Sitting Volleyball Competition and Rules

Key Rule Modifications
  • The position of each player is determined and controlled by the position of their buttocks. This means that the hand(s) and/or leg(s) may lie in the attack or free zone outside the court.
  • Touching the opponent’s court beyond the centerline with a hand is permitted, if some part of the penetrating hand remains either in contact with or directly above the centerline. To contact the opponent’s court with any other part of the body is forbidden. The player may penetrate into the opponent’s space under the net, provided there is no interference with the opponent.
  • The player is not allowed to lift his/her entire buttocks from the court when executing any type of attack. The back row player may perform any type of attack from any height, if at the time of the hit their buttocks touch or cross over to the attack line.
  • The player must have contact with the court with some part of the upper part of the body at all times when playing the ball, except when making a defensive freezone play. In such defensive play, a loss of contact with the court is permitted for a moment.
  •  The referee’s official hand signal of “lifting from the court” is raising the upper hand and forearm positioned parallel to the floor and mirror imaging the lower hand and forearm.
  • Referees in sitting volleyball stand behind the poles.
  • The match is won by the team that wins three sets
  • A set is won by the team which first scores 25 points with a minimum lead of two points
  • In the case of a 2-2 set tie, the deciding (5th) set is played to 15 points
Court Dimensions


court dimensions



Detailed Rules
  • Teams aim to hit a ball over a net and land it within the opposition’s court.
  • Teams have three contacts, to form an attacking play, before the ball has to go over the net.
  • Sitting Volleyball requires players to maintain contact between their buttocks and the floor at all times when making a play.
  • Each team must have six players on court, including a libero (defensive specialist), who will wear a different colored shirt to the rest of the team, although five reserves are allowed.
  • There are competitions for both men’s and women’s teams.
  • The first team to 25 points wins a set, but they must win by two clear points. The first team to win three out of five sets is the winner. A maximum of five sets are played. If a match goes to a deciding fifth set, the first team to 15 points and with a two-point advantage wins.
  • Regarding the zone lines, the attack lines are drawn parallel to the centerline and 2m from the middle of the centerline. The service zone is marked with two lines, each 15cm long and placed inside the service zone at the end of each court, 20cm behind and perpendicular to the end line. Both are drawn as an extension of each sideline.
Coaching Tips

To ensure good programs it requires preparing coaches and volunteers.

  • Require background screening for all coaches and adults over the age of 18 who are involved in this program (volunteers included)
  • Require training in both Sexual Abuse Prevention and Sexual Harassment Prevention for all coaches and adults over the age of 18 who are involved in this program (volunteers included)
  • Require Injury Prevention training (especially concussion management and sports first aid) for all coaches and adults over the age of 18 who are involved in this program (volunteers included)
  • Conduct regular facility and equipment safety reviews
  • Develop an emergency action plan
  • Athletic Training staff should provide medical coverage at matches and practices
  • Match athletes according to age and/or skill to avoid the risk of injury
  • Keep accurate records: attendance, practice planning, document injuries, and document student athlete/parent meetings
Examples of Integrated play
  • Incorporate your existing volleyball programming into the adaptive sport programming
  • Ask your current standing team members to serve as sitting volleyball practice players and to referee matches
  • Find out if current high school coaches would be interested in coaching the sitting volleyball team
  • For additional players or coaches, contact local college students who are studying physical education or adaptive sports at school
  • Ask local junior volleyball club players to volunteer to referee matches in exchange for community service hours (in many regions these players receive training as part of their junior volleyball club experience)
  • Tournament play: TBD based on geography, number of teams, number of divisions/levels
  • If geography is an issue, consider holding regional meets on the weekends so that several programs can travel to a central location and play
  • Note: try not to conflict with the regular standing volleyball season, this way you have a greater chance of having those players and coaches involved in the sitting program during their off season
  • Point system to maintain fair playing field. It is the opinion of this group that each team only needs one “athlete with a physical disability who would qualify to play at the Paralympic level” to compete.
  • Rules on the use of adapted equipment: if the “striker” is used, the person must have a SCI with no trunk control
Role of Able Bodied Athlete
  • The athlete will be looked at as a team member
  • The rules of the game will apply the same
  • The able bodied athlete will have a phase in and phase out place. When starting up and developing an athlete with a disability, they will help complete the team. If the situation happens where there are enough athletes with disabilities, then the number of able bodied will decrease to a maximum of 2
  • The abled bodied athlete would have the same expectation to follow rules, play as a team, and show up for practices just as their counterpart
  • Can have mixed teams with female and males until numbers grow
  • Divisions based on skill: Gold (highly skilled), Silver (intermediate), and Bronze (beginner). This can change based on growth of the sport


Guideline Table of Contents
Training and Equipment

FAQ’s and Resources


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