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Calibration process for level of play

Levels of play ("beginner", "intermediate 1", "intermediate 2" and "advanced") are meant to manage expectations when setting up a game. While “beginners” hope to enjoy to learn to play and not to be shot down by the spike of an advanced player in a beginners event, “advanced” players may want to concentrate on new tactic moves rather than improving their basic shots.

While we've relied at the beginning purely on self-assessment, a lot of you gave feedback that it's not easy to know how to define your level of play when you don't initially know the group well. We had exchanges about this with many of you, and came up with a calibration system that we think both fair and simple, and that kicks in effective today:

1 - Please start by reading the definitions of "beginner", "intermediate 1", "Intermediate 2" and "advanced" levels that have been (re)published below.
2 - You are responsible for your initial self-assessment. Please be sensible about it. If in doubt, start with the lower level and consult an Admin.
3 - If, after three games at your estimated level your self-assessment is not challenged by an Admin, consider that it is validated and feel free to contact an Admin to get it officialized on your profile
4 - If you have any question or would like your level to be (re)evaluated, don’t hesitate to contact an Admin

Important remarks:
- Levels are not meant to be definitive. Many of you will improve your game with regular play/drills and earn to advance to the next level.
- Admins will always consult one or more other admins before confirming or challenging a self-assessment.

HKVB Ratings Guide


Intermediate 2

Advanced 1

Advanced 2

Intermediate 3

Players that do not fit yet fit in intermediate 1, but will enjoy learning volleyball in a relaxed atmosphere with a chance to meet new people.


Intermediate 1

Players that will have typically learnt to play in high school and seek to have fun and improve in games organized around 3-touch play. Intermediate 1 players can:

  • play the ball three times with a minimum of consistency (not just get rid of it as fast as possible),

  • serve the ball from the back line,

  • play comfortably with middle-front setter,

  • set the ball (overhead and bump)

Players that have mastered the basic volleyball moves, seek to play competitive games with offensive and defensive phases and are not afraid to play a ball which was hit with power. Intermediate 2 players can:


  • bump the ball to the setter with accuracy
  • play comfortably with 2 dedicated setters in a 4-2 system
  • set the ball well enough for spiking
  • spike with either power or top spin
  • dig or block
  • serve the ball overhead consistently from the back line
  • control their balance while jumping at the net and are safety-aware
  • play 2 on 2 beach games with 3-touch play including offensive and defensive phases

Players that have mastered the basic volleyball moves, seek to play more competitive games. Intermediate 3 players are:

  • Intermediate 2 players with at least one volleyball skill level or natural advantage at an advanced level of play

  • a more complete interpretation is that this level are for players generally playing at Intermediate 2 level but who have 1 skill at an advanced level. This can be defense, blocking, spiking or setting. Even though Intermediate 3 players do not have all-around skills like advanced players, their ability with their one advanced skill allows them to make the difference in a match playing in their best position.

  • Players at this level are often considered to be the prime candidates for ADV1 ratings.

Players who seek to play intensive games built around offensive strategies. They must be ready to play with highly competitive/passionate partners. Advanced players can:


  • do everything expected of an intermediate player consistently AND

  • play comfortably with the 5-1 and 6-2 systems

  • spike well, including in combination offense plays

  • block well, including safe double-blocking

  • defend well

  • set cleanly (no excessive rotations)

  • serve with power and/or spin and/or placement

  • play intensive 2 on 2 beach games with offensive and defensive strategies and an excellent defensive coverage of the court

Players who combine mastering all of the above and exceptional physical abilities, and who are willing to play with highly competitive/passionate partners.

Advanced 2 players will usually have a specialized role (setter, spiker, middle blocker, libero etc...) and would have typically played or have been playing in a club.

  • Advanced 2 players can:
  • Spike with "scary" power, and often around if not above the block
  • Consistently run combination offense with successful outcome (= a kill !)
  • Defend with exceptional coverage of the court and reflexes, including pancakes and dives.
  • Block with demoralizing reach over the net
  • Consistently set for combination offense with the ability to hide their intention to the adverse block
  • Serve aces

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