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How does volleyball scoring work?

A primer on how points are scored in volleyball. Covers terms like sets and rally scoring. Also includes an explanation of what's shown on a scoreboard.



Volleyball is a popular team sport played on a rectangular court with two teams of six players each. The objective of the game is to win points by hitting the ball over the net and landing it on the opponent's court without letting them return it.

A female team that has just scored in a volleyball game

The scoring system is different from most other sports. In this post, we'll explain how volleyball scoring works.


A volleyball game is played in sets, and a set is won by the first team to reach 25 points. However, the team must win by a margin of two points. If the score reaches 24-24, play continues until one team takes a two-point lead.

If a match goes to a deciding set, also known as the fifth set, the first team to score 15 points wins the set. Again, the team must win by a margin of two points.

If the score is tied at 14-14, play continues until one team takes a two-point lead.

Rally scoring

Volleyball uses a system called "rally scoring", which means that a point is awarded to the team that wins the rally, regardless of which team served the ball. In the traditional scoring system, called "side-out scoring", only the team that served the ball could win the point.

Rally scoring makes volleyball matches faster-paced and more exciting, as every point matters, and there are no wasted serves. It is the method of scoring used in Olympic Volleyball. These matches are played in a best of five sets format.


The six players on each team must rotate positions on the court after every serve. The player in the back right-hand corner of the court, known as the server, serves the ball over the net and into the opponent's court. The other five players must be positioned in specific areas of the court, and they must rotate clockwise to maintain their positions.

The rotation ensures that every player gets a chance to serve and play in different positions on the court, making the game fairer and more balanced.

What information is shown on a volleyball scoreboard?

A typical volleyball scoreboard will display the current score, the set number, and the serving team. The score will be displayed as two numbers, one for each team, with the number on the left indicating the home team's score and the number on the right indicating the away team's score.

An electronic volleyball scoreboard

The set number will be displayed above or below the score, usually in larger font or a different color to make it more noticeable. This is important as it indicates which set is currently being played, and how many sets have been won by each team so far.

The serving team will also be indicated on the scoreboard, often with an arrow or other symbol pointing towards the team currently serving. This helps spectators and players keep track of which team has the serve, as it can change frequently during the game.

In addition to these basic elements, some volleyball scoreboards may also display other information, such as the time left in the game, timeouts remaining for each team, and even statistics such as aces, blocks, and kills.

Overall, the purpose of the volleyball scoreboard is to provide a clear and easy-to-read display of the current state of the game, so that players, officials, and spectators can all stay informed and engaged throughout the match.

Using scoreboard software

The easiest way of creating your own scoreboard is to use software combined with existing hardware such as a large TV or a projector. This is a great option for small leagues and teams that don't have the budget to purchase an expensive dedicated scoreboard.

Scoreboard software used to be bought in nicely presented boxes or downloaded for a fee and then installed on your PC. But these days there is a much better solution: web-based online software. Not only do the results look as good (or better) as installed legacy software, there are other clear advantages.

An online baseball scoreboard

Using scoreboard software is one of the leading solutions for creating online scoreboards. We pride ourselves on being very easy to get started with. You can literally be up and running in under 30 seconds, no registration nor payment required.

What's very convenient is that you can control your scoreboard from anywhere, including a mobile phone.

Controlling a scoreboard from a mobile phone using a scoreboard app

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