All volleyball games today are played with rally scoring. The volleyball rally scoring system assigns a point to the team that wins the current rally. A rally is defined as a play, so the winner of every play during the game wins a point.
Volleyball Rally Scoring vs Side Out Scoring
Before the implementation of rally scoring, “side out” scoring systems were used. In side outscoring, points could only be scored by the serving team. If the receiving team won a rally, they wouldn’t get a point – instead, they would get the serve, at which point they could score if they won the rally.
This scoring system made volleyball games incredibly long. There was the potential for no score on an indefinite basis. If each team lost the serve after each rally, no points would ever be awarded!
Volleyball Rally Scoring: After…
Rally scoring was officially adopted in 1999. The change allowed for shorter games and gave the spectators a more exciting match to watch because there is always a point on the line.
It makes volleyball games much more fun to watch!
The change was announced by the USA Volleyball Rules of the Game Commission in 1999:
“These rule changes will be in effect for the 1999-2000 season of USA Volleyball competition, commencing November 1, 1999. However, the entire FIVB rule set, with some safety modifications, will be in effect for the US Open Tournaments at the 1999 USA Volleyball Open Championships in San Jose, Calif., May 31-June 3.
The change in the scoring system to all rally scoring will enable tournament organizers to better project match-time requirements since the average time of each set and match will be more predictable. The substitution systems will allow greater participation in the game by more players. The reconstructed sanction system and procedure is designed to allow referees to better control real misconduct in the matches while allowing participants to express their natural feelings as each rally terminates with a winner and a loser.”
Everyone in the volleyball world agreed that rally scoring was a vast improvement over side-out scoring. This changed the strategies for the game and created new training considerations for specialized positions.
How To Score Points With Volleyball Rally Scoring
With rally scoring, games are played until one team gets 25 points with at least a two-point lead (this is a set win). Usually, games consist of five sets; so the winning team wins three out of five sets.
The fifth only goes to 15 points, but a team still needs a two-point lead to win. Points in rally volleyball are scored as follows:
- Successfully grounding the ball on the opponent’s side
- The opponent hits the ball more than 3 times before returning
- The opponent hits the ball out of bounds
- The opponent’s team commits a rotation or position fault
- The opponent touches the ball over the net
- The opponent touches the net
Rally scoring is far more straightforward: a team can score a point on any serve/play. So, any time play stops, a point is awarded.
Typical scoring methods include killing the ball in the opponent’s court, when the opponent commits a penalty, any time the ball hits the ground, or when the ball goes out of bounds.
When a player scores on a serve, it is called an ace. Servers who excel at acing can give their team a distinct advantage in rally scoring.
Shorter, More Exciting Volleyball Games
While a rally scoring game does take more points to win, it goes by more quickly than games using side out scoring. The only time a match would go long is when no team is ahead by two. At that point, the set continues until one team is two points ahead. These are some of the most exciting sets to watch! Every bump, set, and spike will either win the game or tie the game.
While side out scoring was traditionally the method of determining the winner, rally scoring is far more efficient and creates a more fast-paced, enjoyable game for everyone.