A volleyball game is played with no time limit. A team must win a certain number of sets (games) to win the match. How long the volleyball game lasts will vary. In this article, we will explain all the elements that make up a volleyball match and what the typical time is for a set (game) and match.
A volleyball match will usually take 60-120 minutes to play including time outs and breaks. An average set (game) will take around 25 minutes to play. The first team to reach 25 points wins the set. The winning team must win by 2 points, so the point totals could go over 25. A team will need to win 2 out of 3 sets or 3 out of 5 sets to win the match.
There is not an exact duration of a volleyball match as it depends on how quickly a team can score points to win the match. In most sports, there is a certain amount of time to score as many points as they can. In volleyball, the game goes on until the players score a certain number of points.
How Long Is A Volleyball Set (Game)?
A typical volleyball set lasts about 25 minutes. Most sets are played to 25 points. Most of the time, the last set of the match will be played to 15 points. The duration of the can vary depending on skill level, rally length, and how quickly teams score points.
There is no time limit for each set. The length of a set usually follows how many points need to be scored. If the set is to 25 points, then it will take about 25 minutes to play. If the set is to 15 points, then it will take about 15 minutes to play. It is common to see one or two points scored every minute in a set.
Note: Sets are sometimes called games and vice versa. Most often, they are called sets. You need to win the sets (games) to win the whole match.
How Long Is A Volleyball Match?
A volleyball match will typically last between 60-120 minutes depending on how many sets are required to win the match. Some matches are 2 out of 3 sets to win while others are 3 out of 5 sets to win. In tournaments, only 2 sets may be played for the match and the winner is determined by the difference in points.
2 out of 3 sets (games)
If a match is played in the 2 out of 3 sets format, a team must win 2 out of 3 sets. The first 2 sets are played to 25 points. If a third set is required to determine the winner, it is played to 15 points.
This format is usually played at the lower to medium skill levels. It allows for long competition but provides a shorter time as many players may get tired sooner than higher skill levels. (Beach volleyball always plays 2 out of 3 sets)
The average time for 2 out of 3 sets is 60-90 minutes.
3 out of 5 sets (games)
If a match is played in the 3 out of 5 sets format, a team must win 3 out of 5 sets. The first 4 sets are played to 25 points. If a 5th set is required to determine the winner, it is played to 15 points.
This format is usually played at higher level competitions such as varsity high school, college, and professional. This longer format requires players to have more endurance and perseverance than the lower skill levels. Because it is a longer match, these players have more time to adapt to their opponent and come up with strategies to win.
The average time for a 3 out of 5 match is between 90-150 minutes.
Best of 2 sets (games)
The best of 2 sets is a format where only 2 sets are played regardless of who wins. The match can end with a 2-0 win or a 1-1 win. The results and score must be kept and submitted in case of a tie. If there is a tie, the team with the highest point spread wins.
This format is often used in tournaments where there is time and spaces issues. Organizers are better able to schedule more precise time slots when only 2 sets are played.
Note: Warm-ups take place on the game court before the match. Each team is entitled to a 10-minute warm-up session.
How Many Points To Win A Volleyball Set and Match?
Every team wants to win. Knowing how many points it takes to win will help you know when a set or match are over.
Winning a set
To win a volleyball set, a team must score at least 25 points. The team must win by 2 points, so if there is a tight or tied score, more points may be needed to win. A set cannot go over 30 points, therefore the first team to reach 30 wins the match.
If the match goes to a 3rd or 5th set, a team needs 15 points to win the last set.
Winning a match
To win a volleyball match, a team must win 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 5 sets. You will be able to tell a match is over by the cheering of the winning team and fans.
How Long Is A Time-Out In Volleyball?
A time-out in volleyball varies among different leagues. In the USAV and FIVB rules, each team is allotted two time-outs that are 30 seconds long during each set. In the NCAA rules, the time-outs are extended to 75 seconds each. All the teams can re-enter the court early before the time-out is over.
How Long Is A Volleyball Tournament?
A volleyball tournament can last anywhere from 1 day to several days. Most tournaments last 2 days taking place over a weekend. The first day is usually spent in pool play where a team will play against 3 other teams. The pool play determines what place a team will be in for the next day.
The second day a team will more than likely play until they are eliminated once or twice. If you lose one game and the tournament is over for your team, that is single elimination. If you lose once then play again until you lose, that is double elimination.
Tournaments can last anywhere from 4-6 hours or sometimes even longer per day. Expect to be there most of the day and taking breaks throughout the day to eat and rest. When teams are not resting or eating, or playing, they can be found out on the court refereeing.
Watching and playing volleyball is so fun that you may not realize how much time is going by during a match or tournament. Knowing how long a match or tournament lasts will help you as a player and fan. If you are a player, be sure to work on your endurance while you are on the court. If you are a fan, sit back, relax, and enjoy the game!
Now that you know how long a volleyball game lasts, you may be wondering when do seasons start. To learn about the start of volleyball seasons, check out our article When Does Volleyball Season Start? (8 Levels of Play).