How Many Subs Do You Get In Volleyball

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Substitutions in volleyball are essential, after all, players can get too tired or even injured during a match. If you are new to this sport, you might wonder how many subs you get in volleyball, and what are the rules related to them.

How Many Subs Do You Get In Volleyball?

Substitutions in volleyball vary a lot depending on the level of play; in high school, you can have up to fifteen subs on each set, in club volleyball you can have up to twelve and, in the Olympics, you can have up to six.

Volleyball players giving high fives

These are the basic rules for each level of play, however, there are many other rules that influence substitutions in volleyball.

In order to fully learn this subject, you need to dig deeper into them and understand when, and how, a player can be substituted.

When Can a Volleyball Player Be Substituted?

Players can only be substituted once every set; if the coach fails to do so, the team will be penalized. On top of that, subbed players should always place themselves in the same position as the teammate who was subbed off.

For example, if the right hitter was subbed off, the player who’s going to replace him should position himself as the right hitter as well.

Additionally, if the player is set to rejoin the game, he is only allowed to do it in his original position.

Taking the same example, if the coach wanted the right hitter (the one who was subbed off) to rejoin the game, he would need to substitute him back only in the right hitter position. This means that, if he substituted him for a lefty hitter, it would be considered a fault.

How Can a Volleyball Player Be Substituted?

If a coach decides to substitute a player, he needs to communicate to the referee, who must approve it and take note of the change. Then, a player on the bench needs to get up and enter the substitution zone. This can happen before the start of a set, or after a time-out.

If a second player is going to be subbed in too, he needs to stand outside the court, behind the 10-foot line. After the first player enters the court, the second player needs to stand exactly where his teammate was standing and wait until he can join the court.

Volleyball player ready to give substitution

This waiting time is brief, after all, the player only needs to wait while the substitution is announced by one of the referees.

Exceptions to the Substitution Rules

There are certain exceptions to this rule; one of the most important ones is the fact that a player can be legally subbed without repercussions if it is due to an injury. This kind of substitution is called “exceptional” and it doesn’t have any limitations for the teams.

The second type of exception involves libero players. This position can legally sub in and out as many times as he wants throughout the match. On top of that, the libero can replace any player in the back row, however, they don’t need to play in that exact same position.

Here you can see some advantages and limitations of the libero substitutions:

  • A libero player can only play in the back row when replacing a teammate and must be replaced before rotating to the front row.
  • A libero is allowed to freely roam the court.
  • The libero position player is not permitted to block, attack, or serve the volleyball.
  • Liberos can only be subbed by another libero player or the player they replaced.
  • They have unlimited substitutions. For example, a libero can enter and go out of the court as many times as he wants. They can do so every time the ball is out of play.
  • Two liberos cannot be substituted on the same rally. If the ball is out of play however no team has yet won the point, only one libero can be subbed in.
  • They cannot be a part of the normal substitution process. They do not need to stand in the substitution zone, instead, they need to enter and exit through the “libero replacement zone”.
Beach volleyball players doing high five

Related Questions

How Many Players Does a Volleyball Team Have, Including Substitutes?

The full team size of a volleyball team including the players on the bench (substitutes) is often twelve players.

There are six starter players on the court, and six substitute players on the benches.

Can Libero Players Only Be Subbed In?

The libero position can be in the starting line-up of a volleyball team, however, most teams don’t do this. The most usual strategy is to start the match and then sub the libero player.


Substitutions are vital in volleyball, just as they are in other sports. As a result, they have a variety of rules that influence it. If you inadvertently violate these regulations, your team may be penalized.

Alfonso Andrade is an avid sportsman, growing up playing soccer and volleyball. He is a coach and sports analyst, studying the game to analyze performance and help create improvement.