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This page is monitored by USA Volleyball Region Services staff and we will respond quickly to those questions posted in the comment section here, along with development of an FAQ page. 

One document that you can get printed copies from USAV for programming is the "Did You Know" USAV handout

Another great page to check is USAV FACTS section.

Writing a paper on volleyball?  Want to see where we started and our extensive background?

So, please, ask away by sending us an email at

Coaching By Fear

Question:  What do you do when an athlete is not adjusting their behavior? For exacmple, the athlete who is not calling the ball or not ina ready position? Do I continually stop practice & prompt them and then give positive reinforcement when they do it? It's something that I am really stuck on and would love to know. TC

Answer: "Catch them being good", that really is what it comes down to, summary feedback and scoring for what you want to happen. For example, if you see 5 & 4 are right and one wrong, your feedback /forward is on the 4 right, NOT the one wrong. If the opposite, you address the 4 wrong as to what they need to start doing in the next 5.  Then in scoring, you do things like, talking gets extra points (1 more, double the score, etc) while being silent is zero or even loses the points scored. Simply, catch them doing what you want and give it your attention rather than traditionally staying silent and then when they err, going bonkers.....

Foreign Team/Player Participation

Question #1 :  Teams from Canada want to play in Ohio Valley Region events, is there anything special that needs to be done. I know they’ve got registration numbers already. 

Question #2:  My son, Evan is Canadian and goes to USA camps and would like to know if he could become a member of USA volleyball. He would  like to know if he could play for a USA team and be a member of a Canadian team?

Answers #1 & 2: 

Foreign Participation Regional Process
Foreign Participation Registration
Foreign Participation Policy

Club Questions

Question #1: We are a new club that is just starting up and looking for advice.  How do we get started with the region politics, rules and regulations as well as legally register our club for non profit status?

New Club Director

Answer #1: First we would direct you to contact you local region office in the state where you want to start your club. Some regions have multiple states that they must satisfy with rules and regulations, so they would be the first ones to guide you in getting started. Click here for your area. Second step, click here for national resources to help with setting your non profit and getting familiar with the governing process. 

Question #2: Hello, I am a Youth Director in CT.  I have a sports and Wellness Clinic,  I would like to start Volleyball for ages 10 – 15 yrs old.

Answer #2: Attached (click here) for the document to help get you started with a Starlings Club.

Officiating/Rules Questions

Question #1: Wondering if you can tell me, "why we (USA) change the rulebook and don't use the FIVB rules flat out? Who makes that decision?" Thanks, David

Answer #1: There are two major reasons. 

We print the FIVB rules in our Domestic Competition Regulations (rule book) but we also print USAV modifications based on safety and development.  As it states on page ix, "USA Volleyball recognizes that there are circumstances where grassroots development, sport development, safety or insurance requirements would indicate a need for a temporary rule modification (e.g. the number of substitutions might be expanded to include more participants at a school or recreational level)." 

In addition, the United States is one of very few countries that have a school based, rather than club based, system for developmental play (scholastic and collegiate play).  No other country has other entities such as the NCAA and the NFHS that write sport rules for their constituents.  While these three groups communicate and work together, they have different perceived needs which result in rule differences  In addition, the United States is one of very few countries that have a school based, rather than club based, system for developmental play (scholastic and collegiate play).  No other country has other entities such as the NCAA and the NFHS that write sport rules for their constituents.  While these three groups communicate and work together, they have different perceived needs which result in rule differences

Question #2: Where is the rule that states a kick ball is now legal. Does it go into specifics about requiring the foot to remain on the ground or is it ok to actually kick the leg off the ground to reach a ball? Thanks.

Answer #2: Ever since the doubles game was created, digging with your whole body has been permitted.  In 1993, taking that same idea into indoors, contact below the waist in the indoor game was permitted around the world, from the Olympics on down – except in serving.

The intent is to increase the chances to save the ball, with a kick or leg dig or whatever the player can save up. 

In the official rule book for 2011-2013, it states that "the ball may touch any part of the body." (In the past players were not allowed to play with the foot or leg.) As for the kick of the leg off the ground, any contact is legal unless it's (a) a double on the 2nd or 3rd hit, or (b) a prolonged contact on any hit.   

