spiker and moves to the farthest point of the court.
Power Tip
ball hit with maximum force by opposing team player.
Quick Set
timely move between setter and hitter team members. A 1-2 step of set and hit against the opposing team.

Volleyball Players Terms R

the act of the ball being put into play. The team who does not let the ball touch the ground or go out of bounds is the winner of the rally. The longer the rally, the longer the excitement and suspense for the fans!
Ready Position
player preparing to make ball contact.
Reception error
occurs when a serve is not returned and results in an ace for the opposing team.
Red Card
a penalty awarded for misconduct. The most severe in the game and results in loss of serve.
spiked ball that is blocked by the opposing team and quickly lands on the attacker’s side of the court.
the pattern in which players move on the court during change of possession.

Volleyball Players Terms S

the keeper of the official point tally.
blocking the view of the server from the defending team.
the act of hitting the ball into play at the beginning of each rally.
team member who places the ball into play.
Service Error
a failed serve resulting in a point for the opposing team.
Service Winner
a successful serve resulting in a point for the serving team.
strategy move to set the ball skillfully so that a team member can spike it.
a player who specializes in setting up teammates to attack.
the side boundary on the volleyball court.
Side Out
loss of serve by one team, resulting in the serve being given to the other team.
Six Pack
blocker is struck in the face or head by a spiked ball.
strategy using 6-players to include 2 setters that change positions whereby one player moves to the front as a hitter and the other moves to the back as the setter.
a hard hit ball with high velocity.
the act of hitting the ball above ones head with great velocity into the opponent's side of the court.
one who is designated to spike. Likely, the star of the game!
Strong Side
hitter that changes positions from left to right or alternatively from right to left.
jargon for block.

Volleyball Players Terms T - Z

Time Out
stoppage of play called by one team.
the act of using the finger tips to tip the ball across the net.
Turning In
blocker turning towards the court to direct the ball in-bounds.
Underhand Serve
a serve that is tossed underhanded and hit with the opposite closed fist.
Volley Pass
the passing of the ball to a teammate using the fingers.
Weak Side
occurs when a right-handed player is hitting from right-front position or vice-versa.
occurs when a hitter moves the ball from the opponents block in order to be out of bounds.
Yellow Card
the first warning for misconduct determined by a referee. The combination of a yellow and red card being awarded results in ejection from the game.
bad case of nerves resulting in shakes that make it very difficult for a gamer to play well. This phrase can be used in reference to many games and is recognized by both players and fans alike.