Want a way to encourage your team to fight to win long rallies? Or alternatively, want to encourage them to extend a rally rather than go for a kill when it’s not really a good opportunity? Here’s a scoring system that could do the trick. You can use it for normal 6 v 6 play, and also for small-sided games.

Here’s how it works. After the ball is served, you count how many times it crosses the net during the course of the rally. The team which wins the rally gets that many points added to their score.

Let’s walk through an example. The receiving team attacks the ball and the serving team digs it. That’s one time crossing the net (serve does not count). The defenders then attack back, making it two net crossings. The count goes up to three when the dig rebounds back over the net as a free ball. The serving team then gets a kill on the attack which follows. The attack is the 4th crossing, so four points to the serving team.

Or you could choose not to count the final attack. Your call. I think you get the idea.

Here’s something you can also consider. One thing we generally would rather not see is our servers missing after a we’ve just won a long rally. To bring that sort of thing into focus, you could add a little wrinkle to the scoring. If a player misses their serve, the other team is awarded the value of the last rally win. This is not very penal after a quick sideout, but very much so after a long exchange.

Depending on your level and/or particular focus for the game, you could start each rally with something other than a serve. Also, you could chose not to count free balls in the net-crossing tally. No doubt you can think of your own variations.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently Technical Director for Charleston Academy. His previous experience includes the college and university level in the US and UK, professional coaching in Sweden, and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. Learn more on his bio page.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.