How Long Is A Volleyball Game?

Micah Drews


It can be difficult to predict the time for volleyball games. In contrast to soccer, basketball, and football, where there are strict time limits, there are many variables involved in scoring and winning.

If you take the time to come back, volleyball will become even more interesting and dynamic to watch, as it really is anyone’s game. The purpose of this article is to look at How Long Is A Volleyball Game and how many periods are in volleyball.

How Long Is a Volleyball Game?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

So, how many periods are in volleyball? A volleyball game usually lasts between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on the number of sets played. Matches between best of threes are shorter, averaging around an hour, whereas matches between best of fives can last up to two hours. There are different timings for beach volleyball, resulting in an average game time of 45 minutes.

Based on an estimation that each set should last between 20 and 25 minutes, these numbers are derived. 

Typically, this is the case but can vary widely within a single match as well. If you are planning on booking or watching volleyball matches, always estimate high. Volleyball players love to subvert expectations, if there’s one thing they love.

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How Long Is a Set in Volleyball?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

There is no time limit for volleyball, unlike other sports such as hockey or soccer. As long as a winner is established by winning enough points or sets, the game continues. Furthermore, depending on skill level, rally length, and other game rules, a game can vary greatly in length.

Volleyball has a number of procedural elements that can extend the length of a match, but on average the amount of minutes required to win the set is closely related to the points required. 

In a 25-point set, approximately 25 minutes will be needed, in a 15-point set, approximately 15 minutes. During a volleyball game, one to two points are usually earned every minute.

Set duration can also be affected by a number of other factors, such as the skill level of the players. Skill levels increase the capability and aggression of each play. Volleyball is played at a faster pace when the players are skilled. Despite this, even top-level opponents can still extend a game’s duration since points are earned relatively evenly, forcing an extension of the game’s duration.

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What Makes A Volleyball Game Longer or Shorter?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

The duration of a volleyball match can be considerably extended or shortened by many different factors.

Some of the most common factors to consider are listed below.

1. Number of Sets

It is the number of sets played that determines the length of any volleyball match. 

A team’s performance in a tournament or other match can be significantly improved by playing fewer sets and winning sets efficiently.

Middle school and high school teams usually play the best of three games in which one team must win two out of three games to win. 

The shortest match might be completed in around 40 minutes if each set takes around 20 or 25 minutes. If a tiebreak is played, the match will take an hour, and if a best of five is played, it will take even longer.

However, that’s not all. 

When there is a close back-and-forth between teams, volleyball sets can be won by a two-point lead. The result is a great deal of competition, athletic drama, as well as an extended game.

In 1979, a set lasted until 87-85 before ending. As a result of volleyball’s old rules, which prohibited teams from scoring on their own serves, the entire system was rewritten so that something like that would never happen again.

Volleyball games can have very unpredictable numbers of sets, with the time of individual sets varying greatly. As a result, it’s always best to overestimate the amount of time you’ll need when you’re planning an event or booking one.

2. Timestops

Timestops determine how long a volleyball game will last next. These events either suspend play or stop time, as their names suggest. A timeout, a substitution, an injury timeout, and a break are all included in this category.

It is common for time stops to be very brief, but they can add up over time. 

Two timeouts and six substitutions are allowed per set for every team, and a clever coach can use these times to slow the game down, plan a comeback, or extend the lead. By doing so, several minutes are added to the set.

Technical timeouts are also used in professional sports. 

These are automatic timeouts taken by teams when they reach the 8th and 16th points of a set – excluding the final tiebreak set. Only lasting 30 seconds, they’re more of a break for players than a break for the match itself.

The difference between an emergency timeout and a break is vast. 

Depending on the situation, these can last for five minutes to five hours, or even longer. There are many factors that can affect the length of a match, including injuries on the court, fires in the building, and weather conditions.

3. Beach vs Indoor

There has been discussion before about the number of sets in indoor volleyball, and the fact that the best of three or best of five format is used. The best-of-three format is always used in beach volleyball. In addition, sets are played to 21 instead of 25, with a 15-point tiebreaker as usual at the end.

Trying to move around on the sand during beach volleyball is exhausting, but playing best of five matches with only two teams is even worse. In order to make beach sets more enjoyable, intense, and fun to watch, they are shortened and capped at three sets.

