George Washington University Volleyball Club
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the George Washington University Volleyball Club?
The George Washington University Volleyball Club is composed of male and female students, faculty, and staff of the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. who like to play competitive (bump, set, spike) volleyball.  This includes men and women who simply like to play on a regular basis during the Club's scheduled playing times, as well as those who want to play on a team, practice with team members, and compete against other similar teams.

Who can join the Club?
Anyone who is a full- or part-time student, full or part-time faculty member, or member of the staff at the George Washington University -- in other words, anyone whose position or status gives them access to the athletic facilities at the University.

What do I have to do or pay to join?
There are no dues or other obligations, and anyone -- male or female --  who can play competitive (bump, set, & spike) volleyball is welcome to join us whenever they wish at our scheduled coed open play sessions from 4:00-6:30 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays at the GWU Wellness Center.

Is there anything else I should do to join?
Yes, there are TWO (2) other things you should do.  FIRST, you MUST fill out a required GWU waiver form.  A new form must be filled out every academic year (e.g. Fall09-Spring10) even if you have filled out one before.  To do it quickly and easily on line, click

What's the SECOND thing I should do to join?
The SECOND thing is to add your name to the volleyball club list server (a list of email addresses of people in the Club) if you are not currently receiving email messages from the Club.  The list server is used to notify members of unexpected cancellations of playing times and other developments of importance.

How do I add my name to the GWU Volleyball Club list server?
To add your email address to this list,  click here

When and where does the Club play?
Our current schedule -- dates, times, and locations -- is always posted on the Club's web page at:

Can I arrive late and/or leave early and/or skip a coed open play session from time to time?
It's obviously best to arrive on time or even a few minutes early.  Otherwise, you may have to wait while students who came earlier time play out their first game.  Naturally, we also hope that most students will be able to stay until play ends for the day.  Also, we encourage members to come and play at every coed open play session because it's good practice, very good and fun exercise, and you will learn more faster if you come regularly.  However, if classes or other obligations make it necessary, you are certainly free to come in late (even at 5 PM for those with 4 PM classes), leave early, and skip playing sessions when necessary.


Are you a volleyball club or a volleyball team or what?
We are primarily a volleyball CLUB, and our primary purpose is to play volleyball during our regularly scheduled playing times.  At such times we form temporary teams from among those who are present, but they last just for that playing session.  In addition, the Club also supports a men's Club team and a women's Club team.  In each case the members of the TEAM are also members of the Club, and they play regularly with other Club members at our regularly scheduled Club playing times on our temporary coed teams.  However, in addition, they also play on a men's or women's team against outside competitors.

What do the men's and women's volleyball teams do?
First, in addition to joining other Club members for informal play several times each week, team members are expected to practice with other team members on a regular basis to develop and perfect attack strategies, etc.  Second, team members represent the Club in informal scrimmages with teams from other area colleges, and in other similar informal playing sessions.  Third, if there is sufficient interest, and team members are willing to pay at least some of the cost involved in  playing in tournaments and leagues for which fees are required, the teams may join leagues and/or play in fee-required volleyball tournaments.

Are there any disadvantages or problems in playing on a Club volleyball team?
While playing on a team is very challenging and lots of fun, it also requires a commitment.  You must commit to practice on a regular basis with the other members of the team, and to be available for matches; matches which MAY SOMETIMES require travel, and MAY SOMETIMES require giving up half of a weekend.  Since other members of the team will be counting on you, you should think carefully before making such a commitment, and take into account not only your academic obligations (e.g., classes, labs, papers, etc.) but also any employment and personal commitments.  In addition, your participation in intramural volleyball here at GWU will be restricted.

How does playing on a Club volleyball team restrict me in intramural volleyball at GWU?
Current intramural rules provide: "Only two (2) members of a club sport team may participate on an intramural team in an 'associated sport' relating to their club sport. An 'associated sport' is an activity that may be similar to a varsity sport that an athlete may participate in at The George Washington University."  This means that, if you play on a Club volleyball team, only you and one other member of the team may play together on any volleyball team in intramural competition (e.g., 3-person, 4-person, 6-person, single-gender, coed, etc.).  Under current interpretation, no such restrictions apply to members of the Club who do not play on a team.  Therefore six members of the CLUB may join together to make up an intramural team, whereas only two member of the TEAM may play together in intramural competition.

Are there co-ed volleyball teams?
The Volleyball Club itself is, of course, coed, and both men and women play on pickup teams at all of our regularly scheduled practice sessions.  Moreover, in addition to our men's team and women's team, it would be possible to form a coed volleyball team to play against coed similar teams in the greater Washington DC area.  Coed volleyball is played with 3 men and 3 women, and has slightly different rules than regular volleyball.  This is a possibility if there is sufficient interest.

What else could the GWU Volleyball Club do?
The list of possible activities is limited only by our imaginations and willingness to organize. We could provide a clinic and instruction to students who want to improve their game beyond the "jungleball" phase.  We could have one or more parties or other social get-to-gethers, go to varsity matches, or visit other venues as a group where volleyball is played (e.g., the Mall).  We may also experiment with Wallyball [] if there is sufficient interest.

What should I do if I have other ideas and/or want to cooperate with other members in planning activities?
Obviously the first thing to do is to become a member and come to our regularly scheduled playing sessions.  Talk your idea over with other players and see if there is support.  You can also send an email to with your idea to LINK


How are points scored; i.e., do you use "rally scoring"? Yes, in accordance with current volleyball rules, the Club uses rally scoring.  That means that a point is scored with every serve, either by the serving team or by the other team.  If no other teams are waiting to play, it takes 25 points to win under rally scoring.

