On average, a volleyball game can last anywhere between 60 minutes and 90 minutes, but there are several things to consider when looking at the length of a volleyball game. For instance, win conditions, substitutions, timeouts, and different levels of play with different rules will impact the game length. Meanwhile, a casual beach volleyball game takes half the time of an indoor college match.
So, how long do college, high school, and middle school volleyball games last? Is there a time difference in time duration for beach volleyball matches? What about 3-set versus 5-set games? Finally, is there an official time limit to a volleyball game?
Here is the complete breakdown of how long a volleyball game and match is.
How Long is a College Volleyball Game?
It is typical for a college volleyball game to reach at least two hours. This two-hour benchmark is because most college-level volleyball games are best out of five volleyball sets. The number of sets played will significantly add to the time played.
However, it is essential to remember that there is no countdown timer during a college volleyball game. This lack of a countdown timer means you can never be sure how long a college volleyball game will last. If two skilled teams are playing against each other, you can expect great rallies during the match, which will only extend the game’s length.
Meanwhile, if one team is dominant over the other and wins the first three sets out of five, the game will end quickly.
How Long is a High School / Middle School Volleyball Match?
Volleyball matches for high school / middle school last around one hour. That is because only three sets are played; whoever wins two out of those three is the winning team.
Meanwhile, varsity high school volleyball games typically last around an hour and a half. Similarly to college volleyball, high schoolers will play five sets. The first team to win three of those five sets wins the match.
How Long is a Beach Volleyball Match?
Beach volleyball matches, whether women’s or men’s, will typically last between 30 minutes and an hour. Compared to indoor volleyball, beach volleyball is more dynamic, and points are usually scored more quickly. Scoring points rapidly contributes to the shorter game time.
A beach volleyball game can only end once one team has a two-point advantage over the opposing team. This two-point advantage means the game can go well over the points needed to win a set. The best beach volleyball matches last even longer since they usually need to go to a tie-breaker set.
How Long Do Volleyball Tournaments Last?
Volleyball tournaments can easily last between eight and ten hours and span an entire weekend. Volleyball tournaments are long and tiring, so volleyball players should be prepared to sacrifice their entire day or weekend.
Most volleyball tournaments follow a three-set game setup with either single or double elimination, depending on the tournament. However, if you play at a higher level, you may find yourself in a volleyball tournament consisting of five-set games.
How Long Do 3-Set Volleyball Games Last?
3-set volleyball games are usually the shortest indoor volleyball games you will find, typically lasting around an hour. To win a 3-set volleyball game, your team must win two of the three sets played. If a team wins the first two sets, there is no point in playing the third set.
How Long Does a 5-Set Volleyball Game Last?
5-set volleyball games usually last between an hour and a half to two hours, depending on the level of play. During these volleyball games, the winner is the first team to win three sets. Once again, some matches might not even need to happen if a winner occurs after three sets.
If a team wins the first three sets, the game ends, and that team will win the 5-set volleyball game. These volleyball games can also last four sets instead of three or five. If one team wins the first set, but the other team wins the second set, the first team has to win the next two sets to be declared the winner, with only four sets played.
Is There a Time Limit in Volleyball?
There is no time limit in volleyball, nor will you see any clock slowly counting down the time left in the game. Volleyball games are based on the number of sets won, so it would be difficult to enforce a time limit. Not to mention that a time limit would severely reduce the integrity of the game. In most cases, a time limit would make it hard to declare a true winner of the game.
However, there have been discussions about introducing a time limit in games. For example, in the past, FVIB has discussed introducing one hour and 45 minutes of volleyball gameplay into matches. FIVB was hoping to make the game more attractive to television in the hopes of gaining more support from the public.
What is the Longest Volleyball Game in History?
In December 2011, members of the SVU volleyball team in The Netherlands played 63 matches straight, which lasted for over 85 hours!
The longest individual set ever played at the FIVB World Championships in 2006 between Brazil and Italy. This set lasted for an astonishing two hours and 37 minutes!
What Factors Make a Volleyball Game Shorter or Longer?
Many factors can affect the length of a volleyball game, including skill level, how many sets are necessary, timeouts, and substitutions. Most volleyball games are either three or five sets. The time needed for these sets will vary based on the skill level of the teams. If two high-caliber teams are playing, you can expect the game to last longer.
Some timeouts and substitutions will take up more time outside the actual gameplay. Each team has two timeouts per set, and 15 substitutions are allowed during each set.
Conclusion: How Long is a Volleyball Game?
Many variables go into determining the length of a volleyball game, but the most commonly accepted answer is anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes. This time to complete a volleyball match will depend on how many sets are necessary to determine a winner. In addition, the skill level between teams will also add to or decrease the overall time it takes to complete a game.
If you are playing beach volleyball, you can count on a shorter game, but if you have an indoor tournament coming up, you can plan to play volleyball the entire weekend.