How Long Is A Volleyball Game [High School, College, Beach]

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

A volleyball game can be difficult to predict in terms of time. It is because there are a lot more variables involved in scoring and winning, rather than strict time limits like in soccer, basketball, or football.

Volleyball is now a more interesting and dynamic game, as anyone can score if they put in the effort. 

It would still be good to have a definitive answer…

How long does a volleyball match last? Based on the amount of sets played, a volleyball game usually lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. It takes an average of an hour to complete a best of three matches, while a best of five matches may take up to two hours. A beach volleyball game lasts 45 minutes on average due to its different timing.

Each set is estimated to last between 20 and 25 minutes. 

Within a single match, this can vary wildly between short and long periods. Whether you are planning to watch or book volleyball matches, always estimate high. It’s no secret that volleyball players enjoy subverting expectations.

I will discuss the following topics in this article:

  • Volleyball time factors
  • Match lengths between high school and college
  • Questions that are frequently asked

Volleyball Game Longer or Shorter: Length Factors

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

Many factors can affect the duration of a volleyball match, any of which can lengthen or shorten it considerably. 

Listed below are some of the most common.

1. Number of Sets

Volleyball games are primarily determined by the number of sets played. 

In a tournament or other match, winning sets efficiently can make a big difference in a team’s future performance. The fewer sets played, the less time both teams spend on the court.

It is common for middle school and high school teams to compete in a best-of-three. Each team must win two out of three games to win the match. 

The shortest match may be finished in around 40 minutes if each set takes about 20 or 25 minutes. It would take closer to an hour to play a tiebreak set, and even more to play a best-of-five set.

It doesn’t end there, though. 

Normally a volleyball set is won by two points, but in a back-and-forth match the points can exceed 25. This adds to the athletic drama and competition but also extends the game’s length.

It is amazing to think that a set in 1979 lasted to 87-85 before it was over. It was a result of volleyball’s old rules, which only allowed teams to score on their own serves, and eventually resulted in a revision of the entire system to prevent it from happening again.

Generally speaking, volleyball games involve a large number of sets with wildly varying set times within each set. In order to avoid this, always overestimate the amount of time it will take to plan and book an event!

2. Timestops

A volleyball game’s duration is also determined by timestops. These events cause the time to stop or play to be suspended. A timeout refers to a business break, a substitute, or an injury (emergency) timeout.

There can be a lot of timesteps, even though they are usually very brief. 

It is possible for each team to use two timeouts and six substitutions per set, and a clever coach can use these opportunities to stall the game, play with his team, and extend their lead or make a comeback. As a result, the set is extended by several minutes.

The use of technical timeouts is also a part of professional play. 

In a set, a team takes an automatic timeout when it reaches the eighth and sixteenth points. They last for only 30 seconds and are more of a way to catch players’ breath than a true stoppage of play.

Breaks and timeouts for emergencies are totally different. 

Depending on the situation, these can last from five minutes to five hours. The length of a match can also be affected by factors like injury on the court, fire in the building, and weather conditions.

3. Beach vs Indoor

We’ve discussed sets before, and indoor volleyball matches are either best of three or best of five. There is always a best of three in beach volleyball. The final tiebreaker is also set to 15 instead of 25, with the sets being played to 21 instead of 25.

Moving around on the sand is exhausting enough, but playing best of five matches with only two teams is even more so. In order to make beach sets more enjoyable, more intense, and more competitive, they are shortened and limited to three sets.

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How Long Is A High School Volleyball Game?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

Volleyball games typically last around an hour at high schools. The duration of varsity matches can range between an hour and a half to two hours.

JV and varsity teams have different lengths, which is mostly explained by the differences in skill levels. 

Typically, JV (or freshman) teams will play the best of three games while varsity teams will usually play the best of five games. 

As a result, their rate of return and higher level of play extend the duration of the game.

How Long Is A College Volleyball Game?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

Most college/university volleyball games last about 90 minutes. There is also no rule that says matches have to end within the first hour, but it is not uncommon for matches to last longer than two hours at high levels of competition.

There is a great disparity in ability at this level, making it unique. 

In contrast to professionals, some players who join collegiate teams will have never played before. Similar offensive and defensive abilities are possessed by players who compete regularly at a national level. 

Match length at any level is determined to a great extent by the ability gap between teams and is as much a function of division level as it is of individual capability.

In addition to being unpredictable, this level is quite enjoyable and entertaining. 

Furthermore, for many of these student-athletes, this will be their last volleyball season, giving their teams additional motivation. 

See some fantastic volleyball while you cheer for your local collegiate team.

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How Long Is A Beach Volleyball Game?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

In general, a beach volleyball match lasts about 45 minutes. The reason for this is the lower set cap and the lower amount of points needed as compared to indoor (best of three).

At lower levels, beach players can play up to five games per day a day, while indoor teams usually only play two or three games a day.

It’s hard to beat the fast-paced nature of beach volleyball. Take part in a local tournament or watch one to get some vitamin D and have a good time. You can’t beat a face-to-face conversation.

How Long Do Volleyball Tournaments Last?

How Long Is A Volleyball Game

A volleyball tournament can be classified as endurance or progression in two ways. 

Teams typically play 2-4 matches over two days during endurance types, which take place over a single weekend. As teams are eliminated, the tournament lasts 10 to 12 hours on the second day.

The progression tournament takes place over a series of weeks or even months. There is usually one (or two) matches per team per day, and teams travel to their opponents instead of playing at a tournament venue. It usually takes teams about eight hours to get to the quarter- or semi-final stage of a tournament.

The progression-style tournament requires more planning and time in the long run. As a result, professional and university events usually use them, whereas high school and club events use endurance events.

The most important takeaway is:

  • Tournament progression – 4-5 single matches + 8-hour venue day.
  • One weekend of endurance racing lasting 10-12 hours a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Is A Volleyball Set?

Typically, a volleyball set lasts 20 to 25 minutes indoors. Nonetheless, matches can be as long as 30 minutes when two teams are evenly matched or if there is a heated back-and-forth battle taking place. In a best of five, some matches can last over two hours.

What Is The Longest Game In Volleyball History?

As of November 2021, Allianz Milano and Top Volley Cisterna played the longest volleyball match in league history, lasting a total of 2 hours and 55 minutes. In the Italian Cup, the previous record was set in 2020 by one minute. Cisterna won the match 3-2.

What is the Longest Volleyball Competition?

A team of Netherlands SVU volleyball players achieved the longest indoor volleyball marathon in 2011 at Uilenstede in Amselveen, Netherlands, lasting 85 hours. On completion of 63 continuous matches, the competing teams scored 14,635 points, marking 338 individual sets.

What Is The Longest Set In Volleyball History?

A volleyball set that lasted 87-85 points was recorded in 1979. It was caused by existing rules that would only allow a team to score on their own serve, which led to the revision of the entire system in order to avoid such an occurrence in the future.

What Is The Shortest Set In Volleyball History?

A short set in volleyball history is hard to pinpoint, but it might be the first set, which was played between Russia and Algeria during the FIVB Women’s World Cup 2015, which was held in Japan. Just over twelve minutes were devoted to the set, which ended in a 25-5 win for Russia. Algeria had previously held this record against China in the same tournament.


So, in conclusion, volleyball games last for different amounts of time depending on the types of volleyball, levels of play, and competition rules. There are many factors that determine the length of a game, including timeouts, technical timeouts, and sets.

In order to maximize their chances of success, players should conserve energy, manage timeouts efficiently, and adapt to different game lengths.

Moreover, you can read the volleyball shoes guide here.

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