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REC.SPORT.VOLLEYBALL
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Subject: rec.sport.volleyball Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Newsgroups: rec.sport.volleyball Followup-To: rec.sport.volleyball Summary: This posting contains a list of Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) related to the sport of volleyball. Archive-name: volleyball-faq - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - REC.SPORT.VOLLEYBALL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION LIST - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Version: 01 February 1998 HTML version of this FAQ, and much more, can be found on Volleyball World Wide (WWW) http://www.Volleyball.ORG/ Posted around the first day of the month to rec.sport.volleyball. Maintained/Updated by Tom Jack (taj@Volleyball.ORG) ---------------------------------------------------- INDEX A: EQUIPMENT, magazines, Rule Book, & miscellaneous effluvia 1. Where can I buy ....? 2. What vb mags are out there and how do I subscribe? 3. What shoes are best? 4. What is the "strength shoe"? 5. What shoes should I wear on grass? 6. What volleyball is best? For indoor play? For outdoor? 7. My Top Flight's gotten egg-shaped; how can I prevent this and what do I do now? 8. Which camp should I attend? Is there one near me? 9. What volleyball sanctioning organizations are out there? 10. Where do I get a copy of the current Rule Book? B: FACILITIES 1. What size is the court? 2. Are the lines (2" wide) in or out? Do the lines extend? 4. How high is the net? 5. How do you build a sand court? C: Play of the Ball / SERVING 1. When does a serve start? 2. Can a server jump forward of the end line while serving? 3. What makes a "floater" move? or a topspin dive? 4. Is an underhand serve legal? 5. Can I bounce the ball before serving? 6. Can the serve be blocked or attacked? 7. Where do I have to serve from? 8. What if I'm standing on the side-line at the time of service? 9. How long do players have to remain in their 'official' positions (serving order) before moving to their 'playing' positions? 10. When positioning at the serve, how much can you overlap? 11. Do you rotate when you receive the first serve? D: Play of the Ball / PASSING 1. Can a serve ever be passed overhead? 2. Are double hits ever legal? 3. What about playing the ball with 2 separated fists? 4. What's considered a lift and what's a legal pass? 5. Can you pass/dig a spike overhead with hand/finger action? E: Play of the Ball / SETTING 1. When is a set a set and when is it a throw? 2. If the set comes off my hands spinning is it a fault? 3. I've heard sets called by different numbers. What are they? 4. I've heard that overhead sets aren't legal in beach play? 5. The wind blew the ball over the net and a fault was called!?! F: Play at the Net / BLOCKING 1. Does a block count as a hit? 2. Can a backrow player block? 3. Can a player below the top of the net considered a blocker? 4. I didn't even touch the ball and I got whistled for an illegal block? 5. What if the ball bounces off two blockers? 6. Can you block a block? 7. Can you carry/lift on a block? 8. What's the difference between a block and attack hit over the opponents court? 9. What's the best way to learn to block? 10. Can I reach over the net to block the ball? G: Play of the Ball / HITTING 1. How come my hits (sail long/go into the net/get roofed)? 2. What about my hand position and shape? 3. I'm 5'6 with a 16" vertical, how can I learn to put the ball down within the 3m line? 4. Can a backrow player legally attack the ball? 5. What if I jump from outside the court in front of the attack line extension? 6. I'm a 6'7" backrow player, standing in the attack area, when the ball comes my way. I unloaded on it without jumping. Why did the ref whistle a fault? H: Play of the Ball / TIPS and MISCELLANEOUS 1. Are open one-hand tips legal? 2. What's a 'roll shot,' 'cobra,' and 'camel toe'? 3. What's a 'power' tip and is it legal? 4. Can I contact the ball over the opponent's court? 5. Can you reach across the plane of the net after the 3rd hit? 6. What if I'm LEGALLY under the net, my knees are across the plane of the net, and my leg is then hit by the ball on the opponents' side of the net before the ball breaks the plane of the net? 7. Can I step on the center line? 8. Can you ever cross the center line? 9. The ball hit a basketball backstop near our court, do we replay the point? 10. What if the ball hits the ceiling? 11. What is a "free" ball and why do players yell "free"? 12. What are "angle" and "line"? 13. In a beach game, I saw the player at the net hold up 2 fingers. Why? 14. What are the position numbers on the court? 15. Someone asked me if I played a 6-2 or 5-1, but I'm 5'8. What were they talking about? 16. What is rally scoring? 17. What are the rules differences between USVA and high schools? 18. I was playing vb at a picnic and people crashed the net, lifted the ball, ran over on our side, and generally ignored the rules. How do I let them know there are rules? I: TRAINING 1. What are the Plain Truths of Training for volleyball? 2. What's the "vertical" and how do you measure it? 3. How can I increase my vertical by xx inches? J: INJURIES and Their PREVENTION - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - A: EQUIPMENT, magazines, Rule Book, & miscellaneous effluvia 1. Where can I buy ....? First of all, support your local VB shop. These good folks have made a commitment to bring VB accoutrement into your neighborhood. Help keep 'em going. Reasons, if you need them, include: 1. You can see what stuff really looks and feels like. The fit of those great-looking Turbo Gel Dinkums make your new wingtips feel great. Maybe a Desert Storm camo ball isn't for you. 2. If something goes wrong, they'll usually be happy to find a solution to your problem. I bought a new ball (deflated) which had a broken bladder - exchange was simple. 3. Prices are usually a bit higher, but sale items can be great deals. 