Sitting Volleyball: everything there is to know about this discipline

Sitting Volleyball: everything there is to know about this discipline

Find out everything there is to know about sitting volleyball, its rules, the differences with volleyball, when it was invented and if it is played at the Olympics. All questions will be answered!

First of all, let’s make some order: is it sitting or seated volleyball? The correct name of this discipline is sitting volleyball, as opposed to standing volleyball which is a parallel but different sport. Both sitting and standing volleyball are derivatives of volleyball. 

History time 

Tracing back the origins of sitting volleyball is not straightforward because there is no official date, but let’s try to make some order:

- The first unofficial games are dating back to the 40s in both the United Kingdom and the United States, as a form of rehabilitation for veterans.
- The first official game ever played has a precise date: 5th May 1956, when the Dutch sports committee hosted a demonstration event with more than 25.000 spectators.
- A few years later the first international tournament took place: 1967 between Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Netherlands.

Up until this point though, each country played a different version of the sport, with their own set of rules.

It is only in 1980 that a committee was established and sat down to write a rule book for sitting volleyball on the occasion of the first participation in the Paralympic games of 1980. Although, for the female tournament of sitting volleyball the waiting time ended only in 2004, at least we made this clear: sitting volleyball is a Paralympic sport, for what concerns its origins we leave it to you, when was sitting volleyball invented?

Sitting volleyball training

The rules of the game

What is different from volleyball?

Even though sitting volleyball is a derivative of volleyball and there are lots of similarities with it, there are a few peculiarities.

Let’s analyze dimensions first. A regular sitting volleyball court measures 10x6 m, with a net set at 1.15 m for men, and 1.05 m for women and antennas measuring 1.60 m, the attack line is placed at a 2 m distance from the net.

Players may touch the ball with any part of their body, as long as the body keeps contact with the ground; in fact, if the player fails to do so, a lifting foul will be called. The only exception to this rule concerns extreme defensive actions, only in the defensive zone of the court, when a brief loss of contact is tolerated.

Brushing the net is permitted in sitting volley as long as it doesn’t interfere with the opponent's game. This is true as long as the players don’t touch the top white band, which will also be considered foul.

Moreover, if the ball is held over the net by two players for more than 3 seconds a contested action will be called and the action will be repeated.

The rules of the game

What is identical to volleyball?

The ball is the same as a volley-ball measuring: 65-67 cm in circumference and 260-280 g in weight.

Other similarities can be encountered in:

- The number of players: six on the court at all times;
- The team may encompass a maximum of 14 players;
- The structure of the game: games are won with the best-out-of-five criteria with each set terminating at 25 points (with the exclusion of the fifth that ends at 15) with the classical two-point lead.
- Each team can designate up to two liberos: their best defending players.

Sitting Volleyball: everything there is to know about this discipline

The game

The game follows the same logic as a volleyball game, let’s see it in detail.

Each action begins with a service that, unlike volleyball, can be blocked or attacked by the opponent team, meaning that both front rows must be very well concentrated and ready to react.

When the referee whistles, allowing one of the two teams to serve, the six players on the court must be in the correct position, three in the front zone and three in the back zone, to avoid positional fouls.

The aim of the game is to avoid the ball from touching the floor on your side of the court or forcing the opponent team to commit a mistake, after every rally a point is awarded to one of the teams.

Each team is allowed three passes before sending the ball over to the other court, this number raises to four if the first touch is a block touch and players cannot touch the ball two times in a row.

The movements of the game are the same as volleyball: serve, pass, set, attack, block and dig.

Who can play sitting volleyball

The beauty in sitting volleyball is that on a national and amateur level anyone can test their reflex and balance abilities by participating in the game. To compete on an international level though, a physical impairment must be certified through the classification process.

Now you know all the rules of sitting volleyball, the history and the differences with volleyball so you can spread the word about this fantastic disciplin. But most importantly you can follow these amazing athletes at the next Paralympic Games!!