2023 EAA In-House Volleyball Rules of Play
Revised 8/16/23

EAA In-house Volleyball modifies high school rules for the purposes of the developmental nature of the game in our program.

Court and equipment
  • All courts will be as uniform as possible within the restrictions of the gym

  • Net height: approx. 7’ for 3rd-6th grades. 7’4” for 7th-12th grades

  • Court depth: 30’

  • Attack line: 10’

  • Balls: Grades 3-6 use Volleylites; Grades 7-12 use a standard volleyball
    Note: For seasons when grades 6/7 are combined, teams will use Volleylites due to a historically higher proportion of 6th grade players. 

Court setup

Coaches or adult representatives will set up and take down the courts as follows: Teams scheduled to practice and/or play first will set up. Teams scheduled to practice and/or play last will take down.

Number of players 

Six (6) players make up a team on the court, and all players must be on your official roster. Grades 3-6 teams may play with no fewer than five players; grade 7-12 teams may play with no fewer than four players. If a team does not meet the minimum player requirement, they must forfeit the match (although they may use their scheduled game time for a scrimmage).

Warm-up session

Prior to a match, a five (5) minute warm-up period at the net will be provided. Coaches should meet to discuss serving line, referee duty, scorekeeper and special considerations for the match.


During the regular season, coaches will be referee

  • One of the coaches will serve as referee. 

  • A coach or designee from the team not refereeing will act as scorekeeper.

  • If a question about a call or rule arises, coaches from each team should discuss the situation and come to an agreement or compromise. If the coaches cannot agree on a rule interpretation, they should rotate the referee position during the match. 

  • Outstanding questions regarding rules should be addressed to the EAA Volleyball Director.

Prior to starting a match, coaches from both teams must meet to agree upon how strictly the rules will be enforced. If a coach feels that relaxed rules are appropriate because the players are still in the early learning stage, the specifics of this issue must be discussed and agreed upon prior to the beginning of a match.

For all age groups, a whistle should be used to signal for service. Remind players to wait for the whistle before serving. Repeated reminders to wait will result in a side out.

Playing time
  • Players will be provided equal or nearly equal playing time as their teammates within any given match.

  • Teams are allotted a one-hour court time for regular season games and may use the entire time to play, even if they complete official games in less time.

  • Conversely, teams may not exceed their one-hour court time during the regular season. If the teams are unable to finish the third game and it is needed to determine the winner of the match, the winner is the team that is in the lead at the end of the hour (use the gym clock for consistency).


Teams should play a standard rotation, in which every player rotates through every position. Players are allowed to switch positions after the ball has been put in play, as long as they are switching positions within their row (e.g., front row stays in front and back row stays in back). The front row is allowed to play in the back half of the court (behind the 10’ line) but a back court attack is not allowed from either a front row or back row player (e.g., no jumping from the back court).

All coaches should set a good example and play fairly to teach high standards of sportsmanship in this recreational league.


A match is won when 1 team wins 2 out of 3 games. Games played after a team has won the match, are considered unofficial.


  • Rally scoring will be used. This means a point is scored on every serve, no matter which team served. The team that wins the point gets to serve the next point.

  • The first two games are played to 25 points, and the third game (if necessary) is played to 15 points. A team does not have to serve its final point to win, so if the opposing team’s loss of a point results in a team reaching 25 points (or 15 points in game 3), that team is awarded the win.

  • A team must win by two points, with a cap at 29 points.


Overhand serving is encouraged but not required. A ball hitting the net and continuing over the net to the receiving team is a legal serve and will be scored.

Note: For teams where grades are combined, the coaches and players can choose which grade’s serving guidelines best fit their needs; however, in matches and tournaments, the guidelines for the younger grade will prevail. 

Serving distances

The following serving distances are guidelines. If a player is unable to serve from the suggested distance, the player may step up closer to be successful. Coaches should not take advantage of this rule in order to win games but only to allow players to develop and be successful.

  • Grade 3-4: Overhand serves should be at or behind the 10-foot line, and should be encouraged to back up as able; underhand serves should be at or behind the 20-foot line.

  • Grades 5-6: Overhand serves should be at or behind the 20-foot line.  If a player is successful on their first serving attempt, they are required to back up and serve from, at or behind the 25-foot line for all subsequent serves of that rotation.  Underhand serves should be at or behind the 25-foot line.

  • Grades 7-12: should be behind the back line.

