Thursday 30 August – Saturday 8 September 2012
Number of medal events
One men’s and one women’s competition
Number of competitors
198: 110 men and 88 women
Ten teams compete in the men’s and eight teams in the women’s competitions, with 11 athletes on each team (six players and five substitutes).
Each country is limited to one men’s and one women’s team.
In Sitting Volleyball there are two categories of classification: disabled and minimal disablility. A maximum of one minimally disabled player may be on the court for each team at any one time.
Read more about Sitting Volleyball classification
Field of play
The Sitting Volleyball court is 10m long and 6m wide. It is divided into two halves by a net that is 1.15m high for the men’s game, and 1.05m high for the women’s.
History of Sitting Volleyball at the Paralympic Games
Sitting Volleyball made its debut as a Paralympic medal sport at the Arnhem 1980 Games. The women’s event was added to the Paralympic programme in 2004.
Sitting Volleyball is played by two teams of six. The object of the game is to land the ball in the opposition’s half of the court. The rules of Sitting Volleyball are very similar to its Olympic counterpart, 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.
For a complete set of rules, please refer to the website of the World Organisation Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD), governing body for the sport.
Both the men’s and women’s Sitting Volleyball competitions begin with a preliminary phase. The teams in each event are divided into two pools of five in the men’s and two groups of four in the women’s competition. Each team plays every other team in their pool. The top eight teams in the men’s and the top four teams in the women’s competition qualify for the knockout phase, with the winners of the semi-finals going head to head for the gold medal.
All matches are the best of five sets, with the first four sets going to 25 points. The fifth set goes to 15 points, and all sets must be won with at least a two-point advantage.
For a complete set of rules, please refer to the international federation, the World Organisation Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD).
Two referees oversee each game. They are assisted by scorers, who sit at the scorers’ table, and line judges, who stand at the corners of the court and indicate various line faults with the use of flags.
Keys to success
Sitting Volleyball is a fast and physically demanding game. Players need to have speed, strength and stamina, as well as excellent technical play and the ability to think quickly and play tactically as a team.
Breaking the rules
As Sitting Volleyball is a very technical and skilful game, the team that commits too many infringements – such as hitting the ball out of the court, catching or throwing the ball – will lose possession of the serve.
A card system is used for more serious infringements, such as rude conduct. A yellow card results in a point being awarded to the opposition, a red card will see a player expelled for the remainder of the set, and a red and yellow card together means disqualification for the rest of the match, but with no loss of points.
When a player is expelled or disqualified, if a team is able to make a legal substitution, they are forced to replace the player. If a team is left with fewer than six players or no legal substitutions remaining, they will automatically concede the set or match respectively.
Block – preventing the attacking ball to come over the net by forming a wall of hands at the net.Dig – a defensive passing shot from close to the ground, usually following an opposition spike.
Setter – the player who sets the ball for the attacker, usually on the second of the team’s three permitted shots.
Wipe – to return the ball off an opposing block so it lands out of bounds.
If you want to find out about Sitting Volleyball in your country, including clubs, facilities and coaching schemes, check the website of your National Governing Body for Sitting Volleyball. To find out how you can get involved in Sitting Volleyball in the UK, go to thegamesandbeyond.com
For more information on the Sitting Volleyball competition at London 2012 and the rules of the sport, go to the website of the World Organisation Volleyball for Disabled (WOVD), governing body for the sport.