4. You don't have to pay shipping. 5. You have it now; those new shoes will add 4" to your jump for tonight's tourney. 6. You can get info on the local VB scene; leagues, tournaments, etc. 7. Finally, VB people are friendly and nice folks - I feel good about giving them my business. Now, if you don't have a local VB store the solution is mail order. Mail order prices can be lower than stores (less overhead) and shipping is usually very fast (they'll be happy to tell you how many days it'll take). Return policies vary, but are often pretty lenient. Here are a few in the US (sorry if they don't ship overseas; email me other sources, I'll add them to the list). Oh yea, these folks have catalogs; usually free if you buy stuff, a couple of bucks for looking: USAV (USA Volleyball) Phone: 1-800-275-8782 3595 E. Fountain Blvd FAX: 1-719-597-6307 Colorado Springs, CO 80910-1740 WWW: http://www.volleyball.org/usav SCI / The Volleyball Store Phone: 1-800-VBL-STOR Spike Nashbar Phone: 1-800-SPIKE-IT ext 1 4111 Simon Rd., Dept 1 e-mail: mail@nashbar.com Youngstown, OH 44512-1343 WWW: http://www.nashbar.com/ Volleyball One Phone: 1-800-950-8844 15392 Assembly lane, Suite A FAX: 1-714-894-3729 Huntington Beach, CA 92649 WWW: http://www.volleyballone.com/ E-mail: questions@volleyballone.com VB Warehouse Phone: 1-800-VBW-5551 PO Box 98 River Grove, IL 60171 2. What vb mags are out there and how do I subscribe if my local bookstore doesn't carry them? There is one national volleyball periodical: Volleyball To subscribe: Volleyball Subscr. Dept. VWW PO Box 55712 Boulder, CO 80322 800-876-2509 Single copy: $3.50 Subscription: 12 mos./$19.95 3. What shoes are best? "..., it is illegal to wear shoes." for sand anyway! For those of you forced to play indoors and prefer the shod look; I'm not even going to mention preferences since these are so personal - I know players who would be happy to wear different brands on each foot. There's a wide range of shoes to choose from including companies with specialized VB shoes (Kaepa, Mizuno, ASICS, Nike, Reebok, Avia) as well as multi-sport crosstrainers. Controversies are common: high tops vs low, gum soles vs composition, neon vs b&w, gel vs air. Save your comments for r.s.v.shoes (:-). Like me, you'll probably end up with several and match them with your uniform de jour. 4. I've heard of a thing called the "strength shoe". What is it? The Strength(R) Shoe, by Strength(R) FOOTWEAR, Inc. is a shoe with a 'platform', slightly larger than the front part of the shoe, attached to the bottom of the shoe (and adds a total of 1-2" to the front of the shoe)[yes, you'll look goofy!]. They supposedly can increase your jumping by 5-9" (they recommend a 9 week training program). A pair of shoes cost about $110. High-tops are not available. You'll see ads for them in magazines. You'll also see JumpSoles which are $50 platforms that are attached to the soles of your shoes which (along with a training program) are advertised to add 5-12 inches to your vertical jump. 5. What shoes should I wear on grass? Again, no consensus, but many folks lean to turf shoes with the small rubber bumps on the sole giving better traction than a regular vb shoe. Mizuno, Asics and others make a special grass shoe - looks like a turf shoe. Whatever you wear: no spikes/cleats; they're illegal. 6. What volleyball is best? For indoor play? For outdoor? There are strong feelings about VB's - but basically skin was meant to touch only leather in more ways than you can imagine. There are over 65 different models of volleyballs available for purchase in the United States. Leading manufacturers of balls are - Baden, Brine, Mikasa, Molten, Spalding, Tachikara, Wilson. Leather balls are worth it - and, destined, like men, to grow heavy and ugly with age and the amount of liquid absorbed (Sorry - I forget who said this). Leather balls abhor water, so if you're playing near the ocean or pool, where the ball might get dunked, you may want to think about one with a synthetic cover. 7. My Top Flight's gotten egg-shaped; how can I prevent this and what do I do now? To preserve the life of your ball: Never leave the ball for an extended period of time in an excessively hot or cold environment (i.e., car trunk for weeks on end in the summer) When you're not using the ball, inflate it until it is extremely hard and round. Let the air out when you play, and reinflate after you're done. Don't use the ball as a pillow or seat. Don't spray it with silicone, mink oil, or bear grease to preserve it - you'll just speed up it's eventual demise. 8. Which camp should I attend? Is there one near me? Whether you're a new high school player or an aging post-40 player, there's a camp for you to improve your skills and play. They're located everywhere and are usually run by a 'famous' coach or player, who may or may not be a good teacher. Check out the VB magazines mentioned, but the best recommendations come from friends who have attended one. List of camps on Volleyball WorldWide - http://www.volleyball.org/usav/ 9. What volleyball sanctioning organizations are out there? There are a number, including (sorry about the parochialism): FIVB/IVBF - Federation Internationale de Volleyball / International Volleyball Federation USAV - United States Volleyball (formerly USVBA) AVP - Association of Volleyball Professionals WPVA - Women's Professional Volleyball Association CBVA - California Beach Volleyball Association AVCA - American Volleyball Coaches Association CVA - Canadian Volleyball Association 10. Where do I get a copy of the current Rule Book? You can get the current '97 USAV Rule Book from the USAV: USAV 3595 E. Fountain Blvd Colorado Springs, CO 80910-1740 800/275-8782 719 / 597-6307 (fax) http://www.volleyball.org/usav/publications.html More questions arise from rules than any other source, but most are answered in the Rule Book. Everyone above the jungle ball level should have a copy of the Rule Book (and read it!). I'll be parochial and say that the USAV Rules provide pretty good coverage. The USAV Rules indicate whenever FIVB or AVP rules differ from USAV rules. Rules Notation: The Rules in general refer to the most current USAV Rules. Where rules vary, from association to association, we have tried to make comment of this fact. The USAV also has a Coaching Accreditation Program (CAP) with many books, videos, courses & other resources for vb coaches. Schedule on Volleyball World Wide - http://www.Volleyball.ORG/usav B: FACILITIES 1. What size is the court? FIVB, USAV, CBVA, WPVA Both indoor and outdoor courts are 18m x 9m (29'6" x 59'). Indoor courts also include an attack area designated by a line 3m (9'10") back from the center line. Lines on the court are 5cm (2" wide). AVP The playing court is 60' long by 30' wide. 2. Are the lines in or out? The key to most line rules is that the line is part of the area it delineates. Also, all lines extend infinitely beyond the court (except the center line). 