Can You Use Your Head in Volleyball?

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Sometimes the volleyball can be reached with other parts of your body that are not your arms and hands. As a result, many new players wonder whether you can use your head in volleyball or if it would be an illegal move to make. So, can you use your head in volleyball?

Can You Use Your Head in Volleyball?

According to the FIVB, volleyball players can legally use their heads to make contact with the ball. In fact, you can hit the ball with any part of your body and get a point (such as shoulders, chest, legs, and feet).

Group of people playing beach volleyball

However, there are rules that apply to these kinds of hits, which is why they are not so easy to execute. Knowing how these rules influence the game is essential, especially if you plan to use these moves. After all, they are options that should only be used in specific circumstances.

When Can You Use Your Head in Volleyball?

Most of the time, using your head in volleyball is not done purposely as this contact often occurs when a player is trying to block. For example, the opponent performs an attack and when you try to block it, the ball bounces on your head and goes to the opposite side of the net.

In this case, the game continues as normal and nobody loses points (unless the ball touches the ground on the opponent’s side of the net). Another example can be when the opponent’s striker spikes the ball and it hits one of your teammates’ heads. 

In this case, it would be harmful to your team as they had the last possession of the ball. This means that, if the ball goes out of the court after it bounces on your teammate’s head, you will lose the point.

Should You Use Your Head in Volleyball?

One of the things that you should always take into consideration is that your team only has three touches. This means that if you try to touch the volleyball with your head, it would be a wasted touch if you do it incorrectly. Worse than that, you could accidentally send it out of the court.

That being said, you should only utilize your head when you have no other option available. For example, if you are trying to block an attack and the only way of stopping the ball is by utilizing your head, then you should do it. However, if it’s not clear that you should use it, then you shouldn’t.

Women's team gaming inside of the court

In volleyball, you should always try to focus on your hands; if you need to use other parts of your body, you need to be certain that you cannot reach the ball with your arms first. In other words, using your head (shoulder, leg, or feet) should always be the last resort.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Your Head in Volleyball

To fully understand this move, you should know about the advantages and the downsides that it could bring. Learning them will allow you to make good decisions inside of the volleyball court, and, ultimately, allow you to grow as a player.

Advantages

  • When you are blocking, this can be a decisive move that could give you an advantage.
  • If you have good reflexes, you can save a difficult ball.
  • If you manage to correctly hit the ball with your head, it would be an unexpected maneuver that could deconcentrate your opponents.

Disadvantages

  • It has the potential to disorganize the entire team. If you fail to control the ball with your head (which is the most likely scenario) someone else must rapidly reach the ball and modify its direction. This may cause confusion among your teammates.
  • It is a very imprecise movement. Your head doesn’t have the same control over the ball that your hands have.
  • If you try to use your head on an upcoming ball, you could accidentally headbutt one of your teammates (which can also end up in an injury)
  • Since it is not precise, the ball will end up outside of the court most of the time.
Opposing team trying to contact the ball

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about using your head in volleyball:

Can You Use Your Head in Beach Volleyball?

Yes, you can use your head in beach volleyball in the same way as you can in indoor volleyball. The rules are also very similar; you can legally touch it, though it is not a good move to play.

Does Using Your Head Count as a Touch?

Yes, when you contact the ball with your head, it counts as a touch. Therefore, if you decide to use your head, you need to consider that this might be counter-productive for your team.

Conclusion

Even though using your head is legal, it should only be utilized as a last resort to block a ball. Performing it can highly affect your team, which is why you should always be cautious when doing it. If not, you could easily lose a lot of points.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.