What is a sideout in volleyball? [2 scoring systems]

What is a sideout in volleyball? There are lots of terms in volleyball that fans get curious about. Even if you are a passionate fan, you need to learn a few things from time to time. I’ve been playing volleyball for many years, so I have to know all the rules and terms, but if you are not a professional, you may need a helping hand.

Many times I heard people wondering about side-outs. The word is still widely used, but not everyone knows where it comes from, especially younger volleyball fans. Let’s sort it out today. 

As you know, in volleyball, each match involves two teams.

what is a sideout in volleyball
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The current rally scoring system dictates that points can be scored no matter which team is serving. That approach is dramatically different from a previous scoring method, where points were awarded to only the serving team and never to the receiving team. It is weird, right? This is what a side-out scoring is.

Let’s get into more detail and investigate the terms ‘side-out’ and the ‘side-out scoring system.’ They are closely connected.

Is side-out in volleyball an outdated rule?

If you are passionate about volleyball, you know the current scoring system. I’ve played in this system for all my volleyball career. The term ‘side-out’ belongs to the times before 2000, when the scoring system was not like that at all.

A side out in volleyball marks a moment during a match that signals a change in possession from one team to the other. It occurs when the serving team hit the net, fails to score a point, or commits a fault. Another example: a serving team touched the ball more than 3 times. It results in loss of service. This is how we use the term now.

When a volleyball game begins, the first team initiates play.

If it serves successfully, and the opposing team fails to return the ball, the serving team scores.

But if the team that serves commits a fault or fails to rally, that’s the side-out—possession of the ball switches to the rival team. A side-out is a missed opportunity for the serving team to score.

And here we come to the ‘side-out scoring system’. This scoring method worked until 2000 when FIVB changed the rules. Since then, the ‘rally scoring system’ has taken over.

In side-out scoring, the only position I could score points was when my team was serving. If the team lost the service by failing the rally or committing a fault, it only lost the serve, but it didn’t lose a point to the receiving team. 

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Present-day rules in volleyball that replaced side-out

As I’ve already mentioned, the side-out scoring was replaced by the rally scoring system in 2000.  

Let me tell you about the replacement, and how it has impacted our favorite sport.

Rally scoring system

I should tell you that the adoption of this system is the most significant rule change in volleyball history. Under the new system, any team can score points on every rally, and it doesn’t matter which team serves.

This rule, in my opinion, ensures continuous action throughout the match.

Each rally begins with a serve and ends when the ball hits the floor, the opponent hit out of bounds, or a fault is committed. Rally scoring has energized volleyball immensely; it has become even more thrilling.

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This rule change encourages aggressive and strategic play from both teams because every rally is another opportunity to score. I also think that it reduces the impact of losing the service. Teams can still earn points even when they are not serving.

With the rally method, the concept of continuous play has replaced the concept of side-out. Instead of focusing on regaining serve possession after a side-out, teams now do their best to win rallies and points. The change shifted the focus and led to more dynamic and competitive gameplay.

Teams must constantly adapt and strategize.

Rally scoring has placed a greater emphasis on ball control and consistency in volleyball. Teams that are good at ball control can manage longer rallies, create scoring opportunities, and keep pressuring their opponents.

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Final thoughts

In any sport, rule changes transform the game. I think I’ve proven to you that the change in scoring has transformed volleyball dramatically. Playing volleyball has become more dynamic and exhilarating. Rally scoring has not only increased the pace of matches but also made strategy even more important and increased the competitiveness of volleyball games.

Side-out scoring made the game go on at a slower pace, and the dynamic was also different because only the team that served could score. Now, the rules allow points to be scored on every rally, no matter who serves, so the current system has eliminated the downtime associated with a side-out.

Both players and spectators are engaged throughout the match. This continuous play has led to more dynamic and competitive volleyball games.

I hope I succeeded in explaining what a side-out and a side-out scoring are, and I guess after my explanation, you will not miss the old scoring method because current volleyball is much faster, spectacular, and exciting.   


What does side-out mean in volleyball?

A lost service is, basically, a side-out in volleyball. It typically happens because of a fault or failure to win the rally. A side-out results in transferring the serving right to the other team.

Why do people yell sideout?

Spectators, layers, or coaches can shout “side-out” in volleyball to indicate that the team that serves has lost the ball. It’s a signal of a change in serve to the rival team. It helps players and spectators understand the current state of play during a match.

Where does the term sideout come from?

The term “side-out” in volleyball has its roots in the traditional scoring rules, where you had to be serving to win points. When it lost the ball, it signaled a change insides and a chance for the rival team to serve, hence the term “side-out”.

What does line out mean in volleyball?

In volleyball, “line out” typically refers to a situation where the ball goes out of bounds along one of the boundary lines of the court. As a result, the rival team earns a point.

What scoring method is used in beach volleyball?

Beach volleyball uses the same scoring method as indoor volleyball — rally scoring when all rallies end in a team winning a point and not only the team currently owning the serve.

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