1) The side and end lines are PART OF THE COURT (IN) 2) Lines should be 5cm (2") wide 3. How high is the net? FIVB, USAV, CBVA, WPVA Net height for Men Co-ed Mixed 6 2.43 meters or 7'11-5/8" Net height for Women, Boy's 14-and-under, Reversed mixed 6 2.24 meters or 7'4-1/8" Net height for 12-and-under 2.13m or 7'0" Net height for 10-and-under 1.98m or 6'6" 4. How do you build a sand court? Great detail on this topic at http://www.volleyball.org/general/ C: Play of the Ball / SERVING 1. When does a serve start? When the ref blows his/her whistle. The server then has 5 seconds to CONTACT the ball [this is a change from 1993 when you had 5 seconds to initiate a serving action]. The ref should make sure that the server is not initiating a serving motion prior to blowing the whistle - none of this "tweet" while the server is in midair. Can you re toss a bad service toss? As long as you don't contact the ball... If the ball, after having been tossed or released by the server, lands without touching the player, it is considered a serving tossing error. The referee must authorize the service again, and the player server must execute it within five seconds. One service tossing error is permitted for each service. 2. Can a server jump forward of the end line while serving? Yes, as long as at the time of last contact with the court, your body was within the legal service area. 3. What makes a "floater" move? or a topspin serve dive? Like a baseball knuckleball, the "float" serve moves erratically by creating unstable and unpredictable air currents around the ball resulting in unstable "lift" causing the ball to move in mysterious ways. No one, not even the server, knows where it's headed. The faster the "floater," the more it moves as the forces acting on it are greater. And no, it's not due to a certain position (out or up) of the valve at the time of the serve. And no, it's not caused by the bladder and ball expanding/contracting/pulsing after being hit. Please don't waste band- width on this discussion unless you have Real or Believable References. Like a curveball, a topspin or sidespin ball dives or moves based on unequal pressure on the ball caused by the rotation. The pressure is higher on the surface of the ball moving more quickly in the direction of flight than in on the surface rotating away. The ball appears to be "pushed" away from the surface with higher pressure. A rough surface or prominent seams may exaggerate this effect. 4. Is an underhand serve legal? Yes, as long as the ball is "clearly released or tossed" prior to contact of the hand hitting the ball [USAV 17.5.4]. If you don't release it (termed "cradling"), it's a fault and a sideout, although in many non-USAV leagues most ref's won't call it. 5. Can I bounce the ball before serving? Bounce away, but remember, when the ref blows the whistle, you've got 5 seconds to contact it. However, when you release/toss the ball it's got to go hand-to-hand, you can't let it hit the floor and then be hit for a serve. The ref will signal for a re-serve and you'll again get 5 seconds. Failure to do so will get you a team delay sanction and a sideout. 6. Can the serve be blocked or attacked? No, except in some High School play. Blocking a serve is a fault. It is illegal to attack a serve while the ball is completely above the height of the net. If your opponents want to attack it below the height of the net, by all means let them! :-) 7. Where do I have to serve from? Anywhere in the service zone (anywhere behind the end line). The server may move freely within the service zone. At the moment of the service hit or takeoff for a jump service, the server must be completely in the service zone and not touching the court (end line included) nor the playing service outside the zone. 8. What if I'm standing on the side-line at the time of service? At the instant the ball is contacted for service, all players, EXCEPT FOR THE SERVER, must be on or inside the court lines. THE SERVER, must be on or inside the court lines. Which means you can stand on (but not over) a side- or end-line during service. 9. How long do players have to remain in their 'official' positions (serving order) before moving to their 'playing' positions? "At the time the ball is contacted for service,..." -except for the server. After contact, you can move to wherever you wish. In actual play, you'll often see movement as soon as the server tosses the ball. 10. When positioning at the serve, how much can you overlap other players? "The right player must have at least part of a foot closer to the right sideline than the feet of the center player..." (same for left). Likewise, "Each front-row player must have at least part of a foot closer to the center line than the corresponding back-row player. Folks, we're talking here about foot contact with the floor. Basically, it's the location of big toes for back-front overlap and little toes for right-left overlap. Forget about the other foot, as long as those big & little toes are in the right place, you're legal. 