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?

Type of CompetitionNumber of Sets
Professional Tournament3 out of 5
Olympic3 out of 5
High school/Recreational2 out of 3

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

Here are some frequently asked questions about how long volleyball games are.

How Long Is a Volleyball Game in High School?

High school matches often last 40 to 60 minutes. In fact, some of the shortest volleyball matches have been played between high school teams. This is because they normally only play two out of three sets and have less competitive skills than professionals.

How Long Are the Olympic Volleyball Games?

The great majority of Olympic volleyball matches are between 90 and 100 minutes long. Olympic competitions are timed, however, success is always measured in sets. Volleyball games in the Olympics are lengthier than usual since at least three out of five sets are played and competition is at its peak.

How Many Seconds Does a Volleyball Serve Take?

A server can wait exactly 5 seconds from the moment referees signal till they must serve the ball in the majority of leagues. On the other hand, USA teams have a maximum of 8 seconds to serve the ball before being penalized.

When doing it, no body part of the server may be on or inside the outline. In contrast to many other net sports, volleyball matches allow balls that just brush the net, or “let balls”


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.