Obviously, these days volleyball is almost exclusively played using rally score. Depending on what you want to concentrate your training on, however, you can use different types of scoring in your scrimmages and friendly matches to achieve your goals. There are game type drills. In this case, though, I’m referring to actual games which operate on a standard play model. I’ve mentioned bonus points before, but here are some other options.
Sideout (score only when you’re the serving team): Some coaches do like to mix in this scoring system in their training at times. It allows for teams to be more aggressive in transition attack when they have serve. That’s because they need not worry about losing the point. As a result, you can work on more advanced offensive plays than you might use in a rally game.
Floor or Earned Points: A team can only score by putting the ball down in the other team’s court. This means only positive plays count for points – kills, blocks, and aces. If a team makes an error (with the exception of being blocked, which technically is considered a hitting error), the play is a wash.
Real Volleyball Points: In her book, Coaching Volleyball Successfully, Sally Kus mentions what she called “real points”. The context is focusing young players (14s and younger) on playing pass-set-hit rather than being concerned with winning rallies. She kept a separate score during games based on how many times her team did a pass-set-hit vs. how many times the other team did so. This is regardless of whether it results in a kill. Obviously, it’s something focused on beginning and lower level players.
Points for…: Extending on the Real system above, a similar concept can apply to more advanced teams. This is done by allowing points to be scored only when some sort of skill or play is executed. It could come either in the run of play or to win a rally. For example, if you want to focus on good passes, you could only give points for 3-passes. If you want your team working on the quick offense you could only give points for executing a 1-ball. You can even have multiple things teams can score on. Just don’t go too far, though, as it will split the players’ focus (and be hard to track!).
10 to 0 +/- : Sally Kus mentioned this one in her book as well. In this scoring system the game starts at 5 points. If Team A wins the rally, the score goes up a point. If Team B wins the rally, the score goes down by a point. Team A wins by getting the score up to 10, while Team B wins by getting the score down to 0. You can adjust the starting point up or down to suit your team and the length of came you want. Of course you can also incorporate bonus points and if you have two unequal teams you can have the weaker one winning a rally worth 2 points rather than just one (or whatever ratio seems reasonable).
Finish With…: In this variation a team must score its final points (you decide how many) in some specific fashion. For example, the last two points must come on kills. The idea is to keep a team from getting tentative at the end of a game when winning (playing not to lose). At the same time, though, you can also use this type of scoring to encourage certain types of plays based on your identified developmental needs. For example, a more advanced team must get a kill on a one-on-one or one-on-null hitter/blocker match up.
You might also find 25 or reset interesting.
John Kessel at USA Volleyball compiled a lengthy list of different scoring approaches. Top 166 Volleyball Drills from Around the World
If you’ve got a scoring alternative you like to use, definitely tell us about it in the comment section below. We could add it to the list above.