Can You Go Under the Net in Volleyball?

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The objective of volleyball is to score points and often the player must maneuver under the net to get them. That is why many novice players face the question of whether you can go under the net in volleyball or not.

Can You Go Under the Net in Volleyball?

Yes, you can go under the net in volleyball. The Fédération Internacionale de Volleyball (FIVB) states that it is permitted to penetrate the opponent’s space under the net. However, there are specific rules that you must observe so that your move is not considered a fault.

Breaking these rules can result in a penalty for your team, meaning that you can lose the point. These restrictions can highly influence the match and learning them will allow you to improve your game.

Guy hitting volleyball

When Are You Not Allowed to Go Under the Net?

Your feet interfering with the opponent during a movementNot allowed
Your whole foot inside of the opponent’s courtNot allowed
Half of your foot inside of the opponent’s courtAllowed
Half of your knee inside of the opponent’s court while spikingAllowed

The only way a player cannot go under the net is when he interferes with the opponent’s actions. If he does, it can be considered an illegal move and he can lose the point. 

For example, if your opponent is about to spike a ball and your feet interfere with his jump, then you can be penalized. This is a centerline violation and it exists to avoid injuries between players, as well as to prevent reckless attempts to keep the ball in play.

To better comprehend this rule, you need to have a better understanding of how you can go under the net. These situations will allow you to have a clearer vision of it:

  • If a player is about to block an attack and half of his foot is under the net, it is considered a legal move (as long as it is not interfering with the opponent’s block)
  • If a player is about to spike and his knee goes under the net for a brief moment, it is considered a legal move unless it interferes with the opponent.
  • If the ball is out of play, the player can go under the net at any time.

What Are the Most Common Faults on the Net?

Due to their offensive and defensive duties, players in the front row are often involved in in-game actions that end in a foul.

A common fault is when a player touches the opponent before or during a hit.

Another common fault is interfering with the opponent’s actions by getting inside his space. This mistake is usually done by reaching over the net or invading his space under it. For that reason, players are also not allowed to have their entire foot on the opponent’s court.

All men playing volleyball

Lastly, players usually commit the error of touching or grabbing the net. This is considered an illegal move, especially if they are stabilizing themselves after a jump.  This can create an unfair advantage over the opponent and it is penalized with a point for the opposing team.

Other Volleyball Violations

When a player, or the team as a whole, violates any of the established rules, a violation or fault occurs. Each fault, leaving aside those produced by misconduct, is penalized with a point for the opposing team.

Game Delay Violation

Any intentional or unjustified delay by any team member becomes a “delay penalty”. At first, it will be sanctioned with a warning. The next time, it can be sanctioned as any other fault: a point and serve for the opposing team.

Net Violation

You should not have contact with the full length of the net during game action. A game action includes the impulse when jumping, the attempt or execution of a hit, and the landing.

Illegal Substitutions Violation

If you are part of the starting lineup, you may leave and re-enter the game only once during the set and occupy the same position you had before leaving. Likewise, a player may replace a player only once during the set. This one can only be replaced by the player for whom he entered. 

Failure to do so will result in an illegal substitution, which is punishable by a point for the opposing team and possession of the ball. Additionally, the substitutions will be rectified and the points scored by the penalized team will be canceled.

People playing beach volleyball

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about the net in volleyball:

What Happens if a Volleyball Serve Hits the Net and Goes Over?

According to the rules, a serve is legal as long as it goes into the opponent’s side of the court. Therefore, if the ball touches the top of the net and still falls into the opponent’s court, the serve is considered valid.

It would only be invalid if the server commits a serving violation, or if the ball fails to reach the opponent’s side of the court.

Can Your Hand Go Under the Net in Volleyball?

Yes, the hands can also go under the net in volleyball as long as they don’t go beyond the center line. In this case, the hands share the same rules as the feet, therefore, you cannot interfere with your opponent.

Can Your Head Go Under the Net in Volleyball?

No, your head cannot go under the net in volleyball. According to the rules, the only parts of the body that are allowed under the net are the arms and legs. Therefore, it would be illegal for your head to be under the net.


Even though you are allowed to go under the net with any part of your body, you need to be aware of your opponent. If you fail, your team can get penalized. Also, you could accidentally injure someone, which is why you need to perform this move carefully.

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.