Fast and Fun

“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.”

Annie Flood

U.S. Women's Sitting National Team

Annie Flood

Anyone Can Play

Zach Upp playing sittingSitting 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.

 

Similarities

  • 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.

Differences

  • 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.

Interested?

There are a number of programs across the country each year.


Carolina Region
Triangle VBC includes sitting volleyball in its program offerings.
Contact: info@trianglevolleyball.com

Florida Region
Conducts open clinics to introduce people to playing, officiating and coaching sitting volleyball as well as fields a sitting team to compete at the USAV Open Nationals.
Contact: sitting@floridavolleyball.org

GEVA Region
Atlantic Valley Volleyball Club runs sitting volleyball programs open to those with physical limitations and those without.
Contact: john.titus@atlanticvalley.org

Northern California Region
Leagues, clinics and more! Northern California continues to support sitting volleyball and to reach out to those with physical limitations and those without.
Contact: vball@ncva.com

Have a question? Interested in learning more?
Contact Elliot Blake of the USAV Sitting staff at sitting.volleyball@usav.org or call (405) 974-3153.

National Team Athlete Selection

To inquire about trying out for the national sitting teams, use the contacts below.

Sitting Volleyball from A-Z

While a bit outdated (this was produced for the 2012 London Paralympic Games), this video gives a wide overview of sitting volleyball and its similarities to the standing game.


Sitting Volleyball at the USA Volleyball Open National Championship

FOS vs. J & K in 2019 features members of the U.S. Sitting National Teams in action outside of their Team USA uniforms.