Can You Block a Serve in Volleyball?

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In volleyball, blocking the ball happens throughout the game; however, you may notice that it doesn’t happen during serves. Because of this, you might wonder when blocks are allowed to happen and can you block a serve in volleyball? After all, blocking can be considered one of the most important winning factors in the game.

However, there are certain rules you need to follow when performing it.

Can You Block a Serve in Volleyball?

According to the official volleyball rules, you are not allowed to block or attack a serve. Blocking a serve is an illegal move to make, and it costs your team a point if executed. When a serve happens, you can only receive it and pass the ball to a teammate. 

However, it is also important to understand why this is such an important rule in volleyball. Knowing why this move is illegal allows me to dig deep into the game and its essence. Learning this could ultimately make you grow into a better player.

Blocking in volleyball

Why Can’t You Block a Serve in Volleyball?

You can’t block a serve in volleyball because it allows the game to be better and more dynamic.

There are many types of serving that would disappear if this rule didn’t exist. Instead of sending powerful serves, players might start sending slow and balloon-like serves, making it really easy for the opponent.

At a professional level, a strong and precise serve can be blocked with almost no effort, making it unfair for the serving team. If you choose to go for the alternative with a balloon-like serve, it would only increase the disadvantage as it is easy to receive.

The rules were made so every volleyball team has little to no advantage over the other. If you could block a serve in volleyball the game would be incredibly unbalanced. This means that whoever served would probably lose points. 

How Can You Legally Block In Volleyball?

Even though players can block the volleyball at any time after receiving the serve, there are many other factors that influence this move. Here are the rules that will allow you to block legally:

  • You can never touch the net while blocking.
  • Your arms and hands need to be above the net when blocking. If you fail to do this, it is considered a touch, not a block. Since your team can only touch the ball three times you cannot afford an extra touch, it could make you lose the point.
  • You cannot touch the ball before the opponent does. You have to let them strike the ball first, and then you can safely block it. If you fail to do this, you could lose the point.
  • Your hands and arms should reflect the ball, not grab it. Think of blocking as building a wall where the volleyball can bounce back. If you accidentally grab it or catch it, it could be considered “carrying” and you might lose the point.
  • If the ball goes outside of the court after blocking it, your opponents get the point.
  • If the ball touches the antenna after blocking it, your opponents get the point.

Related Questions

Learn more about this subject with these questions:

What Are the Types of Block?

There are three types of blocks in volleyball, and they are used in specific situations. The types of blocks are:

  • Single blocking: This is the classic and most used type. It involves a single player blocking the opponent’s attack.
  • Double blocking: This is when two players block the opponent’s attack. One of them needs to position themselves as the main blocker while the other one supports. This avoids any deflection of the ball and ensures the point.
  • Triple blocking: This is when three players block the opponent’s attack. It could be considered the most effective one against a strong striker. This allows the team to play very defensively.
Single blocking, double blocking, and triple blocking are the different types of blocking in volleyball

Who Can Block In Volleyball?

Not all the players on the volleyball court can block the ball. Only the players in the front row can perform that movement. If a player in the back row blocks an attack, his team will lose the point.

The libero cannot block the ball either. Even though this is a player that can move freely around the court, they have a lot of limitations. They’re a defense-only player, and if they try to block the ball, the point will go to the opponent.

Can I Send the Ball Back Directly After Receiving the Serve?

After receiving the serve, you can directly send the ball back to the opponent’s court. However, this might not be a good winning strategy.

If you do this, you are passively giving the ball back to your opponent. This could be considered a really bad play since now they can safely set up an offense against your team.


Like any other sport, you need to follow the rules to perform a move correctly, and blocking in volleyball is no exception. Even though players can’t block a serve, there are several other opportunities for blocks to happen throughout the game.

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.