Question #3: Can the action of blocking the ball include bending the wrists and directing the ball downwards?  Our ref says doing ‘no” because doing so makes the contact an attack, so if you do it totally in the opponent’s space it is illegal per 13.3.1.  I say “yes’, one can bend the wrists and/or direct that ball downwards during a block so long as 9.2.2 and 9.2.3 are obeyed.  Furthermore, a block is a block, and 13.1.1 excludes blocks (and serves) from attacks.

Answer #3: This is called a directional block and is permitted provided the ball does not come to rest (caught) or there is finger action involved that can result in a double contact.  A block is when a defending player reaches higher than the net to prevent the opponent from directing the ball into the defensive team's court.

Parent Issues/Questions

Question #1: We have a very limited pool of kids to pull from and we have managed to find 8 great players. However, I have come to learn that one of my prospects is just outside the age line. She will be 14 through the entire season but I am being told she cannot play for us. The rules state Sept 1997 is the cut-off and she has a July birthday. 

Can you give me some guidance on how I might be able to get her in to play!? She’s a great kid who loves the game! She’s devastated that she won’t be able to play…..AND I desperately need her as our team is down to 7 without her. It will be difficult at best to make it through a season with that number. We are actively recruiting but as I mentioned, the pool is limited….especially with a new team.

Answer #1 - As always, it is best to check with your local RVA to see if they have any type of age waiver and what the restrictions are for obtaining. Some RVA's allow the waiver for circumstances that are specific their the area in which you reside.  Click here - for the posted age guidelines.

The Olympic Dream

Question #2 - My dream is to someday play for Team USA in the Olympics, what is the best and/or fastest way to get there?

Answer #2 - First, and perhaps most important, is that you are a "future Olympic hopeful." Olympism is a process that begins when a child discovers an Olympic sport, and from that point on, their love of the game is guided by what Olympism stands for. You can find more at and just click on the word Olympism on the main navigation bar.

One option I would urge you to also consider is doubles in the "summer." You see, in the end, learning volleyball comes down to getting repetitions in a game-like way. The game is played over a net and reading is really the most important skill to be learned. Just like you learned to ride a bike by riding (I doubt you hired a coach, did drills or were sent to "bike riding camp..."), you learn to play volleyball best by playing volleyball. While you learn playing 6 vs 6, the contacts per hour are dramatically less than when you play 2 vs 2. The other area that will help you develop is by playing older players, especially adults, not age group competition. Misty May you likely know of, grew up first playing coed doubles with her father Butch. Three time Olympic volleyball gold medalist (and current US Women's Olympic team assistant coach) Karch Kiraly did the same, playing from 8 until he was a teen with his father against adults in beach doubles.  These events are either arranged by playing for hours just on the beach against others, who want to improve, or paying a small amount to enter a doubles tournament against adults in the A, B or other levels. Doubles, on the sand, is not only an Olympic sport, but it also is now an NCAA Women's scholarship sport at many Division 1 universities with more schools adding the sport in the future no doubt. Indeed playing all you can, outdoors, indoors, open gym, that gets more of the repetitions needed.

You also need to study and learn about our USAV High Performance Program.  So head on over to this section of the USAV website and learn about this process...

 For disabled and deaf volleyball players that want to excel at a high level and maybe someday reach the USA Olympic team, the High Performance pipeline is little different. If you or someone you know is disabled and wants to be a part of the USA Sitting Team contact Bill Hamiter, Sitting National Team Director. If you or someone you know wants to be a part of the USA Deaf Volleyball Team contact, Patrick O’Brien, US Deaf Volleyball Director.

Lastly, make sure you check-out the document “Gifts for a Volleyball Player”, and kindly ask your parents to gift you first and foremost, a portable net system so that you can play with three other friends, adults or youth. Then you are able to play and play and play and begin that Citius, Altius, Fortius path of Olympism.


Gifts for a Volleyball Player

The Olympism Platform

Play Better Indoors by Playing Outdoors

Am I Too Short for Volleyball?

Specialization is for Insects

It’s not Where you are it is who you are

To Win the Gold

Playing Items

Question #1: I recently got a preview of the team I will be coaching in the spring and serve receive is going to be a serious concern. I was observing a lot of platform errors as well as passes that were tight to the net. I remembered what you said about having the setter come off the net a bit and that helped but I was wondering if you have any serve receive drills that would help. Also the other question I have is with regard to arm swing because I know you are not big on boxes some of my athletes are contacting the ball at the shoulder rather than reaching to get the ball. Any ideas or game ideas?

