A player stands behind the inline and serves the ball, in an attempt to drive it into the opponent's court. The main objective is to make it land inside the court; it is also desirable to set the ball's direction, speed and acceleration so that it becomes difficult for the receiver to handle it properly. A serve is called an "ace" when the ball lands directly onto the court or travels outside the court after being touched by an opponent.

According to the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, the dig is a forearm pass to control the ball in preparation for return. It is usually the team's first touch of the ball after the opposition has put it over the net.

A block that is aimed at completely stopping an attack, thus making the ball remain in the opponent's court, is called offensive. A well-executed offensive block is performed by jumping and reaching to penetrate with one's arms and hands over the net and into the opponent's area. It requires anticipating the direction the ball will go once the attack takes place. It may also require calculating the best foot work to executing the "perfect" block.

It’s best to contact the ball between your knees in front of your body. Ideally, you want to get your hips under the ball so that you have better ball control.

The final year of side-out scoring at the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship was 2000. Rally point scoring debuted in 2001 and games were played to 30 points through 2007. For the 2008 season, games were renamed "sets" and reduced to 25 points to win.

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The attack, also known as the spike, is usually the third contact a team makes with the ball. The object of attacking is to handle the ball so that it lands on the opponent's court and cannot be defended. A player makes a series of steps (the "approach"), jumps, and swings at the ball.

If the ball at a distance from you and you do not have enough time to get there by moving your feet, you may want to dive for it. Take a step toward the ball, reach out with your platform and sprawl, playing through the ball and angling it back toward the setter at the net. Practice diving without the ball so you can learn how to avoid landing hard on your hip, knees or elbows. Always dive out, not down so you can slide, not thump when you hit the floor. If done right, diving should not hurt.

After the serve, each team is allowed a maximum of three touches of the ball before returning it over the net. The first is normally the dig. The next is the set, a pass used to put the ball in the best position for delivery over the net. The spike is the third touch, a powerful, overhand smash designed to ground the ball in the opponent's court and win a point.

Learning how to dig a volleyball is important for playing great defense. 

Coverage systems are the formations used by the offense to protect their court in the case of a blocked attack. Executed by the 5 offensive players not directly attacking the ball, players move to assigned positions around the attacker to dig up any ball that deflects off the block back into their own court. Popular formations include the 2-3 system and the 1-2-2 system. In lieu of a system, some teams just use a random coverage with the players nearest the hitter.

Some teams, when they are ready to serve, will line up their other five players in a screen to obscure the view of the receiving team. This action is only illegal if the server makes use of the screen, so the call is made at the referees discretion as to the impact the screen made on the receivers ability to pass the ball. The most common style of screening involves a W formation designed to take up as much horizontal space as possible.

The 6–2 lineup thus requires two setters, who line up opposite to each other in the rotation. In addition to the setters, a typical lineup will have two middle hitters and two outside hitters. By aligning like positions opposite themselves in the rotation, there will always be one of each position in the front and back rows. After service, the players in the front row move into their assigned positions.

Learning how to dive Diving is more popular in the men’s volleyball because it takes greater upper body strength to safely execute a dive.

As with a set or an overhand pass, the setter/passer must be careful to touch the ball with both hands at the same time. If one hand is noticeably late to touch the ball this could result in a less effective set, as well as the referee calling a 'double hit' and giving the point to the opposing team.

The libero may function as a setter only under certain restrictions. If she/he makes an overhand set, she/he must be standing behind (and not stepping on) the 3-meter line; otherwise, the ball cannot be attacked above the net in front of the 3-meter line. An underhand pass is allowed from any part of the court.

Remember to always change your body position to face the hitter. Hard driven balls are dug often just by getting in good body position. If you are continually able to get into good position for digging (angling your arms to the target every time), you will often dig balls that will stay in play just by them rebounding off of you in the right direction.

Successful blocking does not always result in a "roof" and many times does not even touch the ball. While it's obvious that a block was a success when the attacker is roofed, a block that consistently forces the attacker away from his or her 'power' or preferred attack into a more easily controlled shot by the defense is also a highly successful block.

The clear disadvantage to this offensive formation is that there are only two attackers, leaving a team with fewer offensive weapons.

