“Sitting is definitely much harder than standing volleyball. It’s a completely different game. You’re using different muscles… and you have to have quick reaction times; you can’t just get up, run and dive for the ball.”
Sitting volleyball is a discipline of the sport in which athletes play in a seated position. The sitting game utilizes the same volleyball skills and techniques as the standing game with a few key rule differences. Players use both their arms and legs to move across the court, and it’s a physical, fast-paced game. USA Volleyball is the official National Governing Body for sitting volleyball.
Sitting volleyball has been part of the Paralympic Games since the men’s competition debuted at the Arnhem Games in 1980.
Each team is allowed to have up to three contacts with the ball before returning it to the opposing team’s side of the court.
Each match is the best of five sets, played to 25 points, but you have to win by two. If a fifth set is necessary, that set is played to 15 points, and again, you have to win by two.
In sitting volleyball, the net is about 3 feet high, and the court is 10 x 6 meters with a 2-meter attack line. The court is divided into two sides of 5m deep by 6m wide. The net height is set at a height of 1.15m for men, and 1.05m for women.
Players are allowed to block serves, but one “cheek” must be in contact with the floor whenever they make contact with the ball.
Players must remain in contact with the court at all times when handling the ball. Standing, rising, or taking steps is not permitted. A short loss of contact with the court is permitted in two scenarios: when making a defensive play in the back zone to save a ball and when making a defensive play in the front zone.
Who Can Play?
Anyone can play! But if you want to play on the U.S. National Team or in the Paralympic Games, there are classifications for competition.
In such competition, players are required to have a qualifying disability as determined two medical classifiers, who measure an athlete’s functional loss. Based on this evaluation, an athlete may be classified as Minimal Disabled (MD) or Disabled (D).
An MD athlete has lost some muscular strength, flexibility, or a combination, in a joint that hinders the athlete’s ability to play volleyball. A disabled athlete has lost complete muscular strength, flexibility, or a significant combination of the two in a joint.
Teams competing in official international competition are permitted to have a maximum of two MD athletes on the roster and can only play one at a time.
There are a number of programs across the country each year.