Can the Ball Hit the Net in Volleyball?

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When it comes to the correct functioning of volleyball, the net rules are essential. If you’re new to this sport, you might be wondering if the ball can hit the net in volleyball and if so, what are the rules related to this.

Can the Ball Hit the Net in Volleyball?

According to FIVB rules, the volleyball can hit the net and still be in play if the team hasn’t utilized all of its three hits. Though, if the player also touches the net, it is considered an illegal move.

This rule could be a little tricky because it might be misleading in many scenarios.

You must learn the several rules and situations that influence the net in volleyball to gain a better understanding of this. This way, you will be able to grow as a player.

Girl hitting the ball over the net

Can You Save the Ball After It Hits the Net in Volleyball?

During a game of volleyball, players can make mistakes when attacking or passing the ball, causing it to hit the net. If this happens, the players can try to save the ball and try to get it through the net.

Though, the ball can only be legally saved under one situation: If the volleyball hits the net and the team still has, at least, one hit left. This way, the team can fix his mistake and send the ball into the opponent’s court.

On the other hand, if the team has no touches left, they cannot save the ball since it would be an illegal move. For example, if the hitter made the last touch on the ball with a spike, you won’t be able to save it if it hits the net.

Rules Related to the Net in Volleyball

For you to have a better understanding of the game, you need to learn all of the rules and situations that involve the net in volleyball. This will help you to improve your game and, ultimately, grow as a player. Here are the rules related to the net:

Players Cannot Touch the Net

During a match, no players are allowed to directly touch the net. If they fail to do it, they can lose the point and the right to serve. Though, not every time you touch the net will be considered a fault. Here you can see some situations that will help you understand this rule:

  • If the player hangs on the net to stabilize himself, it is considered an illegal move.
  • If the player touches the net while spiking or blocking a ball, it is considered a fault.
  • If the player touches the net and it doesn’t give him an advantage, it is not considered an illegal move
  • If the player touches the net and it doesn’t interfere with the opponent’s space, it is not a fault.
FaultNot Fault
The player grabs the net to avoid fallingThe player slightly touches the net when spiking
The player got too close to the net when blockingThe player touches the net when the ball is out of play
The player intentionally grabs the net to distract the opponentA game action causes the net to touch the player
The player touches the net after spikingThe player grazes the net with their legs
People playing beach volleyball

Players Cannot Reach Over the Net and Interfere With the Opponent

During a match, players are not allowed to reach into the opponent’s side of the court and interfere with the opponent’s plays. For example, if a player reaches over the net and it snatches the ball from the opponent, it is considered a fault.

On the other hand, if a player reaches over the net and it touches the opponent to interfere with his movement, it is considered a fault, and it could even be considered a violation of the rules of conduct of the team.

The Ball Cannot Hit the Antenna or Poles

If the volleyball hits the antenna, poles, sidebands, or the referee stand, it is considered to be out of bounds. This means that the team that had the last possession of the ball, loses the point.

Backrow Players Cannot Attack or Block the Ball Directly in Front of the Net 

The players positioned behind the ten-foot line (backrow) are not allowed to attack or block the ball directly in front of the net. If they do, the team can lose the point and the right to serve. 

However, they are permitted to attack behind the ten-foot line, and this is a common move used by defenders.

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the net in volleyball:

Boy playing volleyball

Can the Ball Hit the Net While Serving in Volleyball?

Yes, however, in the past the ball could not touch the net when making a serve, if it did, the team would lose the point. This rule changed between 2001 and 2002.

After this change, the ball was allowed to touch the net when making a serve. For example, if the volleyball touches the net and goes over to the opponent’s side of the court, it is considered a legal move and no sanction should be provided.

What Happens if the Ball Touches the Net and the Net Touches You?

If the ball hits the net, making the net touch you is a legal move and it won’t be sanctioned. This is one specific exception for when the net can touch a player. After all, it is not an intentional contact.

What Happens if the Net Falls During a Match?

If the volleyball net collapses during a match, the game is paused until the net is raised again. Additionally, if the net causes one side to lose or gain points, the points will get invalidated.


Since the net is such an important part of volleyball, knowing the rules around it is essential for all professional players. After all, you could lose a lot of points if you don’t know them.

Alfonso Andrade is an avid sportsman, growing up playing soccer and volleyball. He is a coach and sports analyst, studying the game to analyze performance and help create improvement.