Phoenix Volleyball

The Complete Guide to Indoor Competitive Volleyball

Don’t know where to start? 
We’re here to help! 
Run through our FAQs below and by the end you should be an expert!
Where do we start?

4v4 is the OVA’s (Ontario Volleyball Association – the governing body of all volleyball in Ontario) youngest competitive division. There is a 4v4 all girls division, as well as an boys/co-ed division. If your child is too young for this, a great place to start is our development programs. This will set your child up with the fundamentals so they can go into their next tryout season, whether club or school, confident and knowledgeable.

Phoenix has teams ranging from 4v4 to 18U. Athletes with little experience with club volleyball can tryout for our 4v4 to 13U teams. We require athletes trying out for U15 and older to have club experience already. 

Re-Signing & Open Commitment (June-Aug)

As of recently, the OVA has allowed clubs a “re signing” period. This is usually a month long time frame where clubs can re-sign athletes from within the club. Offers to new athletes (to the club) are not allowed. Re-signing allows coaches to build a base for their team, it also allows them to secure athletes from the prior season.


The open commitment period is also a month long time frame where “free agents”, or any athlete who has not been re-signed to a club can receive an offer prior to tryouts. Clubs will usually run pre-tryout clinics during the month of August where coaches can see new athletes who are interested in their team. This is a great opportunity to meet coaches, get to know their coaching style and philosophies, as well as meet some of the team who may be re-signed already. 

Indoor Tryouts (Sept-Oct)

Every athlete that is on any of our teams has attended one, or multiple, of our tryouts. Tryouts typically start in September. Clubs will have multiple tryouts for each age group listed on their site or social media. There is usually multiple rounds of tryouts – open, where everyone is invited, and then invite-only, where the coach will select athletes to see them another time.

The OVA will release a schedule for when clubs are allowed to send out offers. Clubs must abide by these rules.

Communication between the club/coach and athlete during this time is crucial. You may encounter verbal offers, which are non-binding but is an agreement between the coach and athlete that when the time comes there will be a formal offer exchanged.

Coaches will send out offers on the day the OVA outlines. Upon acceptance of the offer, the athlete is now on the team.


More information about the tryout process in detail can be found here.

The Indoor Season (Nov-May)

The indoor season runs from November to May. Practices typically start at the end of September – following  tryouts. Most teams practice twice a week, more high-performance teams will practice three times a week and include a fitness session as well.

Season fee info can be found here.

Teams have 4 regular season tournaments. Some teams may choose to schedule and enter in tournaments outside of that primary commitment. This is an extra cost. All decisions of that nature are made on a team basis – the club has little influence on them. 

Ontario Championships (Provincials)

Each team participates in Ontario Championships [Provincials]. This is a tournament over 3 days where teams are seeded based on their overall ranking from their 4 regular season tournaments. (Ranking System Info)

The first day teams play in a pool of 4, 3 matches in total. They are re-ranked, then on day 2 they play in a power pool of 4, also 3 matches total. Day 3 is single elimination, which means if they lose they go home. There is a possibility of 4 games on the final day of provincials.

The season fee runs until the last practice before Ontario Championships. All indoor programming thereafter is an extra fee. This also includes practices for teams who choose to go to Nationals. 

Volleyball Canada Youth Nationals

Volleyball Canada Youth Nationals is an elective tournament that is usually run in towards the end of May. Our teams usually choose whether or not to attend by a vote.


Youth Nationals is an additional fee for families. Costs include but are not limited to tournament fee, coaching fee, coaches flights, coaches hotel rooms, coaches food. This is on top of personal expenses to transport your family there.


Youth Nationals happen all across Canada. The past few years they have been taking place on the West Coast.

Roster Lock Deadline

Once tryouts are completed, there may be some teams that have open roster spots. At Phoenix these spots will be advertised. Other clubs may have different practices.


The OVA mandates that a roster can have up to 14 athletes on it. Most teams cap this at 12, or 2 strings, as volleyball is played with 6 athletes on the court at a time.


Athletes can join a team up until the roster lock deadline.

The roster lock deadline is usually at the beginning of February.

Other Questions Answered

How does volleyball work?

A volleyball game consists of two teams of six players each, separated by a net. The five volleyball court positions are setter, middle blocker, outside hitter, opposite hitter, and libero.

To start, flip a coin to determine which team serves the ball first.

Then the two teams will rally—or hit the ball back and forth over the net—until a fault occurs. There is a maximum of three hits per side.

The objective is to score points by sending the ball over the net, grounding it into the opponent’s court.

Volleyball matches are made up of sets, typically three at this level.

Three-set matches are two sets to 25 points and a third set to 15 points. Each set must be won by two points. The first team to win two sets is the winner of the match.


Quoted from “The Art of Coaching Volleyball”

Basic Volleyball Rules and Terms

Volleyball Rules

Here are the fundamental, must-know rules of a volleyball game:

  • Only 6 players on the floor at any given time: 3 in the front row and 3 in the back row.
  • Points are made on every serve for the winning team of the rally (rally-point scoring).
  • Players may not hit the ball twice in succession (a block is not considered a hit).
  • Ball may be played off the net during a volley and on a serve.
  • A ball hitting a boundary line is in.
  • A ball is out if it hits an antennae, the floor completely outside the court, any of the net or cables outside the antennae, the referee stand or pole, or the ceiling above a non-playable area.
  • It is legal to contact the ball with any part of a player’s body.
  • It is illegal to catch, hold or throw the ball.
  • A player cannot block or attack a serve from on or inside the 10-foot line.
  • After the serve, front-line players may switch positions at the net.
  • Matches are made up of sets; the number depends on level of play.


Quoted from “The Art of Coaching Volleyball”

Basic Volleyball Rules and Terms

Volleyball Faults

Committing any of these volleyball rule violations results in a point for the opponent.

  • Stepping on or across the service line when serving while making contact with the ball.
  • Failure to serve the ball over the net successfully.
  • Ball-handling errors and contacting the ball illegally (double touching, lifting, carrying, throwing, etc.)
  • Touching the net with any part of the body while the ball is in play.
  • Blocking a ball coming from the opponent’s court and contacting the ball when reaching over the net if your opponent has not used 3 contacts AND has a player there to make a play on the ball.
  • Attacking a ball coming from the opponent’s court and contacting the ball when reaching over the net when the ball has not yet broken the vertical plane of the net.
  • Crossing the court centerline with any part of your body, with the exception of a hand or foot. It is only considered a violation if the entire hand or entire foot crosses the court centerline.
  • Serving out of rotation or out of order.
  • Back row player blocking (deflecting a ball coming from the opponent) when, at the moment of contact, the back row player is near the net and has part of their body above the top of the net. This is an illegal block.
  • Back row player attacking a ball inside the front zone (the area inside the 3M/10-foot line) when, at the moment of contact, the ball is completely above the net. This is an illegal attack.


Quoted from “The Art of Coaching Volleyball”

Basic Volleyball Rules and Terms

Score Keeping

Teams are required to score keep their own matches. Right now the OVA is piloting an initiative where during pool play, athletes will score keep for other teams while they’re off.


The OVA has great resources on this subject.


Completing a Volleyball Score Sheet

Simplified Version

Score Keeping Video