11. Do you rotate when you receive the first serve? Yes, except in some high school play. "The team receiving the ball for service shall rotate one position clockwise before serving." It doesn't add "except after the first side out in a game." D: Play of the Ball / PASSING 1. Can a serve ever be passed overhead? Maybe; "receiving a served ball with an overhead pass using open hands is not necessarily a fault." You might be able to get away with it on a high, soft underhand serve, but expect to hear a "9" on the Groan Index. Be safe, with this kinda serve you've got plenty of time to get in position and give your setter a perfect pass. 2. Are double hits ever legal? Yes, the first contact of the ball by the receiving team can be a double, but must consist of a single continuous attempt to play the ball , say, shoulder - head or wrist - upper arm, but always with NO finger contact/action. Remember, the rules clearly state that the successive contact rule applies to the first team hit regardless of whether it is in response to a spike, block, serve, tip, dump, free ball, etc. The rules make no distinction between a 'hard hit' ball and a 'soft hit' ball (tip). In all other cases, double hits are illegal. 3. What about playing the ball with 2 separated fists? On the first attempt to play a ball this is ok. This is considered "multiple contacts during a single attempt to play the ball." As long as there is NO FINGER action and it's one motion, it's ok. The key here is that it is "one attempt" to play the ball - if you raised your fists at the same time it's legal. Be warned that some ref's will call this a double and some 'discussion' might ensue. 4. What's considered a lift and what's a legal pass? Here's a commentary that ALL players and refs should know: Ball Contact - Contact with the ball must be brief. When a player sets or hits the ball hard, it sometimes stays very briefly in contact with the player's hands. In such cases, contacting the ball from below or contacting a ball received from high in the air would not necessarily constitute a fault. The following actions of playing the ball should NOT(!!) be considered faults (Note: the "not" used to be in bold faced caps in the '93 book!): a) When the sound is different to that made by a fingertip hit, but the hit is still played simultaneously with both hands and the ball is not held. b) When the ball is played with two closed fists on a 2nd or 3rd hit and the contact is simultaneous. c) When the ball contacts an open hand and rolls off the hand backward without being held. d) When the ball is played correctly and the player's hands move backwards, either during or after the hit. e) When a poorly hit ball is caused to rotate (such as a defective spike where the ball is not hit squarely and is caused to spin, or a set ball that is caused to rotate due to improper but simultaneous contact). FAULTS IN PLAYING THE BALL [USAV 14.5] Four Hits: A team contacts the ball four times before returning it to the opponents Assisted Hit: A player takes support from a teammate or any structure/object in order to reach the ball. Caught or Thrown Ball: A player does not contact the ball cleanly Double Contact: A player contacts the ball twice in succession, or the ball contacts various parts of the body successively Illegal Hit: A player, in a non-playing area, plays a ball. 5. Can you pass/dig a spike overhead with hand/finger action? Maybe. During the first hit of the team, the ball may contact various parts of the body consecutively, provided that the contacts occur during one action. These include contacts involving "finger-action" on the ball and contact with the foot. The ball however, may not be caught and/or thrown. change the direction of the motion while contacting the ball." (While it may be legal, it sure is ugly and your score for "artistic impression" will suffer.) E: Play of the Ball / SETTING 1. When is a set a set and when is it a throw? Excellent setters can seemingly get away with a one-thousand-and-one, one-thousand-and-two, ... during the set. While the indoor rules do not mention setting, basically, it's: 1. the ball cannot visibly come to rest 2. no "deep dish" sets (ala chest-high = forehead and above). 3. ball rotation off the set does not necessarily indicate a throw 4. and most importantly, the ref's judgement. 2. If the set comes off my hands spinning is it a fault? No, not necessarily. "(It is not a fault) When a poorly hit ball is caused to rotate (such as [...] a set ball that is caused to rotate due to improper but simultaneous contact)." And outdoors, says "Rotation of the ball after the set may indicate a held ball or multiple contacts during the set but in itself is not is not a fault." Nevertheless, extreme examples of spinning sets will rightly be whistled as a lift. 3. I've heard sets called by different numbers. What are they? There are many setting systems with varying number schemes. Check with your local folks. The simplest system uses numbers to refer to the height of the set above the net. The setter calls (holds up hand behind back) the play. They are: 1 - a short set (1m high) directly into the middle hitter's hand 3 - a medium high set to middle or outside hitters 5 - a high ball, to the outside 10 - a high set to a backrow hitter (closed fist) Another commonly used system uses 2 numbers; one refering to the location of the set along the net (divided into zones), and the other referring to the height of the set above the net. 4. I've heard that overhead sets aren't legal in beach play? While two-hand overhead sets are de rigeur on a hard court, they are eschewed on sand, where ref's prefer(demand) to see bump sets. A squishier (read bag-like) Topflite 18 naturally stays on your fingers longer than a pumped up SV5W resulting in what some folks would call a throw. Maybe it's because you'll rarely see a good indoor setter playing 2's on the beach. 