Volleyball Rules

PLAYER PARTICIPATION: Every DC Social team participant must sign a waiver. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERSMaximum # of 6 players (no more than 4 men) can be on the court at one time. There is no maximum limit on the amount of women on the court at one time. Minimum number of players to play a game is 4 (at least 2 women). However, the opposing team can utilize the ghost rule. Teams may pick up one (1) subsitute during the regular season but not the playoffs. 

When the ghost rule is in effect, the team that is short 1 or 2 players must designate a spot/s in their serving rotation for a ghost player. That would be the space/s the missing players would play if they were present. When the ghost player rotates to the serving position, the team will automatically lose their serve. Players arriving late may automatically take over the ghost players position at anytime during the game. Upon mutual agreement between team captains the ghost rule will not be enforced for the match.

 When teams have less than 4 players or 2 women, they will be forced to forfeit 1 game for every 10 minutes past the designated start time. As a courtesy, please give notice 24 hours in advance if your team will be forfeiting. 

At the designated game start time, captains will be called to the net by the referee for a pre-match meeting.  A Rock, Paper, Scissor match will be used to determine which captain has choice of service or side.

All matches will have a 60-minute time limit for competitive volleyball and a 45-minute time limit for social volleyball. All play will stop 45 or 60 minutes respectively from the time your match begins. Whatever the score in whatever game teams are in when the game clock expires, that will be the final score for that game and the match will be decided upon that. The ref’s clock is the game clock and will inform both teams when the game has started. 

 All games will play using All-Rally Scoring Rules. Matches consist of 3 games to 25. Teams must win by 2 and there is a cap at 27. In the rally game, points will be awarded on both the service and serve receive side. If the final buzzer sounds during a "rally", the team with the most points at this time will be given the game.

 There is no gender rule, however, teams are asked to not keep the ball away from women players. All players should be involved on the team. 

 The AASL will provide all nets, volleyballs, and scorekeeping equipment for each game. 

 In interest of better ref calls, keeping players safe and games moving along, we are going “old school” and a NO NET rule will be enforced. 

GAME TIME/WARM-UP/TIMEOUTS: Games will try to be played in a designated time period as set forth by the Game Clock section. Competitive teams will have 5-10 mins of formal warm-up time depending on the game time. Social teams should show up early and warm-up before entering the court. Each team will have one timeout per game for a total of three per match.


  • All balls that hit the ceiling and returns to your side are playable. A ball that hits the ceiling and goes to the opponent’s side is out. 
  • All balls that hit any part of the basketball hoop or backboard will be a replay. If the ball is determined to be unplayable by the referee a replay will not be rewarded. 
  • A player may contact the wall after contacting the ball. A player cannot use the wall (assist rule) to contact and play a ball.   
  • A serve IS allowed to make contact with the net. 
  • The width of the service area is sideline to sideline. At the moment of contact during a serve, the server must not touch the end line or court. After the hit, the server may step or land inside the court.
  • The serve may not be blocked or spiked.
  • Each team is allowed a maximum of three hits to return the ball. A defensive block does not count as one of the hits.
  • A ball may touch various parts of the body to count as a hit.
  • Captains must call for a timeout or substitution before the whistle is blown.
  • If players are out of rotation after the ball is served, the team at fault will lose the point.
  • At the first hit of the team (i.e. serve receive), the ball may contact various parts of the body consecutively provided that the contacts occur during one action.
  • A blocker may touch the ball beyond the net, provided that the blocker does not interfere with the opponent’s play (i.e. set) or attack hit.  
  • A player if at fault if they touch the ball or the opponent in the opponent’s space (ball has not broken the plane of the net) before or during the opponent’s attack hit.

Faults or Side Outs include:

  • Out of bounds or outside the court lines
  • Four hits
  • Double hit during second (set) or third contact
  • A player hitting the ball two times consecutively
  • Back-row attack. A back-row player must take-off from behind the 10’ line before contacting the ball. After contact, the back-row player may land within the front zone.  
  • Catch/throw/lift or carry (guiding the ball instead of hitting it)
  • Breaking the plane when ball is not on your side
  • Player’s foot completely crossing over the center line

Other USA Volleyball rules apply, unless otherwise mentioned.

Skill Levels

Our programs play at the following levels of play:

Recreational - beginners to CC level
Competitive - B to BB level
Advanced - BB to A level



General Comments

Skill Summation


Highly Skilled USA Volleyball-type Competition

Players play and train year-round

Players have trained extensively on individual volleyball skills

Dominant middle hitting/blocking

Excellent setting

High velocity spiking

Float, jump float, high-velocity jump serving

Pinpoint passing

Sophisticated offensive systems (stacks/tandems; quick and shoot sets; back-row attack)

Sophisticated defensive systems (perimeter; rotation; etc.)


Skilled USA Volleyball-type Competition

Players have trained considerably on individual volleyball skills

"6-2","5-1", and "4-2" offenses

Some organized plays, quicksets, shoots

Double blocking

Advanced setting

Advanced serving

Good defense


Skilled Recreational Competition

Players have trained some on individual volleyball skills

Designated setter (4-2 and 6-2 offenses)

Some double blocking

Very advanced recreational play


Semi-skilled Recreational Competition

Players have limited training on individual volleyball skills

Handling/setting calls are not strict

One-on-one blocking

Basic volleyball skills


Recreational Competition

Limited volleyball experience or training

Handling/setting calls are not very strict

One-on-one blocking

Basic volleyball skills


General Guidlines:

  1. Players in the A division play and train year round, i.e. are active summer tournament and league participants. They have many years of volleyball skills training, both individually and with experienced coaches. Their experience and athleticism allows them to play a fast and powerful game. A majority of teams in these divisions are funded by the players.
  2. Some players in the BB division play year round. Players have a solid understanding of the game and individual volleyball skills, and the better BB teams can play competitively against some A division teams. A majority of teams in these divisions are funded by the players.
  3. The B division consists of players that know the game well enough to beat most recreational teams. The better B division teams can play competitively against some BB division teams.
  4. The CC division consists of players that are upper recreational level, and are starting to train on individual volleyball skills.
  5. The C division consists of players that are recreational level, or are new to organized volleyball and are learning basic skills.
  6. Most teams that have not played organized volleyball for long, have a tendency to over-estimate their skill levels and strengths. If in question of what league to play, contact one of the board members.

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