Volleyball Substitution Rule (Find Out All The Substitution Rules In Volleyball!)

Last Updated on October 23, 2023 by Alex PT

Volleyball teams are allowed a maximum of 6 substitutions per set, and players can only sub in for players of the same position. Substitutions can only be made between points.

There are some special substitution rules set by the FIVB, they include:

  • 1. Players in the starting lineup can be replaced by substitutes once per set. 
  • 2. During substitution, a substitute must stand in the official substitution zone off the court. 
  • 3. Every team must use correct timing for substitutions. 
  • 4. Players are only allowed to rejoin the game in his/her previous position
  • 5. Libero substitutions come with some conditions but are limitless. 

Since the number of substitutions allowed per game differ according to the type of league and level of play, volleyball substitution can be really confusing. Also, playing best 2 of 3, or 3 of 5 for one game can affect the number of substitutions. As a volleyball team coach, you need to understand all of the substitution rules so as to impact it on your team to use them effectively. There are 12 players per team of which only 6 of them can play on the court at a time, where the remaining 6 are official substitutes.

Overview of Volleyball Substitution Rules

Substitutions AllowedEach team is allowed 12 substitutions per set.
Substitution ZonesSubs must occur in the designated back-row substitution zones.
Libero SubsLibero players can substitute in the back row for any back-row player without counting towards the 12-sub limit.
Rotation OrderSubstitutes must enter in the rotational order.
Positional ChangesPlayers entering as substitutes must play the same position as the player they are replacing.
Player AlertsPlayers must alert the referee before substituting.
Dead Ball RequiredSubstitutions occur during dead ball situations.
Continuous PlayPlayers can’t enter or leave the game while the ball is in play.

Volleyball Substitution Rules

Why are there substitution rules and does it impede volleyball games? Substitution rules are set to ensure that the volleyball game is fair. Teams could be substituting non-stop if substitution could be carried out in any player position and at any time. Substitutions can be used to the advantage ad every team if the ruling guarding it is abided by. It is essential to know how to use substitutions correctly whether for tactical or strategic reasons. 

Depending on the needs of your team, a team is allowed to make one or more substitutions at a time. Here are some FIVB rules and how they work; 

1. Players Of The Starting Lineup Can Be Replaced By Substitutes Once Per Set. 

According to the volleyball rule book, a substitute player coming in for another player must fill in that same position. The player can only be subbed in for that position. Meaning that when a player is subbed in, he or she won’t be able to change his or her original rotational position. Although libero are not bonded by this rule. 

2. During Substitution, the Substitute Must Stand In The Official Substitution Zone Off The Court. 

Where do substitutes stay on the court? Are they in the waiting area? Or on a bench? Normally, every volleyball court has a special zone for substitute players for every game in play. They must be in this substitution zone, getting ready to play. These players must not leave this zone if they want to be officially recognized. Failure to stand in this zone will attract fresh penalties.

The table below contains relevant questions and answers on what is an illegal substitution in volleyball, the number of substitutions permitted in club volleyball, whether servers can be substituted, and the new rules in volleyball.  

Illegal Substitution In VolleyballThe adoption of a rally scoring system!It was in 1999 that the rally scoring was officially adopted. To make the game of volleyball more television- and spectator-friendly as well as make the match duration more predictable. .
Club Volleyball SubstitutionA club team is permitted to make fifteen substitutions per set. Each and every participant on a volleyball team is permitted limitless substitutions inside the staff limit.
Adoption Of Really Scoring SystemThe adoption of a rally scoring system! It was in 1999 that the rally scoring was officially adopted. To make the game of volleyball more television- and spectator-friendly as well as make the match duration more predictable. .
FIVB Substitution RulesSubstitutes must stand in the official substitution zone off the court during substitution. Players of the starting lineup can be replaced by substitutes once per set. 

What are some common substitution strategies?

Common volleyball substitution strategies include:

  1. Defensive Specialist (DS) Substitution: Bringing in a defensive specialist to improve back-row defense and passing.
  2. Blocking Substitution: Substituting taller or more effective blockers for front-row play.
  3. Setter Substitution: Swapping setters to change the team’s offensive strategy or to provide rest.
  4. Libero Substitution: Using the libero to replace a back-row player for improved defense and serve-receive.
  5. Double Substitution: Substituting two players simultaneously to strategically adjust both offense and defense.
  6. Front-Row to Back-Row Substitution: Replacing a front-row player with a back-row specialist after serving.
  7. Rotational Substitution: Ensuring substitutions follow rotational order, adhering to the rules.
  8. Strategic Rest: Substituting players for short rests, especially when tired or for specific match situations.
  9. Serving Substitution: Substituting a strong server for serving opportunities.
  10. Defensive Stalwart: Inserting a strong defensive player for key rotations or crucial points.

What Is An Illegal Substitution In Volleyball?

Delaying substitution is unlawful and happens when; following the petition and also instructing players, don’t stay in the replacement zone a minimum of six feet back from the sideline, as soon as the very first referee extends the arm in planning to whistle as well as signal serve. 

How Many Substitutions Can You Have In Club Volleyball?

A team is allowed to make 15 substitutions per set. Each player in a volleyball team is allowed limitless substitutions within the team limit.  

Can You Substitute A Server In Volleyball?

Every volleyball team has six players on the court at all times in indoor volleyball. Every team must follow the standard substitution rules which allow a team to make substitutions of players on the bench for players on the court. A team will be penalized if it doesn’t follow substitution rules. This penalty may include lost time-out. 

What Are The New Rules In Volleyball?

There are new sets of rules in the game of volleyball. They include; 

1. The positions as well as size of a group.

2. A libero – the participant with various color jerseys.

3. Volleyball libero environment.

4. Liberos can only get the serve.

5. A double hit is permitted on the defense.

Final Words – Wrapping It Up! 

The bottom line is that each team is allowed to make only twelve substitutions per set. Your team is allowed to make a substitution of one or more players at the same time. We’ve come to the end of this informative article. We hope you were able to find resources in your quest to know the Volleyball Substitution Rule. Please do not hesitate to contact us for questions or comments. Thanks!




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