Sports Summary

Sitting volleyball made its Paralympic debut at the Arnhem 1980 Paralympic Games after gaining popularity in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s.

One of the most fast-paced sports at the Paralympic Games, sitting volleyball is played on a smaller court (10m x 6m) and a lower net. It’s played in a best-of-five set format, and the first to reach 25 points (with at least a two-point lead) wins the game.

Teams consist of mixed classes in male and female events, with six on the court at a time. At all times, an athletes’ pelvis must be touching the ground, and service blocks are allowed.


Australian Volleyball Federation

The World Organization for Volleyball for the Disabled (WOVD)

International Paralympic Committee

Events & Disciplines

  • Men’s and women’s eight-team tournaments: teams will be drawn into two pools and the two highest placed teams in each group will progress to the semi-finals


Who is eligible for Volleyball? Athletes with a physical impairment (such as spinal or nerve injury, limb loss or limb deficiency, cerebral palsy or other similar impairment).

What are the classes? Sitting volleyball is divided into two classes: Disabled (D) and Minimally Disabled (MD).
D – athletes have an impairment that has a greater impact on the field of play than MD players
MD – athletes with an impairment in their ankle or knee that prevents them from playing standing volleyball. A maximum of one MD player may be on the court for each team at any one time.

How do I get a classification? Request a classification using the Get classified form.

Rules & Equipment

Sitting volleyball is played by two teams of six with the object to land the ball in the opposition’s half of the court.

The rules of sitting volleyball are very similar to standing volleyball, however a part of an athlete’s body between the buttocks and the shoulder must be in contact with the court whenever a shot, or attempt at a shot, is made.

Each team is allowed three touches of the ball before it must cross over the net (in addition to a legal block). The key attacking move is the set and spike, in which a player feeds the ball (the set) for a teammate to hit it into the opposition’s court (the spike).

The match starts with three front-row players in a line near the net, and three back-row players in a line towards the back of the court. At each serving opportunity, the players rotate one space.

Each team has the opportunity to have one libero amongst their players on court. The libero is a specialist defensive player, and may not play any attacking shots. The libero is easy to identify as their kit is a different colour to the rest of the team.

Court – the volleyball court is 10m x 6m and is divided in two by a net that is 1.15m high for the men’s game and 1.05m high for the women’s.