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Volleyball can be a fun sport, but some of the volleyball plays can be pretty intense. Players who have been practicing these plays for a while, however, can make them look easy. Don't be fooled, though. It takes a lot of practice with the entire team to get the timing of some of these plays down. A quick review of some basic rules about volleyball in general might be helpful. There are two teams, separated by a net in the middle of the court. Each team has six players, three playing on the front row close to the net and three on the back row, toward the outside of the court. The server steps out of the court to serve the ball, hitting it over the net to the opposing team. From that point, the maximum number of hits that can be done by a team when the ball is on their side of the net is three. There are many more rules to volleyball, but those are the most basic rules to keep in mind. Much like most other team sports, there are offensive and defensive plays. There are virtually an unlimited number of plays that can be done, based on the skill and imagination of the team and coaches. There are, however, some commonly known plays that many teams practice. Offensive volleyball plays are plays made by the team that has the ball on their side of the net. The main thrust of these plays is to get the ball over the net, and not have it returned, either by it hitting the court before it is touched by a defensive player, hit out of bounds by the defenders, or hit more than three times by the defenders. Some commonly known plays are the slide, where the attacking player runs to the ball leaping off of one foot, the isolation play, where one attacker is used as a distraction in order for another attacker to press the attack, and the cross, when two players cross each others path to hit the ball, giving the defenders two targets to watch instead of one. Teamwork is essential for any of these plays to be successful. When the ball is hit to the other side of the net, the defensive plays are used to ensure the ball remains in play so as not to give up the point. Many times, the offensive team will spike the ball, or try to place the ball in a position that is hard for the defending team to save. These defensive plays are known as blocking. Blocking can be done in several different ways, including the double block, which is when two players jump together to complete a successful block, the dig, where the player often dives for the ball to prevent it from hitting the court, and the basic block, which is stopping the ball right at the net, knocking it back to the offensive side's court. While it can be fairly easy to describe these volleyball plays, their successful execution can take a lot of hard work. Players on the team must learn to work together, often anticipating where they are each going to be for virtually any play. This obviously requires a lot of practice. Like any sport, however, the most successful teams make these plays look easy to execute.


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