Note: If a player is completely unable to serve over the net based on the distances stated for their grade level, the coaches should communicate with one another to determine an appropriate starting point for that specific player in order to provide the player an opportunity to take part in the game.  If that player is successful on their first serving attempt from the modified distance, they are then required to back up and serve from, at or behind the specified distance for their grade level for all subsequent serves of that rotation.

Serving tosses

  • Grades 3-5: the server may toss the ball as many times as needed to make contact.

  • Grades 6-12: the server is allowed a maximum of 2 tosses; however, the ball must hit the ground without being touched before the server catches it and tries again. 

Note: Players who exceed the maximum number of serving tosses during the game will first be given a warning so they have the opportunity to correct their play. 

Serving attempts

  • Grades 3-5: a second serve is provided if the first serve fails to go over the net or falls out of play without being touched by the opposing team (this applies to their first attempt of the rotation only). No point is scored when a first serve fails in this way and the server is provided with a second opportunity. 

  • Grades 6-12: the first serve will count and the server will not get a second attempt. 

Number of serves

  • Grades 3-4: if a player serves for three consecutive points, the ball will go over to the other team to serve.

  • Grades 5-6: if a player serves for three consecutive points, the serving team will rotate and continue to serve.

  • Grades 7-12: there is no maximum number of serves per player.

Game play
  • One team may hit the ball up to three times before returning over the net. One player may not hit the ball twice in a row.

  • After legally crossing the net, any part of the ball hitting a boundary line is in bounds.

  • The ball may be played off the net, but players may not touch the net.

  • No part of the player, with the exception of the hair, may touch the net or cross the plane of the net during play. A player may legally cross the plane of the net when:

    • A legal block is made and it does not interfere with the opponent’s play.

    • There is a follow-through after an attack hit.

Ceiling and overhanging objects

In gyms where there are backboards, ropes, or other objects hanging directly over the playing area, those items will be considered part of the ceiling. 

  • If the ball hits the ceiling and comes back down on the same side of the court, the ball can continue to be played if the team has not yet used all three hits. (the ceiling does not count as a hit).

  • If the ball hits the ceiling and comes back down on the other side of the court, the ball will be considered out of bounds.

  • If the ball hits the wall, it is out of bounds.

Late arrival / failure to show

Regular season

  • If a team fails to show for their assigned match, they will forfeit and be charged with a loss. 

  • If a team arrives more than 20 minutes late during the regular season, they may be charged with a forfeit and loss if a match cannot be completed by the end of their court time. 


  • If a team fails to show for their assigned match, they will forfeit and be charged with a loss. 

  • If a team arrives over 10 minutes late, they will forfeit the first game of the match. 

  • If a team arrives over 20 minutes late, they will forfeit the entire match. 

  • If a team is delayed because they are still playing in another tournament match, they will not have to forfeit; the tournament director or coordinator will make adjustments to the tournament time schedule.

Recordkeeping and reporting

If teams are keeping record of wins and losses for an overall ranking, coaches are responsible for entering final scores on the EAA website. 

  • Tournament placement will be determined by a blind draw.

  • Unsportsmanlike conduct is behavior that is unethical or dishonorable. It includes, but is not limited to, disrespectfully addressing an official, and flagrant behavior, any intentional contact with an official, taunting, criticizing an opponent or an official, or the use of profanity directed at another person. This shall apply to all coaches, parents and players, with the penalty being the individual’s immediate disqualification from the match and requirement to leave the gym with no further involvement with the match. Such an offense should be reported to the director by both coaches.

  • Unacceptable conduct includes, but is not limited to, willful failure to follow the directions of an official, using profanity not directed at someone, or any action that could bring discredit to the individual, team, or the athletic association. The penalty is disqualification from the remainder of the game, although the individual may play in later games in a match. Both coaches are to report such incidents to the director.

  • Spectators and others in and around the gym are expected to conduct themselves in an honorable manner. The coaches, in collaboration with the grade level coordinators or the directors, are expected to communicate those expectations to any person who acts in ways described as unacceptable or unsportsmanlike. Serious problems in this regard should be dealt with by requesting that the person leave the premises. Less serious problems should be managed by explaining the expectations for behavior, and informing the person that the continued problems would lead to being directed to leave the gym. Coaches should report such an incident to the director.

Athletes with special needs

The volleyball program is committed to making accommodations for athletes with special needs to provide opportunities for participation. The athlete or the athlete’s parents are asked to contact the director to indicate the athlete’s needs. The director will develop a plan in collaboration with the athlete and parent per EAA bylaws.