How Long Are Volleyball Games?

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Some volleyball games seem to last forever, while others end before you can even settle in. You are not alone if you ever wondered, how long are volleyball games? The answer turns out to be influenced by several factors like the number of points scored during sets and skill level.

How Long Are Volleyball Games?

Most volleyball games last around 60-90 minutes. A single set within the game lasts about 20-30 minutes. There are between 2 and 5 sets played in a game depending on the type of volleyball. 

An image og a long volleyball game

Games (also called matches) do not end after a certain amount of time; instead, the winner is declared after getting a certain number of points during the sets. These variations in-game time affect the strategies and endurance of players.

  • How Many Sets Are in a Volleyball Game?

A set refers to the individual games played within a volleyball match. Matches have a different amount of sets based on competition level. The amount of time required to complete a set is 20-30 minutes, so a game with more sets played will be longer.

Indoor volleyball above the high school level usually ends after a team has won three out of five sets. Beach, indoor recreation, and youth volleyball only play two out of three sets. Therefore these types of games are shorter, averaging 40-60 minutes.

  • How Does Skill Level Affect Game Length?

Skill plays a large part in how long a volleyball game lasts. When players on both sides are more advanced, the ball stays in the air longer, so there is more time between each point won.

Olympic and professional level volleyball is the highest level of skill, so they have longer games. The longest professional volleyball game lasted 85 hours!

  • How Long Do Rallies Last?

On average, a rally lasts between 4 and 8 seconds. Rallies are the period of time when the ball has not touched the ground and is in play. There can be a lot of variation in rally length depending on where you are in the game, the skill level of players, and pure luck.

An image of a volleyball game
  • How Long Do Time Outs and Breaks Last?

Each team has two timeouts per set. Time outs are between 30 and 75 seconds depending on the league.

In high school and beach games, it’s typically 30 second breaks. The FIVB follows this time limit while NCAA allows two 75 seconds breaks per set. In total, up to 5 minutes in a match can be spent on a time out.

There are also breaks between two sets known as the set interval. During this time, players switch sides of the net. It typically lasts three minutes, though in some cases the set interval can last up to five minutes.

  • How Many Points Are Needed to Win a Game?

The more points required to win a set, the longer those games will last. The first team to 25 is usually the winner in professional and Olympic volleyball. When there are two out of three sets played in a game the number of points required is only 21.

According to Volleyball rules, both types of games will sometimes feature a final set that is a 15 point tiebreaker game. Players must win by two points, so if the team reaches 25 and the other team has 24 the game will continue until someone has 2 additional points. The most points in a single set were 37, in a game against the FIVB Chinese team and the French team.

Volleyball players playing in a court

Related Questions

How Long Is a Volleyball Game in High School?

High school games tend to last around 40-60 minutes. Because high school teams typically only play 2 out of 3 sets and are at a lower competitive skill level they are some of the shortest volleyball games played.

How Long Are the Olympic Volleyball Games?

Most Olympic volleyball games last between 90-100 minutes. Olympic games are not based on time but on the number of sets won. With at least 3 out 5 sets played and the highest competitive level of the game, Olympic volleyball games are longer than average.

How Many Seconds Is a Volleyball Serve?

For most leagues, a server has exactly 5 seconds from the time officials signal to the time they must serve the ball. For the USAV teams, they are given a maximum of 8 seconds to serve the ball before being penalized.

When the server is touching the ball, no part of their body may be on or inside the outline. A ball that grazes the net, also known as a let ball, is allowed in volleyball games, unlike many other net sports.

Conclusion

The actual length of a volleyball game can vary greatly depending on skill level and the number of sets played. Factors that influence game time include skill level and a number of sets.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.