Volleyball Scoring – How Does it Work?


Volleyball is a game that’s played with two opposing teams on a rectangular court divided by a net. The objective of this game is to score points by sending the ball over the net and into your opponent’s court, or hitting it through their side of the net.

A volleyball scoring system can be used for individual games, sets, or matches to keep track of the winner. For example, in an international match there are five sets consisting of seven games each (with each set going up to 15).

The first team wins if they win four out of these five sets – which equates to winning at least 11 out times 21 points. In other words – one team needs to win 2 more games than its opponent before time runs out!

What Is a Volleyball Scoring System and How Does It Work?

Volleyball games consist of five sets and must be won three out of five sets to win. The fifth set is first to 15 points. In some competitions, a score cap may be imposed, requiring that if a team wins and reaches 17 points, they will win regardless of the point margin.

Side out scoring and rally scoring are the two different ways in which points are accumulated during the game. Because it determines which team wins and loses, volleyball scoring is an important component of every match.

Side Out Scoring

Side-out scoring is a form of scoring in volleyball in which the serving team can only gain a point by winning a rally.

How Volleyball Scoring works - Volleyball Gear Guide

The aim of the serving team is to win the serve in order to start gaining points for their side. If a team’s serve is lost, they must win a rally and reclaim the ball in order to continue accumulating points.

When a team’s side-out occurs, the serving team does not receive a point and the receiving team does not score. The serving team is always attempting to win the point, while the receiving team is striving to win the serve.

Rally Scoring

In volleyball, rally scoring is a form of scoring where one of the teams receives a point after each rally, regardless of who serves.

Unlike in side out scoring, teams do not need to be serving in order to score points. Regardless of whether or not they were serving during the previous play, a team wins a rally and receives both the point and the serve if it wins a rally.

One team will score a point if play is stopped for an extended period of time during a game.

Olympic Volleyball Scoring

The method of scoring employed in Olympic Volleyball is rally scoring. In a best of five sets format, these matches are contested.

Volleyball matches are played in sets of five. If a fifth set is required, it will go until one team has scored 25 points. To win the set, a team must score two points above its opponent.

Olympic Beach Scoring

The rally scoring employed in Olympic beach volleyball provides a point to either team regardless of who serves.

Games are played to 21 points in a best of three format. If a third set is required, the game will be played until one team reaches 15 points. All Olympic Volleyball games must be won by two points.

Scoring Points during the match

Volleyball scoring is based on a points system in which players attempt to gain points by putting the ball over the net in such a manner that their opponent cannot return it. Points are used for scoring.

In volleyball, there are many different methods to gain points. A team must serve to win a point in side out scoring. In rally scoring, either team has the opportunity to win the point. The following are some of the ways in which a volleyball point is decided:

  • At the conclusion of the point, if the ball hits the floor.
  • The ball goes out of bounds as defined by the court’s boundaries.
  • If the ball goes over but does not land on the opposite side.
  • A fault is established in the service.
  • The player makes contact with the ball while touching the net.
  • The ball can not be hit more than three times on a team’s side.

A point is given if a penalty violation happens during the rally.

What Scoring System is used in Volleyball?

In Volleyball, points are scored when one team lets the ball go into the net and the opposing team then lets it bounce twice before returning it. The ball must hit the ground in bounds before being returned or else it results in a point to the other team.

There are three different ways that volleyball can be played to score points.

Volleyball System 1: 3-2-1 Point System

In a game using the 3-2-1 point system, 15 points are needed to win a set. Points are awarded as follows:

3 – For every successful service ¬†(the serve or service is successful when it does not touch the net and lands in bounds on the other team’s side)

2 – For every ace (when a serve or service lands in bounds on the opposing team’s side and is not returned) ¬†1 – For every rally scored (when the ball is legally returned over the net by the receiving team without it touching the ground)

Volleyball System 2: Rally Point System

In a game using the rally point system, points can be earned in two different ways. A point is earned when either team scores a point and an additional point is earned for every successful serve. The first team to score 25 points, with a margin of 2 points or more, wins the set.

If no one has reached 25 points after each team has had the opportunity to serve the ball six times, there is a 7th rotation. At this point, whoever is ahead in points wins the set with a margin of 2 or more.

The first team to win two sets wins the match. If both teams are tied at one set each then the third set is played. If both teams are tied at 2 sets each then there is a sudden death where the first team to reach 15 points wins the match.

Volleyball System 3: 21 Point Rally System

In a game using the 21-point rally system, games are typically played to 21 points with only one player on the serving side capable of scoring the point for their team. The winning team is determined in one of two ways:

a) First to 21 points wins (must win by 2 or more points) b) 25-21, 25-22, 25-23 – sets are played without the advantage rule (players must rotate after serving five times). If tied at 2 sets each, a sudden death (first one to 15) is played. If 2-2, play 5-5 for set 3 and 7-7 for set 4.

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