Official NHSSC Volleyball Rules
Section One – Players and Substitutes
- Team rosters must consist of at least ten (10) players, with at
least four of each gender. There is no maximum number of
players a team may have on its roster.
- The maximum number of players on the court is six, with at
least one of each gender. A team may start with as few as
four players, but must designate positions in the rotation for the
- Players arriving late may not join a game already in
progress except to take the place of a player already in the
game (Semi-competitive leagues only)
- All substitutes must take the place of the person he or she
- All players present may participate. If there
are more than six players present, the player in the front-right
position shall rotate off the court, and the next available player on
the bench shall rotate into the serving position. The same
order must be maintained for the length of the game. Teams
may designate a different order of rotation for each game.
- No unpaid, unrostered or "guest" player may play. Any games won by a team found to be using an illegal
substitute player will be
Section Two – Equipment
- All necessary equipment will be provided by the NHSSC.
- The court will be approximately 29 feet, six inches wide
and 59 feet long, with a regulation net seven feet ten inches high
placed exactly in the middle.
- Lines shall be considered in-bounds.
- The teams will switch courts after each game.
- Teams may bring their own volleyballs for practice, but all
games must be played using NHSSC volleyballs.
Section Three – Match Times
- Each match will be allotted 50 minutes, or best of five
games, whichever comes first. Any game in progress at the
50-minute mark will be completed, but no game shall commence after that
- Scheduled match times are forfeit times.
- Each team is allowed one one-minute time-out per
game. If unused, time-outs may not be carried over from game
Section Four – Service
- A coin toss will determine which team serves first.
- Each server will be allowed five seconds following the
official’s whistle to serve.
- Each server will continue to serve until a point side out
is awarded to the other team or until the game is completed.
- All serves must be delivered from the back-right position
and from behind the end boundary line. Upon serving, the
server must immediately re-enter the boundary area.
- A served ball which contacts the net but continues over to
the receiving team shall be considered live and must be played.
- A served ball shall be considered dead and a point side out
awarded to the opposing team when:
- The ball is stopped by or passes beneath the net.
- The ball touches the ceiling or other obstruction before
crossing the plane of the net.
- The ball lands out-of-bounds.
- The ball touches a teammate of the server prior to
crossing the net.
Section Five – Returns
- It is illegal for a player to attack or block a served ball
while the ball is completely above the height of the net.
- The ball must be returned over the net with no more than
three hits, in addition to blocking.
- No player may hit the ball twice in succession.
- Should two players contact the ball simultaneously, it
shall be counted as one hit.
- No player’s arm or body may break the plane of
the net (Only applicable to recreational leagues)
- If two opponents hit the ball simultaneously and the ball
remains in play, the receiving team is entitled to three additional
hits. If such a ball goes out, it shall be considered a fault
on the opposite side.
- Any part of the body except the feet or legs may be used for a
- Balls that hit the ceiling or objects hanging from the
ceiling remain in play only if the ball remains on the same side of the
court. If the ball crosses the net immediately before or
after touching the ceiling or object, prior to touching an opponent, it
shall be called dead and a point side out charged to the team of last
- If only part of a ball crosses the net and is then
contacted by an opponent, it shall be considered as having crossed the
- Block contacts, defined as contacting the ball above the
net immediately upon the return from the opposing team, are not
considered hits. Should a player exercise a block contact but
have the ball remain on his or her side of the net he or she may play
the ball again and no error shall be called.
- Players may enter the unobstructed area immediately
surrounding their half of the court while pursuing the ball, provided,
however, that they must not enter the opponents half of the court nor
may they enter any area which due to an obstruction may pose a safety
Section Six – Rotation
- Upon the commission of an error or foul by the serving
team, a point side out will be called by the official, and the ball
will be given to the other team for service.
- Before serving, the team shall rotate one position
- If six players are on the court, there shall be three
players in each the front and back rows. If five players are
present, there shall be three players in the front and two in the
back. If four players are on the court, there shall be two
players in each row.
Section Seven – Side Outs
- A side out will be called and a point and the serve awarded
to the opposing team if a given team commits an error or foul.
- An error is defined as:
- Causing the ball to land out-of-bounds.
- Failing to deliver the ball over the net during a serve.
- “Carrying” or
“pushing” the ball.
- Contacting the ball more than three times per return.
- One player hitting the ball twice in succession.
- Causing the ball to contact the ceiling or hanging object
immediately before or after crossing the net, prior to any contact by
- Fouls include the following:
- Touching the net during the serve or while the ball is in
- No foul shall be called if the net is driven into a
- The ball may be played off the net.
- Breaking the plane of the net with any body part while
the ball is in play.
- Blocking the serve while the ball is entirely above the
- Taking more than five seconds from the
official’s whistle to serve the ball.
- Improper rotation or incorrect substitution.
Should this occur, in addition to the call of a side out any points
awarded to the team at fault during the illegitimate rotation or
substitution shall be revoked.
- Contacting the opposing team’s playing surface.
- Arguing with the NHSSC official, insulting the opposing
team, or engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct.
Section Eight – Scoring
- Rally scoring is to be used, meaning that a point is
awarded for each service.
- Games are won by the first team to score 21 or more points,
by a margin of two points or more. Should a game remained tied at 21 or afterwards, with teams failing to win the game by two points, play will continue to a maximum of 25 points. The first team to reach 25 will win that game.
- Matches are won by winning three of five games.
- Teams will be awarded two points in the standings for each
match won and one point for each match ending in a tie.
- Teams highest in the standings will be entitled to
participate in the playoff round for the NHSSC Championship
Cup. The NHSSC reserves the right to decide how many teams
are invited into the playoffs, any means of breaking a tie in the
standings, and the playoff schedule.
Section Nine – Referees
NHSSC Volleyball is a player-refereed sport, and each team is responsible for designating a player from their team as referees for other games in the following manner:
- The HOME team on the schedule shall provide a referee for the game AFTER their game for the same court, unless it is the final game of the day on that court.
- The AWAY team on the schedule for the second game on the same court shall provide a referee for the game PREVIOUS to their game.
- The team-designated referee is the designated official for the game. The judgment of these officials shall be final and binding.
Each player volunteering to referee shall receive $10 in league credit for each game, which can be applied to membership in future leagues.
- The referee shall be responsible for:
- Keeping time
- Recording each point, win, and loss
- Enforcing all rules and penalties
- Any player who engages in unsportsmanlike conduct,
including arguing with referees, NHSSC staff or the opposing team or engaging in
gratuitous profanity, shall be warned once and then, if the behavior
persists, be ejected. Any player who is ejected from two
matches over the course of a season shall be ejected from the
league. The NHSSC official on site may, at his or her
discretion, recommend further disciplinary action up to and including a
permanent ban from all NHSSC activities. Any player who
engages in any sort of violence, including fighting, shall be banned
permanently from the NHSSC.
Section Ten – Forfeits
- Teams that arrive at forfeit time with fewer than four
players, or fewer than one of each gender, shall forfeit the game, and
the opposing team
shall take the win.
- If both teams arrive at forfeit time with fewer than four players or fewer than two players of each gender, both shall forfeit the
game, and both shall receive zero points in the league standings for