Can You Touch The Net In Volleyball?

Can You Touch The Net In Volleyball?

As volleyball regulations continue to evolve, especially regarding rules concerning players near the net, it might take time to determine the exact rules when making contact with the net.

In indoor and outdoor volleyball, it is not allowed to make contact with the net during an action involving playing the ball or if such communication interferes with the game.

Later on, we will also provide a clear explanation of what is meant by “during the action of playing the ball.”

So Can You Touch The Net In Volleyball?

In certain situations, touching the net is permissible, which means that as a player, you need to understand precisely when it is acceptable or not to make contact with the net to fulfill your responsibility to your team.

This set of rules applies to both NCAA and FIVB competitions. At the conclusion of this article, we have provided links to the official rulebooks.

Knowing When it is Appropriate to Touch the Net in Volleyball

Can You Touch The Net In Volleyball?
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In volleyball, there are instances where touching the net is allowed during a rally, as well as situations where doing so will result in your team losing a point…

We’ll begin by addressing indoor volleyball and then discuss outdoor volleyball towards the end of this article.

When is it not allowed to touch the net in volleyball?

Volleyball Net Touch You are not permitted to touch the net between the antennae while performing an action involving playing the ball. This phrase broadly encompasses any attempt to touch the volleyball (such as digging, setting, spiking, or blocking) and acts like taking off during a jump or landing after a jump.

Additionally, if you contact the net outside the antennae, use the net, ropes, referee stand, or post for support. It will also be considered a violation.

USAV also adds clarification here, stating:

“Any player who is close to the ball as it is being played, and who is also attempting to play the ball, is considered to be in the action of playing the ball, even if no physical contact is made with it.”

A prime example is when two blockers attempt to block or swat the ball; If one person hits the ball and the other person hits the net, it is a fault. Here’s an example:

When Can Volleyball Players Touch The Net?

In several instances, contact with the net is allowed during a volleyball game…

1. Contacting the net but not during the action of playing the ball…

This refers to when the ball unintentionally hits the net.

As a middle blocker, you need to anticipate and block the ball set to the outside hitter. As you turn to cover the spiker, you inadvertently brush against the net, but this doesn’t affect the play…

In such cases, there is no violation.

However, if your contact with the net causes it to move and disrupt the play, it would be considered a violation.

2. If the ball is driven into the net and touches an opponent…

If you are blocking and your opponent hits the ball into the net with force, resulting in the net touching you or your arm, this is not considered a net touch, and the game continues.

3. Contacting the net outside of the antenna…

In volleyball, touching the net is only allowed if the contact occurs outside the antenna, doesn’t interfere with play, and isn’t used for support.

A skilled call by the referee demonstrates their thorough understanding of the rules.

The game proceeded as the player made contact with the net outside the antenna and did not disrupt play.

Is it allowed for your hair to touch the net during a volleyball game?

While neither the FIVB nor NCAA rulebooks explicitly address whether hair touching the net is a violation during ball play. Most referees do not consider net violations if a player’s hair or jersey incidentally touches the net.

Regardless of the force of the contact between your hair or clothing and the net, it is unlikely that such communication would significantly impact the game.

If your hair gets entangled in the net to the extent that it causes noticeable net movement, it would be considered a violation; however, these instances are rare.

What happens if you touch the net during a volleyball game?

If a player touches the net in a prohibited situation, the referee will signal a net touch violation, and the opposing team will receive the point.

What if both you and an opponent on the other side of the net touch the net illegally simultaneously? In this case, the referee will call for replaying the point.

Why We Have Net Violations In Volleyball

Net touch rules in volleyball serve two primary purposes: safety and fairness.

Many younger volleyball players who may not have complete grip over their movements often jump too close to the net, sometimes even landing on or jumping into the net, which can be hazardous.

The phrase “during an action of playing the ball” includes any jumping motion that requires a safe landing without net contact to discourage risky actions near the net.

Even if you jump to spike the ball, as long as it crosses the net before you land, it counts as a point.

The other rationale pertains to fairness.

You gain an unfair advantage if you pull the net down while spiking the ball.

Ascertaining whether a net touch confers an advantage can be difficult in many instances; hence the blanket rule now categorizes all net touches as either unsafe or as creating an unfair advantage.

History Of The Net Touch Rule

Rules related to net touches have undergone some changes…

If a player touches the net, it is only a fault if it interferes with play, according to the 2010 rule.

The critical distinction here is that you could be spiking the ball, touching the net, and not really gaining an unfair advantage or disrupting play, which is acceptable.

However, this approach relied heavily on referees’ discretion, often leading to disputes.

The rule was changed to consider any net touch during play illegal, regardless of its impact.

This change significantly reduced the ambiguity surrounding decisions that could go either way.

Important Related Rules

If you are curious about net touch violations, several closely related rules are worth noting.

One significant rule pertains to “encroachment” or crossing the center line on the court.

You can cross the center line as long as a part of your foot (or hand) remains in contact with the center line.

Fully crossing the center line constitutes a center line violation.

Volleyball Center Line Violation I apologize for the crude graphic design. The idea is clear!