5. Playing 2's I set my partner and the wind blew the ball over the net into our opponent's court. They got the point. Why? If the ball is intentionally set into the opponent's court, the player must contact the ball with two hands above his/her shoulders and set it directly FORWARD or BACKWARD with relation to his/her body. If you attempt to set your partner and the wind causes the ball to float over, it is not a fault. Check local rules on this. In some areas of the country (i.e. a certain beach in Chicago), 'all' set-overs are illegal. F: Play at the Net / BLOCKING 1. Does a block count as a hit? Yes - for doubles and triples competition [USAV 18.4.1, new in 97-98] 2. Can a backrow player block? No. And they don't have to contact the ball to get called for an illegal block. Say your setter in a 6-2 releases and moves to the net for a set. However, the pass crosses the net where their 6'9" hitter unloads on this ripe fruit. Your middle blocker's recovered and gets a touch on the returning orb while the poor setter, standing next to the blocker, raises their hands to prevent the need for reconstructive surgery. Tweet!! Backrow player guilty of participating in a composite block. Moral of story: Cover up (wuss!) or look that ball straight in the eye and hope the hitter's your friend. 3. Can a player below the top of the net considered a blocker? Yes, as part of a composite block, but not as a lone blocker. "Some part of the body must be above the height of the net during the effort". Blocking occurs "close to the net" either before crossing the net, as it crosses, or "immediately after crossing." A lone 5' player with arms upraised with a finger tip above the net and contacting an attack hit is 'blocking.' 4. I didn't even touch the ball and I got whistled for an illegal block? WHY? The word is 'participation'. A back row player may be considered to be participating in a block even if they don't contact the ball. Remember, though, someone else in the composite block Must touch the ball. 5. What if the ball bounces off two blockers? In a composite block (>1 blocker) the ball can hit more than one and be considered a single block (with three hits still left for the side. However, a second blocker 2m away getting a touch would count as the first hit. Blocking - Contact With the Net It is a fault to touch any part of the net, except for incidental contact by a player's hair and insignificant contact by a player not involved in the action of playing the ball. When the ball is driven into the net and causes it to touch an opponent, no fault is committed. (Under High School Rules, players may not intentionally block a ball driven into the net) 6. Can you block a block? Yep - this can go back and forth. Often it'll result in a held ball and you'll do the whole thing over. However, if an attacker has the ball blocked back into them, that's the first contact and not counted as a block. Each side's contact gives the other 3 more. 7. Can you carry/lift on a block? Yes, if 1) the ball rolls along your body (like your arm) or 2) you redirect the ball with wrist motion into your opponents court. Rebounds and caroms are ok, but changing the direction of the ball after the ball is in your hand is not. 8. What's the difference between a block and attack hit over the opponents court? "Blocking is the action that deflects the ball coming from the opponent by (a) player(s) close to the net reaching higher than the net. To be considered a blocker, the player(s) must reach above the net sometime during the effort. 9. What's the best way to learn to block? Ramblin', aka rmp@crashnburn.Eng.Sun.COM (Richard Pottorff), gave a summary: "I was told the outside blocker lines up with his nose on the hitter's hitting shoulder. The middle blocker will come over to stand beside the outside blocker to close the block. Each blocker will start with his hands in a nearly "Mickey Mouse" position i.e. hands height of his neck, and thumbs overlapping the shoulders. When you jump, go to about a 1/4 knee bend, keeping your hands in the Mickey Mouse position. As you jump (half a count after the hitter (unless he's running a one) extend your arms up, and over the net (I find that the shorter the hitter I'm up against, the farther I try to penetrate the net, and the higher the hitter can get up the higher I try to reach). Don't swing your arms, just put them over the net and take away a section of the back court. If the ball hits your hands, a quick flick to put the ball down a little quicker works nicely. If you are the outside blocker, angle your hands in slightly to keep the ball from rebounding out of bounds. To improve your technique, stand at a net in the Mickey Mouse position, and do your blocking jumps. When I pratice my blocking, I'll jump at the middle, step and crossover to one side, jump, step and crossover to the middle, jump, step and crossover to the other side, jump, step and crossover back to middle, jump, and repeat. Its a good workout, and gets you used to jumping and moving right after the jump." 10. Can I reach over the net to block the ball? Sho nuff! Some older folks might remember in days of old when your hands could not legally break the plane of the net. Back-row players may not block, or participate in a completed collective block (Six-Player Competition). Male players may not participate in a block (Reverse Mixed Competition). G: Play of the Ball / HITTING 1. How come my hits (sail long/go into the net/get roofed)? There's too much to cover in this brief space. Get thee to a good coach. Howsomever, there are a few tips; 1) Approach and jump 2) Keep the ball in front of you 3) Timing 4) Peripheral vision 2. What about my hand position and shape? Theory is that fingers are spread and the hand should be shaped as if you were palming the ball. This offers control. Contact the ball with a firm hand at the bony part at the top of the palm near the knuckles. This provides power. Flick your wrist at contact to provide top-spin. 3. I'm 5'6 with a 16" vertical, how can I learn to put the ball down within the 3m line? Reality check time! There are some folks destined by biology and physics to be setters and backrow players. I also know some who have mastered the tip to the point it's as effective as most hard hit balls. If you can't increase your jump to 24+", work on tips and deep lobs to the corners. 