The number of players you would have on a volleyball team depends on the style of volleyball you’re playing. You can play a game of volleyball with as few as two players per team and as many as six players per team.
In this article, we will go over the different styles of volleyball and how it affects the gameplay, rules, and positioning.
Regulation Team Size (Including Substitutes)
Although most regulation matches consist of six players per team, a volleyball team typically has more than six players. It is common for a team to have multiple players that fill the same roles in case they need to substitute a player in case of injury or suspension. Most Olympic teams will have twelve players on their team roster.
For beach volleyball, it is common to have both players on the entire team roster. In some cases, a team will have four players on their roster including substitutes (see Olympic team rosters).
Six Players On Each Team
Playing with six players on each team is considered the standard for professional athletes playing regulation court volleyball. In tournaments and competitions such as the Olympics, volleyball players who play on the court will play with a team of six players.
This gives a team the full setup they will need to fill all positions in volleyball. A team of six will have a libero, outside hitter, opposite hitter, middle blocker, and setter. They may choose to sub in their defensive specialist or serving specialist when the time comes.
With so many players on the court, it requires a lot of coordination and players who understand their roles. This mode can also be played in beach volleyball.
Four Players On Each Team
Playing in teams of four is considered to be more recreational. Although it is common to play fours in tournaments, it is uncommon to see professional volleyball athletes competing in teams of four. It is likely that teams of four are played in co-ed leagues and the rules don’t change much from playing in teams of six.
There are some fun ways for players to alternate their roles when playing in teams of four. Players will often choose to play in a diamond, a square, or with loose positions. Players will often decide beforehand who will be setting and who will be hitting. Blocking becomes riskier because there are fewer players to help recover.
Two Players On Each Team
Playing in teams of two is most common for professional beach volleyball. It is considered to be a demanding mode to play as you need to cover a lot of court by yourself. Players who enjoy teams of two are often training their cardio so they can continually stay in motion during play.
The gameplay varies greatly when compared to playing in teams of four or six. There is very little room for error, but it also makes it easy to coordinate with your teammate. Players who partner up in teams of two must have trust in their partner which is often complemented by having lots of experience from having played many matches together.
A lot of things change when you only have one teammate. Everything from serving to blocking, setting, and hitting takes a lot more coordination. Playing in teams of two is not common for court players.