The other day, a student asked how to score points during change-overs in volleyball, when, for example, the serving team hits the ball out of bounds. He did not realize that high school and college teams no longer use the side-out format, where only the serving team could score points. That system was discarded six years. Colleges (and now high schools) use a rally scoring system where a point is scored on every single serve, regardless who serves. Teams still get to serve after winning points and must win by two points. College teams also must play to 30 points now in all except the final game in the best-of-five scoring system. (Fifth games only go to 15 points.) High school teams typically play to 25 points in a best of three or five game setup, with the final set also going to 15.
Those who have not watched volleyball over the past several years might be surprised by a player wearing a different colored shirt than her teammates. The libero, meaning free in Italian, is a relatively new defensive position player who can play the back row only. The NCAA introduced the position in 2002. The libero can replace anybody on the back row so long as she sits out for one play in between changes. The libero can serve as well. "This player is a handy player to have on the court," says Eastern Illinois volleyball coach Lori Bennett. "Typically, she is one of your better passers and defenders, so it's nice to have her out there."
Here are a few other reminders Coach Bennett offered to my class the other day:
■ Players no longer call balls that bounce off the forearms 'bumps.' Instead, she says, call them 'passes.'
■ Avoid using the term 'spike,' replacing the term with 'hit' or 'attack.'
■ A ball hit more softly over the net is called a 'hit,' not a 'dink.'
■ A 'lift' is called when a ball is held too long, sort of like a basketball player palming a ball.
■ Players cannot hit the ball twice except when returning a serve -- and only if this is incidental, like when a ball bounces off a forearm and a shoulder. This counts as two of the team's maximum three hits on each possession.
You can learn more about writing volleyball by clicking here.