Best 2-of-3 vs. Best 3-of-5

There are two different rules that can be applied to a volleyball game:

  • 2-of-3 sets
  • 3-of-5 sets

2 out of 3 sets rules mean that a volleyball team wins when it wins 2 out of 3 sets, whereas 3 out of 5 sets rules mean that a volleyball team wins when it wins 3 out of 5.

To qualify as a winner, either team must win a majority of the sets. Therefore, even if a team wins a few sets, it may lose the match as a whole. Due to the fact that one team has already won the match, the remaining sets are discarded.

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How Long Is A High School Volleyball Game?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

It normally takes an hour and a half to play a volleyball game in high school. There are some varsity matches that can last up to an hour and a half, but they are usually shorter in duration.

It is primarily due to the differences between junior varsity and varsity teams that there are differences in length. 

A varsity team typically plays a best of five, while a JV team usually plays a best of three. 

The length of the game is also extended by the higher rate of return and level of play of these players.

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How Long Is A College Volleyball Game?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

The average college/university volleyball game lasts about an hour and a half. Even though some matches can conclude within an hour, it’s also not unusual for high-level competition to last up to two hours.

As the level with the greatest ability disparity, it is unique. 

In some cases, players may join college teams for the first time and have no experience playing the game. In other cases, players may compete regularly at the national level and possess a similar level of offensive and defensive abilities as professionals. 

It is this difference in ability that leads to the longest matches at any level, and it has as much to do with the division level as it does with the individual player.

In addition to its unpredictability, this level is also one of the most entertaining and enjoyable to watch. 

These student-athletes are also playing their last volleyball season, creating a fervor and motivation not often seen at other levels of competition. 

You can watch some fantastic volleyball and cheer on your local collegiate team whenever you can.

How Long Is A Beach Volleyball Game?

How Long Is A Beach Volleyball Game

The average beach volleyball game lasts 45 minutes. The reason for this is the lower point requirement and the lower set cap compared to indoor (best of three).

The number of matches a day in an indoor tournament is usually two or three, but in some beach tournaments, this number can reach up to six, though at higher levels this number is reduced.

Despite its fast-paced nature, beach volleyball doesn’t disappoint. Take part in or watch a local tournament for a fun afternoon while getting your daily dose of vitamin D. Attending in person is always more fun.

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How Long Do Volleyball Tournaments Last?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

It is possible to divide volleyball tournaments into two categories: endurance tournaments and progression tournaments. 

Teams usually play 2-4 matches each day over two days in endurance events. During these tournaments, teams are usually eliminated after ten or twelve hours each day.

In contrast, progression tournaments are played over several weeks or even months. Rather than attending a tournament venue, teams travel to their opponents to play one (or sometimes two) matches on a determined day. Usually, teams meet at the venue for 8 hours during the quarter- or semi-final stages of the tournament.

Both types of tournaments have their advantages, but progression-style tournaments take more planning and time in the long run. As a result, endurance tournaments are usually run at the high school and club level, while pro and university tournaments are usually used at the pro and university levels.

What you need to know:

  • Progression tournament: 4-5 single matches plus an 8-hour venue day.
  • Endurance tournament: One weekend of 10-12 hours each day.

How Many Minutes in a Volleyball Game?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

The average volleyball set lasts between 20 and 30 minutes. The time it takes to play a three-set match depends on how good the players are against one another. On the other hand, a game that is played best-of-five sets may last 150 minutes (21 hours).

Most players below high school play best 2-of-3 sets, while varsity high school or older players play best 3-of-5 sets. Depending on how many points there are in the set, the duration of the set will vary. If the set has 25 points, it may take the players 20-30 minutes, while a tie-breaker set with 15 points usually takes much less time. 

A volleyball game, however, does not necessarily last more than 15 minutes. During the 2015 volleyball match between Algeria and Serbia, this was demonstrated well. The Serbian team beat their opponents in under ten minutes! 

It is sometimes necessary to shorten the duration of a volleyball match to under 60 minutes. These types of matches usually occur in pool play during tournaments. 

Playing A Best of 2 Match

Regardless of who wins, each team will play two sets. In tournaments, this rule is sometimes followed in order to keep teams on a predictable schedule if space or time is an issue. In the early rounds of a tournament, this is usually used only during pool play.

