What Is Rally Scoring in Volleyball

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The volleyball scoring system has been changed to rally scoring, and the complexities of the system have led to the question of what is rally scoring in volleyball. In addition, the change in the system has left the audience confused about the methodology used and scoring parameters.

What Is Rally Scoring in Volleyball?

The term rally is allotted to a play in volleyball; thus, the winner of the single rally attains a point. In this system, if the serving team misses the serve, the opposing team wins a point. Even in case of any violations, the opposite team is awarded a point.

Reasons Behind the Complexities of Rally Scoring

The reasons behind the complexities of rally scoring are as follows:


Let us understand this point with an example:

  • Imagine that you are playing football and your team cannot possess the ball even once during the play, but the opposing team, due to their multiple violations, lets you win some scores.
  • This is quite an unnatural way of getting awarded.
  • This methodology is only considered fair, as this can happen with both the teams and forces the team to play with the rules.
Know what is rally scoring in volleyball

The Difference

This system is quite contrasting to the old methodology. Here are some points of difference.

  • The old system allows you to score only if you were on the serving side.
  • In rally scoring, it is not the case; both teams are free to score.

Why Rally Scoring Came Into Play?

To understand the methodology of the scoring system, it is essential to understand why rally scoring came into play in the first place.

  • Since each rally ends with a point, it accelerates the game’s pace and keeps it more interesting and exciting. The interest lies in the mystery of the game.
  • The system has been forced to limit the number of plays, as each rally ends with awarding a point to either of the teams.
  • Since the number of rallies or plays is limited, the timing is consistent, as the play is projected to a certain amount of time.

Drawbacks of Rally Scoring

With certain pros, a few cons also find a way to exist. Here are some of the drawbacks led by rally scoring.

  • Sometimes, winnings might not seem fair, especially if the opposing teams win by gaining points through violations.
  • Even the violation led due to game procedure makes you lose a point. Sometimes when the player needs to serve back, the team loses a point as it is considered a violation.

The Scoreboard in Volleyball

The scoreboard in volleyball changes with the types of games that you are watching.

Here are the two kinds of scoreboards that you will come across.

  • Electronic Scoreboard: This scoreboard is basically used in large tournaments, as the referees and other officials can view the score directly on the screen without turning.
  • Flip Scoreboards: In small tournaments, flip scoreboards are used to display the points scored by each team.
A flip scoreboard with 6 and 21 as the scores

Here is the link to a video teaching you the method of understanding advanced scoring systems.

Merits of a Flip Scoreboard

Here are a few merits of using a flip scoreboard:

  • This is a portable item, requiring a professional to set it up.
  • Finally, it makes the scorer’s job easy, as he/she just needs to flip and show the public the status of scores among both the teams.

Applications Used as a Scoreboard

With the growth in technology, many applications have come into play to keep up with the teams’ scores. Here are the merits of this system of scoring.

  • A color can be allotted to each team. Thus it becomes easy to understand which team has what scores during the play.
  • Many applications will give you the liberty of naming the teams, as after a few plays, both the teams start to blur out.
  • Whenever a set ends, many applications give you the liberty of flipping the sides of the scoreboard, providing you a lifelike experience of flipping a scoreboard in real life.
  • Some people are fine with the traditional method of tapping and tallying the score. Still, several apps have provided you multiple options of tallying the score to improvise the experience of the game.
  • Who thought you could save the tally information of each game on your phone? The good news is many applications have come with an option that lets you save the necessary tally information that you can use in the future.

Games Starting At 4-4

It can be puzzling to see a game starting at a score of 4-4. Here are the reasons behind it.

  • This method is used to speed up pool play during the tournament.
  • However, it limits playtime; it can be a boon for some teams and can end up like a curse on the other teams.

Here is the link to a study highlighting the tips and tricks to learn and teach volleyball for better play.

A volleyball player jumping for the ball to hit towards the opposite team

Frequently Asked Questions

How Is a Rally Started in Volleyball?

The rally or the play starts with a serve, and the time between the serve and the point constitutes the whole rally. 

What Is the Scoring System Involved in Pickleball?

In pickleball, the play ends with a score of 11, which involves a win by 2. In this system, only the serving team can score a point.

What Is a Score Sheet in Volleyball?

The score sheet is a special document that tallies the scores and other information regarding the game when the play is still on.


The rally scoring system is slightly confusing for the audience, as it is still new to everyone. However, with the increasing number of games, the scoring system will also come into place.

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.