Interfering with opponents is also prohibited – for example, if most of your foot crosses the center line (but not entirely) and you accidentally trip an opposing player, this is considered interference.

For example:

This is a clear reaching over fault.

The Bulgarian player contacts the ball within the opponents space without the ball coming from an opponent’s strike. A player can only contact the ball in the opponents space if the opponent has executed an strike (smash, tip, bump, etc.).

In this case the opponent has blocked the ball (which is not an strike) and therefore the Bulgarian player cannot contact the ball in the opponent’s space. Moreover the contact is not a blocking action since he clearly plays the ball instead of only intercepting it.

Therefore his action is an strike. A player can never strike the ball in the opponents space which also results in a fault on the team on the left.

Additionally, you can cross under the net onto the opposing team’s side of the court if you remain outside the court boundaries (i.e., outside the antennae) and your actions don’t hinder your opponents.

Players often make such maneuvers when trying to save a ball…

This play is entirely legal, as the player carefully crossed under the net while staying within the court’s bounds.

Is it allowed to touch the net during a game of outdoor volleyball?

Currently, players in outdoor volleyball are not allowed to touch the net while actively playing the ball, just like in indoor volleyball.

However, before 2014, outdoor volleyball rules were slightly different…

Please avoid touching the tape at the top of the net or the antenna above. However, there are now more rules.

Contact with the net or antenna below the tape was permitted even during active ball engagement, as long as it didn’t disrupt play.

The implementation of these changes was officially done in 2014.

Outdoor Volleyball Net Touch Rule Changes Whether on the sandy shores or indoors, the rules are now the same: avoid net contact while playing the ball!

It is possible to touch the net at times…

There exist certain exceptions to the rule of never touching the net. Players are at liberty to make contact with the net after a point has been scored and acknowledged by the referee. This permission extends until the next serve. After that, the net can no longer be touched until a subsequent whistle signals a player to serve.

Furthermore, players can touch elements outside the antenna without incurring penalties. These elements include a small piece of tape, the net, and the ropes. It is noteworthy that many people are unaware of this provision.

Tips for avoiding touching the net in volleyball?

Avoiding net touch errors, especially during blocking or striking maneuvers, is crucial to playing volleyball. A lapse in this regard can result in the loss of valuable points. Mitigating this risk demands adherence to a two-pronged strategy encompassing mindset and practice.

Emulating the philosophy of renowned investor Warren Buffet, who emphasized avoiding losses over making profits, players should prioritize avoiding errors that lead to a point loss. The analogy strikingly applies to volleyball—concentrate on preventing mistakes rather than merely chasing points.

In addition to having the right mindset, it is crucial to practice consistently. Techniques such as treating the net like an “electric fence” and maintaining a safe distance can significantly reduce the likelihood of net touch. Practice proper arm movement and give enough space during jumps to avoid accidental contact.

In summation, touching the net with any part of the body is unequivocally prohibited. While the ball can contact the net, this is different for players. Practicing vigilance and honing techniques is pivotal to circumventing net touch errors, ensuring a competitive edge, and minimizing the opposition’s point gains.

How common is net touch?

After extensive observation of numerous volleyball matches, it becomes evident that net touch errors, while occurring, are not the most prevalent mistakes. Serving and striking errors often take precedence in this aspect.

An attempt to quantify the average occurrences of net touch per volleyball match did not yield conclusive results.

However, personal observation of international volleyball games determined that the average net error per set stood at 1.2. It’s important to note that these observations were limited to professional matches, with the assumption that beginner games may exhibit higher error rates.

Which referee is responsible for the net error?

In the realm of volleyball officiating, multiple referees have distinct responsibilities. Regarding net touch errors, the central figure in the adjudication process is the main referee.

Positioned at the midpoint of the court, above the net, the main referee possesses the authority to make determinations regarding net touch violations. Challenging their decisions can result in punitive measures, including a yellow card.


The main lesson here is to refrain from touching the net while actively playing the ball.

Furthermore, you may touch the net when you are not participating in the play as long as it doesn’t interfere with the game.

As a general guideline, refrain from net contact and ensure you can execute safe landings when spiking to avoid resembling a fish caught in a net!


Both the NCAA and FIVB rulebooks agree with all the points discussed.

You can access the NCAA rulebook here and the FIVB rulebook here.

A “block touch” in volleyball is when a player jumps and deflects an opponent’s spiked ball at the net, altering its trajectory and disrupting the strike, often leading to a defensive advantage for the team.

Yes, players in volleyball can touch the ball using various parts of their body, such as hands, arms, and sometimes other body parts, to pass, set, or strike the ball as part of the game’s actions and strategies.

An illegal touch in volleyball happens when a player touches the ball more than three times on their side of the court or makes consecutive contact with any part of their body, except in specific situations like a block.

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About Herin Brandone

I have been playing volleyball for over 15 years. We created this website after struggling to find volleyball shoes that provide support, traction, and comfort for hours of play. My goal is to empower you with valuable insights, practical tips, and engaging content that will elevate your volleyball experience.

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