Kenneth R. Hirsch
Volleyball seems like a simple game of hitting a ball over the net and keeping it from hitting the court or sand on your side of the net. In reality, those two goals are the main objectives of volleyball. Doing it, however, involves elements that separate the good teams from the average ones.
Gain & Maintain Control
Ball control in almost everything in volleyball. Even when the ball is going back and forth over the net at a good clip, teams still rely on good ball handlers to get digs and "ups" so they can stay in system and launch high quality attacks. Winning a point means being able to serve, which can lead to another form of control. A team that can "run" points from the service line, including aces that aren't returned at all, get those points as well as momentum.
Making the Points
Sets are won by the team that first scores 25 points, and matches are usually played in a best three out of five format. A service ace, a kill (an unreturnable hit), a block that lands on the other team's side of the court or an error all count for points. In theory, a team could win a match without completing a single kill if its opponents make constant errors such as net violations or hitting a ball out of bounds. Regardless of how it happens, the objective is always to impose your offensive will on the other side while keeping them off balance with solid defense.
The Joy of Teamwork
Good teams typically display a high level of communication and teamwork. A team's setter, hitters and defensive specialists need to effectively work together to optimize their three allotted contacts. Often, poor communication results in poor ball control, which leads to points lost. Communication and teamwork are so important to the sport of volleyball because they essentially elevate the effectiveness of the defense and offense.
Playing within the Rules
The rules are intended to keep the game moving. That's why a team has to return a ball within three hits, and players have to follow handling rules. If a ball is on a player's hands for even a full second, or it comes spinning out of her hands, it can be a violation. A player also can't run into the net, and any ball hit into it or the antennas on the ends counts as a point to the other team. Those and others rules force players to employ precision and timing along with athleticism.