A line 3 m (9.84 ft) from and parallel to the net is considered the "attack line". This "3 meter" (or "10-foot") line divides the court into "back row" and "front row" areas (also back court and front court). These are in turn divided into 3 areas each: these are numbered as follows, starting from area "1", which is the position of the serving player:

Sometimes a player may also be forced to drop his or her body quickly to the floor to save the ball. In this situation, the player makes use of a specific rolling technique to minimize the chances of injuries.

Volleyball is essentially a game of transition from one of the above skills to the next, with choreographed team movement between plays on the ball. These team movements are determined by the teams chosen serve receive system, offensive system, coverage system, and defensive system.

Blocking is also classified according to the number of players involved. Thus, one may speak of single (or solo), double, or triple block.

In contemporary volleyball, many types of serves are employed:

It is important to keep your knees bent and remain in a low stance for your ready position. You should be lower than you are to receive serve. Keep your weight balanced on your toes so you can spring forward or to the side to get the ball. Bend at the waist to put your shoulders over your knees and keep your arms out to the side just wider than your knees.

There are 5 positions filled on every volleyball team at the elite level. Setter, Outside Hitter/Left Side Hitter, Middle Hitter, Opposite Hitter/Right Side Hitter and Libero/Defensive Specialist. Each of these positions plays a specific, key role in winning a volleyball match.

A volleyball court is 9 m × 18 m (29.53 ft × 59.06 ft), divided into equal square halves by a net with a width of one meter (39.4 in). The top of the net is 2.43 m (7 ft 11 21⁄32 in) above the center of the court for men's competition, and 2.24 m (7 ft 4 3⁄16 in) for women's competition, varied for veterans and junior competitions.

Competitive teams master six basic skills: serve, pass, set, attack, block and dig. Each of these skills comprises a number of specific techniques that have been introduced over the years and are now considered standard practice in high-level volleyball.

Another aspect is to see the setter as an attacking force, albeit a weakened force, because when the setter is in the front court they are able to 'tip' or 'dump', so when the ball is close to the net on the second touch, the setter may opt to hit the ball over with one hand. This means that the blocker who would otherwise not have to block the setter is engaged and may allow one of the hitters to have an easier attack.

When preparing to dig, keep your feet wide enough apart so you are able to react and move quickly in any direction.

The serve receive system is the formation used by the receiving team to attempt to pass the ball to the designated setter. Systems can consist of 5 receivers, 4 receivers, 3 receivers, and in some cases 2 receivers. The most popular formation at higher levels is a 3 receiver formation consisting of two left sides and a libero receiving every rotation. This allows middles and right sides to become more specialized at hitting and blocking.

The 5–1 offense is actually a mix of 6–2 and 4–2: when the setter is in the front row, the offense looks like a 4–2; when the setter is in the back row, the offense looks like a 6–2.

The three standard volleyball formations are known as "4–2", "6–2" and "5–1", which refers to the number of hitters and setters respectively. 4–2 is a basic formation used only in beginners' play, while 5–1 is by far the most common formation in high-level play.

How to dig in volleyball

The skill of passing involves fundamentally two specific techniques: underarm pass, or bump, where the ball touches the inside part of the joined forearms or platform, at waist line; and overhand pass, where it is handled with the fingertips, like a set, above the head. Either are acceptable in professional and beach volleyball, however there are much tighter regulations on the overhand pass in beach volleyball.

Blocking refers to the actions taken by players standing at the net to stop or alter an opponent's attack.

By contrast, it is called a defensive, or "soft" block if the goal is to control and deflect the hard-driven ball up so that it slows down and becomes easier to defend. A well-executed soft-block is performed by jumping and placing one's hands above the net with no penetration into the opponent's court and with the palms up and fingers pointing backward.

Defensive systems are the formations used by the defense to protect against the ball being grounded into their court by the opposing team. The system will outline which players are responsible for which areas of the court depending on where the opposing team is attacking from. Popular systems include the 6-Up, 6-Back-Deep, and 6-Back-Slide defense. There are also several different blocking schemes teams can employ to disrupt the opposing teams offense.

In the 6–2 formation, a player always comes forward from the back row to set. The three front row players are all in attacking positions. Thus, all six players act as hitters at one time or another, while two can act as setters. So the 6–2 formation is actually a 4–2 system, but the back-row setter penetrates to set.

The answers to these questions will help you to get in position to dig the ball. Get in front of the hitter's shoulder. If the block is solid, you may want to move up for the tip. If it is not, stay back, get into the hole and get ready for the hard driven ball.