4. Can a backrow player legally attack the ball? Yes, as long as when the player attacks the ball, they are behind (not on) the 3m attack line or, if in mid-air, they jumped from behind the attack line. They may also 'attack' the ball if it's not COMPLETELY above the top of the net. 5. What if I jump from outside the court in front of the attack line extension? Tweet! The attack line extends indefinitely. 6. I'm a 6'7" backrow player, standing in the attack area, when the ball comes my way. I unloaded on it without jumping. Why did the ref whistle a fault? If you are in the attack area and a back row player, the ball must still be under the net height to be sent over. You probably contacted the ball while it was above the net. H: Play of the Ball / Tips and Miscellaneous 1. Are open one-hand tips legal? Funny, tips are not mentioned in the Indoor rules, but are in Outdoor. Open hand tips are legal Indoors, but NOT Outdoors where an "One hand placement or redirection of the ball with the fingers" is illegal; it's got to be a "roll shot," "cobra," or "camel toe." 2. What's a 'roll shot,' 'cobra,' and 'camel toe'? These are short, one-handed shots usually with much topspin used instead of 'tips' outdoors and may be used indoors as well. In the 'roll shot' the ball is hit with the heel or palm of the hand; in the 'cobra' with straight locked fingertips, and the 'camel toe' with knurled [not to be confused with gnarled] fingers. You'll also hear these hits lumped under the verb 'to tool' as in "that wuss tooled the ball over my block into that big hole my slug partner left open." Another synonym here is "slime." 3. What's a 'power' tip and is it legal? Controversy here... First, a 'power' tip is one that looks like a throw; the hand contacts the ball high and with a stiff wrist is directed downwards into the opponents' court with considerable velocity. Your hand might remain in contact with the ball for some time, like for 30-45 degrees of arc. When you see these, it's often the start of an argument on both sides. It usually happens when the ball's set too close to the net and the hitter's trying to avoid getting stuffed. To some folks it's a throw, others, a legal shot. Higher level refs call it ok, lower level will call it a fault. 4. Can I contact the ball over the opponent's court? Only when blocking their attempt to direct the ball into your court. You cannot attack a ball completely on your opponents' side of the net. 5. Can you reach across the plane of the net after the 3rd hit? Yep. If the "over" was the result of a follow-through of a spike of a ball on the plane or on the attacker's side - perfectly fine. Otherwise, see the 2 questions just above. 6. What if I'm LEGALLY under the net, my knees are across the plane of the net, and my leg is then hit by the ball on the opponents' side of the net before the ball breaks the plane of the net? "The opponents are not allowed to intentionally touch the ball under the net before the ball passes fully beyond the vertical plane of the net. However, if the ball inadvertently contacts an opponent beyond the plane under the net, the ball becomes out of play and no fault is charged to the opponents." Unfortunately, this paragraph does not say what to do in case the contact is not intentional and is not beyond the plane of the net. Probably best to use the same rationale as in play above the net, i.e. unintentional contact under the net is not a fault by the defenders if the ball clearly would not clear the net and it is the third hit or none of the attacking team members could have made a play on the ball. If any of these points are in doubt, I would rule against the defenders (Geoffrey Clemm). 7. Can I step on the center line? Yes, but be careful! A player is allowed to step on the center line. You may contact your opponents court as long as "some part of the encroaching foot or feet remain on or above the center line" Note the "above"; if you lift your foot getting back, you're still legal. It also isn't a fault to cross the extension of the center line Outside the court [beaucoup bandwidth blown on this discussion!]. 8. Can you ever cross the center line? Your foot may cross the center line if part of your foot remains on or above the line. If any other part of your body, say your pinkie, touches the opponents' court, it's a fault. As an aside: BE CAREFUL! ENCROACHMENT IS NOT TO BE TOLERATED! Even in practice or rec play. Most serious ankle-foot injuries are the result of encroachment - let everyone know it's a Serious Fault! 9. The ball hit a basketball backstop near our court, do we replay the point? Usually, yes. If the ball hits a low hanging obstruction under 7 meters and within 2m of the court, the ball's normally called dead and replayed. This falls in the category of local rules and should be explained by the ref prior to play. 10. What if the ball hits the ceiling? A ceiling, particularly over 7 meters is out and a point or side out awarded. If it hits part of the ceiling between 15-23' (4.5-7m) it's still in play. Under 15'? Jeez, serves you right for playing in the Troglodyte Open. You also might want to check your local rules - they often cover ceiling hits. 11. What is a 'free' ball and why do players yell 'free'? A free ball is generally any ball which isn't spiked/hard hit. When a team sees that their opponents are not going to blast the ball over, someone (setter, or in our play, anyone first sensing that it won't be a hit - sometimes the setter's view might be blocked) yells "free" meaning, "get your slow hitter butts back and pass something" [thanks to Darcie Hammer]. 12. What are "angle" and "line" and why do I hear players yelling these words? The non-hitter who has a view of the blocker(s) yells to the hitter what areas are not blocked or covered to direct the spike into these areas. A "line" hit is one down the sideline nearest the hitter, while an "angle" is a crosscourt hit from a ball set to the side. Obviously these don't work for a middle set. 13. In a beach game, I saw the player at the net hold up 2 fingers behind their back when their partner was serving. Why? The net player/blocker was telling their partner the direction they were going to block; 1 = line, 2 = angle, fist = no block. 