How many people does it take to begin playing? Ordinarily we will start playing shortly after the beginning of our scheduled playing time if we have at least six players.  Usually we are able to start with at least 5 vs. 5, and often we begin with a full dozen. That's why you should arrive on time if possible.

What happens if additional people want to play?  If there are more than 12 people (6 on each side), we will ordinarily work in up to an additional 2 persons per side (up to a total of 16 players). Players waiting to be worked in should stand on the side of the court next to the server, and will be the next person to serve (as the right-front player steps off the court as rotation is performed).

What happens if even more people want to play?  If there are 5 or more people waiting to play and 2 full teams on the court, the waiting players will form a new team.  Games then will be played to 15 points (rally scoring) rather than to 25, so long as there is one team waiting to play.  If even more people show up, we will again work in players (up to 2 per team), and thereafter form still another team.  Games will then be played to 11 points (rally scoring).

If there are 3 or more teams, does the winning team stay on?  No.  Each team is entitled to play 2 games, win or lose, and then must vacate the court.  It would be unfair to other players if the winning team stayed on indefinitely, and would interfere with attempts to form roughly-balanced teams of players.


What should I wear when I come to play volleyball?
For your own safety, you must wear appropriate footwear; e.g. athletic shoes.  In addition, wear whatever is comfortable for you to play in.  Most players -- male and female -- wear shorts and T-shirts.  Be sure to wear and/or bring enough warm clothing to put on when the weather is inclement.

What kinds of offensive patterns are usually used during Club games?  If a team has six players, we ordinarily use a 6-2 offense -- this means that there are six hitters (everyone hits) and two setters (only two people are designated as setters.)  The setter is a person in the back row who comes up to the front line to set, and ordinarily stands between the middle hitter/blocker and the right side hitter/blocker.  If the setter is not in the right back (server) position on the court, he or she will ordinarily switch to that position as soon as possible, and the other two back row players will switch accordingly.

What kinds of defensive patterns are usually used during Club games?  On defense against a spike from the other team, the Club usually uses a defense in which the middle person in the back row moves back and covers the entire back of the court.  At the same time, the left back row player and the right back row player (usually one of the two designated setters) move up and/or crosscourt in order to cover hard hits and (possible dinks).   If it is obvious that there is not going to be a hard-hit ball which needs to be blocked, someone called "FREE."  That's the signal for the back-row setter to run to the setting position near the net, and for the 3 net players to drop back to be able to bump the "free" ball.

To what height should the net be set for coed play?  For coed play it is very important that the net be set to the height for men's play, rather than the height for women's play (or something in between).  It's a matter of safety as well as good play.  Men -- who are often taller than women, and who typically have substantially more upper body strength -- could hit much harder on a women's net which is 7.5 inches lower [7'11''+5/8 vs 7' 4''+1/8].  This puts everyone at risk.  Men who frequently play on a women's net are not sufficiently challenged, and often will not develop to their full potential.  On the other hand, women who learn to hit and block (even just a defensive block) on a men's net during coed play will find they are even more effective when they play on women's teams on a women's net.


Can a ball be played with the foot; i.e., by kicking it?  The answer is YES according to both rule 14.4.1 which says the ball “may touch any part of the body,” and which refers expressly to “contact with the foot."
14.4.1 : The ball may touch any part of the body. Commentary: The first hit of the team includes . . .. During the team’s first hit successive contacts with various parts of the player’s body are permitted in a single action of playing the ball.  These include contact involving “fingeraction” on the ball and contact with the foot.

Can a ball touch the net on serve while going over it and still be considered a good serve?  Yes, under the new rules, a ball which is served and touches the net while going over is now considered good, and must be played by the receiving team.

Can a player legally block a serve?  The answer is both YES and NO, and depends upon a precise definition of a “block.”  Rule 19.5 lists, among various blocking faults, blocking the opponent’s serve.  However, Rule 19.1 says that a block occurs only when a player reaches higher than the top of the net. Thus, if a person who cannot reach over the net without jumping (e.g., someone less than about 6 ft. 2 in.) simply stands flatfooted while the served ball hits his hands held high over his head, his action is legal because it does not constitute “blocking” as that term is defined.
19.1 DEFINITION: Blocking is the action that deflects the ball coming from the opponent by (a) player(s) close to the net reaching higher than the net.
19.5.4: A player blocks the opponent’s serve.

When are unintended double hits by one player illegal?  Generally, a player contacting a ball (e.g., bumping, passing, setting, hitting, etc.) may make only one contact.  However, if the ball touches various parts of the body at the same time (i.e., simultanously), it is NOT a fault.  Also, if a player is the first to play the hard-hit ball on his side (e.g., receiving a serve or spike, after a tip off the block, etc.), accidential multiple touches are NOT a foul.  Here are the rules:
14.4.3 CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HIT: The ball may touch various parts of the body, provided that the contacts take place simultaneously.  EXCEPTIONS: [blocking] AND During the first hit of the team (not blocking) [Rule 19.2], the ball may contact various parts of the body consecutively, provided that the contacts occur during one action.
COMMENTARY: The first hit of the team includes receptions: (a) of the serve; (b) of an attack-hit by the opponent [this may be a soft or hard attack-hit]; (c) of a ball blocked by one's own team and (d) of a ball blocked by the opponents.  During the team's first hit, successive contacts with various parts of the  player's body are permitted in a single action of playing the ball.  These include contacts involving "finger-action" on the ball and contact with the foot.  The ball, however, may not be caught and/or thrown.

What should I do if I have any additional questions or problems?

To return to the Club's main web page, please  click here

To check out some interesting links to other volleyball-related sites, please click here

This page is posted and maintained by the Club's Faculty Advisor:
Prof. John Banzhaf, (202) 994-7229.
To meet Prof. Banzhaf, please  click here