Answer #1: 

  1. Read my blog on no more passing
  2. Read the other one on around the league in 80 days
  3. Stop just serving and make sure at least one person preferably two are receiving while everyone   else is serving.  One to two receivers per side.  Get your worst passing starters out there a lot more
  4. Play a lot of queen of the court and guide them look through the net

Question #2: I had heard one person mention ending hand setting at the U10 and U12 level in Florida.  I have not heard of any plan to do so at the NCAA or any other level.  I will say the USAV Beach is adamantly against any such proposal that is geared toward teaching a modified version of the game.  With that said, “deep dishing” or what is technically called a held ball is not permitted by FIVB or USAV rules.  The FIVB has gone so far as to interpret this rule as absolutely no downward motion during a hand set, so the deep dish is virtually gone from the international game.  (I have copied Keith Murless on this as he is our resident FIVB/pro expert.)  The NCAA is adapting USAV rules for the most part, so “deep dishing” will not be allowed.  It would be a real shame and a disservice to the athletes if well executed hand setting were not allowed. 

Ali Lamberson 
Director, International and High Performance Beach Programs
USA Volleyball

Answer #2

As Ali mentioned, this year the FIVB was very active in managing/revising judgement of hand setting... but never with the idea of eliminating it!

Current interpretations ARE leaning toward allowing more "loose" interpretation of double hits, and more "strict" interpretation of held-ball faults. I wish I could "explain" it all easily... but these topics defy accurate verbal description: each of us brings our own mental video clips... each different... to any discussion. For our group to move forward, we need to train together, on court, with real players and real ball handling. Video can be of use, but is generally not of sufficient resolution, etc., etc., to really get the job done.

All that said...This year, three general categories of held ball faults were identified, and targeted for more stringent scrutiny by FIVB officials: 


  • Stopped ball (that visibly comes to rest, regardless of location)
  • In/out balls that are over-controlled during both phases of the setting action 
  • Extended duration (whether in single direction, or in strictly illegal re-direction)


    Note that these phrases all remind us of the catch-all phrase "deep dish" yet each is distinct, and none refers directly to the actual position of the ball relative to the player's body position.  I infer (from your conversation) that this idea of eliminating hand-setting for younger players might. 

    I infer (from your conversation) that this idea of eliminating hand-setting for younger players might be an outgrowth of what I like to think of as the "ground rule phenomenon."

    Ground rules are useful to tournaments and directors in many circumstances. Most often, ground rules are used to keep tournaments moving on time or to avoid arguments among players when trained officials are not present. Commonly employed ground rules include point caps, "no open hand serve receive"  and "no contact of net at any time (aka "continuation rule").

    Some ground rules are employed in an attempt to simplify the game for younger players. Moving in the service line, playing with a lighter ball, etc. Maybe this discussion of eliminating hand-setting was a similar idea? IN any case, I disagree with manipulating the rules for developmental play. Kids surprise us every year with their ability to "do things" that we never thought they could.  I say "show 'em the real game, and let 'em go at it!"

    Ground Rules ARE useful... but this year in particular, they have really caused our organization some trouble. Each region or beach or neighborhood or league wants to design their own ground rules. Obviously, this fails when teams move out of region, or to "larger" competition. With the demise of the AVP and its structured officiating corp, we saw a LOT of this sort of difficulty this year in adult semi/pro competition.

    I have been proposing this season that we work very hard in all venues nationwide to address this issue:


  • try to avoid utilizing ground rules except when truly necessary
  • work to "educate" everyone about the differences between ground-rule and the "real" Rules
  • be very clear to indicate that any ground rules used in an event are "exceptions" to the regular Rules.


    I'm sure that we can all chat about this a bit at the Convention in San Antonio. As usual, Steve Owen and I will be speaking to the Officials group in a classroom session about Beach officiating.

    Last thought: I disagree that "deep dish setting comes from the beach." Bad setting is just that... bad setting. Deep dish is one form... and it's one that is useful to players because it allows a greater level of ball control. Good coaching and good officiating is the answer to the problem. An argument can be made that outdoor volleyball has historically been less carefully managed... but I think that in recent years, "beach" has made great strides towards bringing professional coaching and officiating to the game!

    Keith M.

    Recruiting - Region clubs or college 

    - 2011/2012Regional Tryout and Recruiting Policies