14. What are the position numbers on the court? There's more than one system, but the most common has the setter (right back) designated #1 with 2-6 numbered counter-clockwise to #6. 15. Someone asked me if I played a 6-2 or 5-1, but I'm 5'8. What were they talking about? They were asking about standard player/offensive sets. In these 2 common offenses, the first number is the number of designated hitters, the second, the number of setters. In a 6-2, while 2 players share setting duties (coming from the back row), all 6 players are hitters as well. In a 5-1, there are 5 hitters and one setter (back or front row). Most higher level teams go with a 5-1 to get consistent setting. With lower level teams you might hear a 4-2 where two setters always set and the setter is always in the front row. A bit farther and you'll hear "center set" where the person rotating into the middle of the front row sets (giving up the middle hit). 16. What is rally scoring? A perverted system of scoring designed to destroy normal play strategies, etc. A point is scored with each serve; whoever wins the volley gets a point. Normally used in a final game to speed up play to get the show over quickly. 17. What are the rules differences between USAV and high schools? There are too many to list here. 18. I was playing vb at a picnic and people crashed the net, lifted the ball, ran over on our side, and generally ignored the rules. How do I let them know there are rules without them saying "we're only playing for fun" and me sounding like an asshole? Good Luck! The best way to do this is to let it be known from the start that 1) the net is "fragile", please don't crash it, and 2) that crossing onto your opponents court is how ankles get broken. As for throws, doubles, etc., let'em go. If you have a problem with this kind of play - sit back in that lawn chair and have another beer. You might try a little teaching, but let's face it, folks are there to party, not learn. I: Training 1. What are the Plain Truths of Training for volleyball? 1. Any attempts to increase your physical abilities MUST start with a rigorous whole body weightlifting program. 2. To jump higher, do a lot of jumping. 3. You cannot overemphasize the need for stretching to prevent injury. 4. Physical improvements are hard. For most people, improving their volleyball skills is far and away the wisest use of time. Find good players and emulate them. Ask them what you do wrong & listen to them. 5. Play a lot of volleyball, every day if possible, and play with people better than you. 2. What's the "vertical" and how do you measure it? One's vertical is the effective height of one's approach/jump. To measure it, stand flat footed and measure how high you can reach. Then with an approach and jump, say next to a wall, measure your best jump. The difference is your "vertical." There's no such thing as an 'average' vertical (except for the constant discussion, the only comparable measurement that is subject to such exaggeration is the length of the male sexual organ). All I can say is that almost everyone can improve it. 3. How can I increase my vertical by xx inches? Many ways; probably the fastest and most effective way is to improve your jumping technique. Check out vb books and work with a coach. There are many strengthening methods that will increase your jumping ability - and, plyometrics work. The cover feature of the December 1993 issue of Volleyball Monthly was jumping; technique, exercises, & drills. J: Injuries and Their Prevention First, a couple of caveats about what this section is and most importantly, is not. It is not a do-it-yourself guide to treatment of serious and "career- threatening" injuries. We are not physicians (of any kind) trained in physical, orthopedic, or sports medicine. We would never attempt to either diagnose or recommend treatment of any injury suffered whilst playing volleyball. Mistakes of diagnosis or treatment have the potential of turning even minor injuries into severe ones requiring long-term rehabilitation. If you are injured (how seriously depends on you), get thee to specialist in sports-related injuries as soon as possible. Any discussion of injuries starts with prevention. The two words that volleyball players need to swear an oath to are "stretch" and "strengthen." Now say it again: "stretch" and "strengthen" Stretching cannot be overemphasized, particularly for an over-30 player like myself. Stretching of muscles and tendons is not overly complex, but takes pre-game time - like get there 30 minutes before gametime. Particularly important are the muscles of the lower back, legs (like hamstrings), and shoulders. Make a commitment to devote a fraction of the time you spend on the court in S & S - I can't say how much, but try 20-30 minutes before a 2-hour practice, at least 20 minutes before a 3-game match, and a couple of hours per week outside of play. Injuries in volleyball tend to involve joints and muscles/tendons/ligaments. The litany tends to go 1) shoulder strains/rotator cuff injury, 2) ankle sprains and breaks, 3) knee strains, and 4) low back pain. SHOULDER: I've had recurring rotator cuff strains over the past 4 years - most of which could be prevented by 1) stretching and 2) strengthening (remember?). These injuries run the gamut from strains and tears to acromial impinge- ment to dislocation. If you suffer a serious injury, check with an expert - and maybe several at that! Todd Biske (biske@cs.uiuc.edu) had a detailed review of these injuries awhile back and I'll include them here. First, symptoms (as if we have to tell you): * A dull, numbing pain in the shoulder which extended down to the elbow at the worse times, which would last for as long as 2-3 days at a time. * Nice cracking and popping sounds when rotating