Rally Scoring 



Rally Scoring: Scoring method where points can be won by the serving or receiving team.

Side Out Scoring: a format of scoring where points can be won only by the serving team.

Rally Point Scoring approved by FIVB  (1999-)


Historical change in Volleyball with the Rally Point Scoring System Tokyo, 28 October 98 


The 174 delegates of the 26th FIVB World Congress, representing 138 countries, have unanimously approved today in Tokyo the proposal of the FIVB Board of Administration to change the scoring system and the format of the Volleyball matches. The Rally Point Scoring system will be introduced and the matches will be played at the best of 5 sets, the first four sets to 25 points, the fifth set to 15 points, each of them with a minimum lead of 2 points. In the Rally Point Scoring system, each rally wins a point whether it is for the serving or for the receiving team whereas, with the current formula, only the serving team can score points (Side-out Scoring system). This new playing system will be used from 1st January 1999 in all the FIVB competitions including Men's World League, Women's Grand Prix, Junior and Youth World Championships and World Cup as well as in the Continental Championships. The National Federations are free to introduce it in 1999, but it will become compulsory at all levels from 1st January 2000. This new formula will of course apply at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. The delegates of the Congress have taken this decision with great enthusiasm as the tests previously made with this playing formula proved to be very successful. The Brazilian League has been played with the Rally Point Scoring, as well as the recent America's Cup and some other competitions around the world. The conclusions of all these experiences were positive. With this new system, the principles established by the FIVB to consider a change of formula are fully satisfied: it will shorten long matches and add excitement, it maintains the basic structure of the game, provides chances for catch-up, is easy to understand and applicable to all ages and categories. Ruben Acosta, President of the FIVB declared: "This major change is a historical milestone in the life of Volleyball. It makes the FIVB very confident in the future of this sport and shows the vitality of its leaders. The Rally Point Scoring will put our sport in the position of facing the new century in good shape!". Various presidents of National Federations having tested this formula have testified that the Rally Point Scoring has increased the interest for Volleyball in their countries. First from the spectators, who have witnessed thrilling matches but also from the TV Channels which appreciate the shorter matches produced by this formula and the smaller difference between the shorter games and the longest ones, allowing more opportunities to give good coverage to Volleyball in their sports programs. The new Rally Point Scoring will not be used at the forthcoming Women's and Men's World Championships held in Japan, starting November 3 rd. 

Lausanne, 15 October 98 - 


France, Australia and Canada join the World League for the 10th edition, which will be played with a new scoring system: the Rally Point. The Finals are scheduled to take place in Argentina, July 12-17 1999. The World League Council, at its recent meeting in Lausanne, approved a proposal to use the Rally Point system, with 25 points for the first four sets and tiebreak with 15 points for the decider. The decision followed the results of a circular sent to all Federations, which were asked to choose from four options. FIVB President Ruben Acosta told the Council many countries were ready to have the rally point system which was easy to understand and respect the spirit of volleyball. The rally point system was more attractive to spectators as it packed more excitement in a shorter period. It reduced the time difference between the shortest and the longest matches, with games rarely exceeding two hours, making it easier for TV packaging. The system has been successfully tested in some South America competition and will still be tested by some national federations over a two-year period, in addition to the 1999 World League try-out. The 12-nation line-up for 1999 has a different look with Australia making its debut and France and Canada returning to the fold after several years absence. Australia is drawn in Pool A alongside Italy, Russia and Poland. Pool B comprises Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands and Spain while defending champions Cuba head Pool C against the challenge of Argentina, France and Yugoslavia. The preliminaries will take place over six week-ends between May 28 and July 4 with the six-nation finals scheduled to take place in Argentina July 12-17.

Rally Scoring approved by USA Volleyball   (1999-2000)


The USA Volleyball Rules of the Game Commission met in February 1999 and adopted several major rule changes that will have a noticeable effect on the game as well as tournament organization and planning. The following are a list of the significant changes in the scoring system, substitution numbers and procedure, sanction rules and procedure, and referee signal techniques. In addition, the commitment to move toward the FIVB system of scorekeeping has been made, and there will be some movement along that line in 1999. The United States Rules are required to use the FIVB rules as a basis, and these changes reflect that requirement.

These rule changes will be in effect for the 1999-2000 season of USA Volleyball competition, commencing November 1, 1999. However, the entire FIVB rule set, with some safety modifications, will be in effect for the US Open Tournaments at the 1999 USA Volleyball Open Championships in San Jose, Calif., May 31-June 3.

The change in the scoring system to all rally scoring will enable tournament organizers to better project match-time requirements since the average time of each set and match will be more predictable. The substitution systems will allow greater participation in the game by more players. The reconstructed sanction system and procedure is designed to allow referees to better control real misconduct in the matches while allowing participants to express their natural feelings as each rally terminates with a winner and a loser.

1999-2000 RULE CHANGES

Scoring System

Rule 7 is amended to reflect the change to all rally scoring. The best of three or best of five games will win matches. Each non-deciding game will be won by the team that first scores 25 points with a minimum two-point advantage (no scoring cap). If there is a deciding game, it will be won by the team that first scores 15 points with a minimum two-point advantage (no scoring cap). Point will be scored on each rally. If the receiving team wins the rally, they score a point and gain the serve.