Only two sets – called best of two – can be played between the two teams. Teams will play two sets regardless of who wins, and scores will be submitted and compared later.

The number of sets won and the number of points scored in these matches will be used to rank teams for bracket play, so teams must score as many points as possible.

In the overall match, the team with the highest score wins. Team A has 47 points if it scores 26 points in the first set and 21 points in the second set. The winner of the match would be team B if, in the first set, they scored 24 and in the second set, they scored 25, resulting in an overall score of 49.

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How Many Sets in a Volleyball Game?

There are usually three sets in a volleyball game, but some games require five. There are different rules for different matches.  Regular-season varsity volleyball games usually have five sets, whereas junior varsity games typically have three.

There are, however, some Junior Varsity volleyball games that are played to three out of five sets in the finals. The first two sets of beach volleyball are played to 21 points, while the tiebreaker set is played to 15 points. For different levels of volleyball, here are the most common set numbers:

2-of-3 Sets3-of-5 Sets
Middle schoolVarsity
Junior varsityCollege
International beachInternational indoor

How Many Points To Win a Volleyball Game?

The regular sets in indoor volleyball require teams to score 25 points. A tie-breaker set requires only 15 points for the players to win. A beach volleyball team needs 21 points to win the first two sets, but 15 points to win the tiebreaker. The winning team must win by at least two points in all cases.

Match points are awarded for the best 3-of-5 sets, except that teams have to win three sets rather than two to win. In the first four sets, each set is played to 25 points. The fifth set, however, is only played to 15 points.

Faqs on How Long Is A Volleyball Game?

How Long Is A Volleyball Set?

In indoor volleyball, a set usually lasts 20 to 25 minutes. When there is an even match between two teams or if there is a heated back and forth, sets can last up to 30 minutes. It is therefore possible for some matches in a best of five to last longer than two hours.

How many minutes is 1 set of volleyball?

The average volleyball set lasts between 20 and 30 minutes. The time it takes to play a three-set match depends on how good the players are against one another. It may take 150 minutes (2 12.5 hours) to play a game in which three of five sets are played.

How many rounds are in a volleyball game?

There are five sets in a match. With the exception of the final set, the first four sets are played to 25 points each.

How long is a women’s volleyball game?

Depending on the number of sets played, volleyball games usually last between 60 and 90 minutes. Most best-of-three matches last about an hour, whereas best-of-five matches can last up to two hours.

How many minutes is a high school volleyball game?

Typically, a high school or college volleyball game lasts between 90 minutes and two and a half hours. A best-of-five set format is usually used. Thus, the match can last between three and five sets, with the winning team being the first to win three sets.

What Is The Longest Game In Volleyball History?

It took Allianz Milano and Top Volley Cisterna 2 hours and 55 minutes to play the longest league match in volleyball history in November 2021. Only one minute was added to the previous Italian Cup record set in 2020. Cisterna won 3-2 in the match.

What is the Longest Volleyball Competition?

In 2011, the Netherlands SVU Volleyball teams achieved the longest indoor volleyball marathon in Uilenstede in Amselveen, Netherlands, lasting 85 hours. In total, the teams played 63 matches, scoring a total of 14,635 points after completing 338 individual sets.

What Is The Longest Set In Volleyball History?

In 1979, 87-85 points constituted the longest volleyball set in history. As a result of existing rules allowing a team only to score on its own serve at the time, the entire system had to be revised in order to prevent this from happening again in the future.

What Is The Shortest Set In Volleyball History?

Volleyball’s shortest set was probably the first set between Russia and Algeria at the FIVB Women’s World Cup in Japan in 2015. In the end, Russia won 25-5 and the set lasted just over twelve minutes. Against China, Algeria had previously set a record in this tournament.


Volleyball games usually do not have a time limit. It usually takes between 60 and 90 minutes to play to the best two-of-three sets. In the best three-of-five sets, games can last up to 150 minutes.

Our volleyball guides can also help you learn what a kill and setter are so you can play better in volleyball tournaments. To improve your weakness, you can work on your volleyball setter workouts and drills. Improve your libero volleyball drills if you want to perform better.

About Micah Drews

After playing volleyball at an international level for several years, I now work out and write for Volleyball Blaze. Creating unique and insightful perspectives through my experience and knowledge is one of my top priorities.

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