the shoulder fully. * Easily aggravated by any throwing motion, or harsh wrist snaps which put stress on the shoulder. * Sometimes not able to raise arm past 90 degrees. Treatment (remember, check with an expert first): You may require medication to reduce the immediate inflammation and pain. My sports med doc gave me an injection of cortisone and put me on ibuprofen as an anti-inflammatory agent. However, a joint can only take so much cortisone, it's used only with very serious injuries. Rest. Don't use the shoulder for at least eight weeks or so. See a physical trainer and have them develop a rehab program for you. Rehab programs usually include range of motion and stretching and a weight program to strengthen the joint. The important thing to remember is to start SMALL. It may not feel like a lot of weight, but with a tender rotator cuff, you want to take it slowly. Also, when you get back to the point where you can play again have someone check your form. Again, stretching your shoulder prior to playing is Necessary. Get to the gym 30 minutes early for stretching. You may have suffered a more serious injury requiring surgery, either arthroscopically or other. If surgery is recommended, make sure it's necessary by getting a second opinion. Jim Kiraly (jim@ljkiraly.lerc.nasa.gov) writes that his shoulder injury "was even scheduled for a major surgery which would have immobilized my arm for 6 weeks, required a year of rehab, and according to the orthopaedic surgeon (who I thought was pretty good) could expect no more than 80% function afterwards." He found a GOOD orthopaedic surgeon who knew what the problem was (acromial impingement) and fixed it arthoscopically with a full recovery in about 6 weeks. ANKLE INJURIES Ankle and knee injuries are frequently the result of an intimate pas de deux or menage a trois at the net. Eschew them. Some folks are apparently doomed by genetics to have weak, injury-prone ankles - or once you have an ankle injury, you seem prone for more. High-mid-low top shoes; it doesn't really seem to matter. Folks will swear by or at all three - whatever seems to work for you is fine. Prevention is primarily a matter of avoiding contact, particularly under the net. The proposed rule changes to allow a player to cross the center line will guarantee an epidemic of sprained and broken ankles. Everyone should ignore this rule change - and refs, even if they can't fault encroachment, should point out the danger of so doing before the match and whenever they see it. Many folks swear by Aircasts (TM), lightweight, inflatable plastic and velcro supports you wear in your shoe. Although designed to provide support while recovering from an injury and to prevent subsequent ones, some folks have taken to wearing them as preventive. Regardless, check with an expert and get ones that fit (and shoes to go with them) if you wear them. There is a feeling amongst players who have suffered ankle injuries that a clean break heals better and is less apt to be a recurrent problem than a serious sprain. Whatever, if you have broken an ankle, follow your rehab program and you'll be back playing in no time. KNEE Knee injuries are, like ankle, frequently the result of contact, but may result from running, turning, and jumping. I've seen players with such extensive knee braces that they look like a true bionic player. The weight definitely affects one's vertical for jumping and speed for setting. However, don't think you'll be relegated to the back row after a serious knee injury. These injuries result in strains, sprain, and tears in the knee joint, one of the body's more complex joints and one with great stresses. These are all potentially career-threatening and should be treated with respect. Treatment varies from rest to bracing to surgery, both arthroscopic and open. Again, if surgery is recommended, get a second opinion. LOW BACK PAIN I am writing this hunched over the keyboard with terrible pain (even with prescription drugs) an 8 pm vb league and no way to play - it's hard to even stand upright with a low back muscle spasm. My low back problems are always aggravated by diving forward to cover short balls and tips. Low back problems should always be evaluated by a specialist - believe me, the pain alone says "Serious!" Back problems include muscle spasms (my specialty), herniated disks, pinched nerves, and other assorted maladies. Diagnosis usually requires a thorough history/physical exam and radiologic studies (xrays, CT scans, MRI). Unfortunately, many of these injuries are prone to recur, particularly muscle spasms - and they can be excruiatingly painful (I was on hands and knees for 3 days). Prevention again consists of stretching and strengthening. My problem has always been lack of flexibility and a tendency to ignore the need to stretch. Finally, muscle spasms may be the result of off-court stress in your life. Yea, I know, volleyball is supposed to reduce stress! Treatment for back injuries varies widely according to the injury. These need professional attention - and if surgery is recommended, always, always, get a second opinion by another sports med expert. Back injuries will always significantly affect your playing time and schedule. If you ignore them or try to come back too soon, you may jeopardize your chances of ever playing again. Keep that in mind and don't push it. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- FAQ developed from original version produced by Donn Young. rec.sport.volleyball has been in existence since September 1991. WWW Version of this FAQ on Volleyball World Wide - http://www.Volleyball.ORG Have fun with the game, -tom - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Tom Jack o Volleyball WorldWide | \ | http://www.volleyball.org/ ||====================\O/==|| taj@volleyball.org ||-+-+-+-+-+-+o+-+-+-+-J-+-|| 408/358-8622 ||==O===============/\==|| 408/358-8622 (fax) || T\o A \ \ || || / ) ( ) || -------------------------- -----------------------------------


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