Rally Scoring approved for High School    (2003-2004 or 2004-2005)


From the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), 30-Jan-03:


Rally Scoring Approved for High School Volleyball

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 30, 2003) — Following more than five years of discussion, the NFHS Volleyball Rules Committee approved the rally scoring format for high school volleyball at its January 19-20 committee meeting in Indianapolis. Responsibility to decide when to implement the rally scoring rules rests with the individual state associations (states may elect to use rally scoring in 2003-04), but they must apply the rally scoring format no later than the 2004-05 school year. In rally scoring, points are awarded on each play, regardless which team serves, as opposed to the traditional sideout system.

“In order to make the decision, we surveyed all state associations, gained feedback from states that experimented with rally scoring during the past year and gathered results from a Nebraska survey that reported on current play/playoff formats,” said Cynthia Doyle, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Volleyball Rules Committee.

Before voting, committee members also discussed many factors that could be affected by rally scoring. Some issues included: training of officials, length of game, team travel time, fiscal considerations and game pace.

“It is felt that one of the positives in the introduction of rally scoring is it will generate more spectator interest,” said Sheryl Solberg, chair of the Volleyball Rules Committee and assistant to the executive secretary of the North Dakota High School Activities Association. “This can only be a positive for our young athletes to know they are involved in an even more exciting sport where people attend and appreciate the athleticism and competitiveness of the players.

“Our committee worked very hard in preparation for this meeting by making every effort to contact the state associations in their section for feedback on the rally scoring issue.”

After one year of experimenting with rally scoring rules, states now have a set format by which to abide:

•     All matches shall be best three-of-five games.

•     Games shall be played to 25 points (no cap), and the fifth and deciding game shall be played to 15 points (no cap).

•     The let serve shall be allowed, and play shall continue provided net contact is entirely within the net antennas.

•     Each team shall be allowed two time-outs per game, with a total of 10 time-outs if five games are played.

“The players want a faster-paced game, and rally scoring does that,” Doyle said. Doyle said that the issues of games per match and scoring caps on games will be reviewed by the committee at the end of the 2003-04 season.

Along with rally scoring, the Volleyball Rules Committee also approved several other rules changes, including Rule 9-4-8b, which addresses multiple contacts by one player. The new rule states that multiple contacts are permitted only “on any first team hit, whether or not the ball is touched by the block,” and it deletes the line that states, “provided there is no finger action.” The wording of this rule was changed because it allowed for multiple interpretations and inconsistent application, according to Doyle.

Rule 9-5-4 also underwent revisions. It adds that if the flight of the ball is toward the opponent’s court and not toward a teammate and is legally touched by an opponent above the net, the action is a back-row player foul. If the ball is hit back in to a back-row player, it is ruled as the team’s first foul.

“These additions remove the need for officials to judge the intent of the back-row player by judging the direction of the ball hit,” Doyle said.

Three changes were made to Rule 1-4 regarding the pre-match conference and coin toss. In order to encourage good sportsmanship, the home team should select its team bench upon entering the facility, and the visiting captain should call the coin toss. If necessary, prior to the deciding game of a match, the home captain should call the toss. Predetermining who calls the toss should keep the flow and order of all matches consistent, according to Doyle.

Rule 9-3-3 divided one subheading into two in order to clarify when the ball is dead. Rule 9-3-3 l now states that a live ball becomes dead when an official’s whistle sounds, and Rule 9-3-3 m dictates that a live ball becomes dead when a timer’s audio signal interrupts play.

Revisions were also made to Rule 11-2-4 regarding administration of consistent time-outs. A time-out can last for a maximum of 60 seconds, but play can recommence if both teams are ready for play prior to the end of the 60 seconds.

To create a more consistent order between officials and players, Rule 10-2-6b was rewritten to state that it is improper when a substitute enters or a player leaves the court before the umpire directs them to do so with a sweeping open-palm hand gesture.

The uniform rule, Rule 4, underwent several changes as well. Players cannot wear jewelry during pre-match warm-up or competition, and they must wear uniforms as the manufacturers intended. Additionally, the number on the front of the uniform should be centered no more than two inches below the neckline opening or no more than two inches below the bottom edge of the neckline ribbing on the uniform top. 

A final change in Rule 12-2-7f states that unsportsmanlike conduct includes disrespectfully addressing, baiting or taunting anyone involved in the contest, not only the opponent. 

“Although rare, coaches, for example, have been known to disrespectfully address their own players,” Doyle said. “[This is now] an offense that can be penalized.”

Volleyball remains an increasingly popular high school sport with both girls and boys. Within the 14,083 schools that have girls volleyball teams are 395,124 female participants, while 40,567 boys play on 1,804 teams, according to the 2001-02 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS.

California High Schools go to Rally Scoring in 2003-2004


From the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), 10-May-03:


"Recommendation to adopt rally scoring for all rounds of the State Volleyball
Championships, all volleyball contests at the varsity level for all CIF Sections and

for all sub-varsity volleyball contests for all CIF Sections beginning in 2003-04."

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