How Many Hits Are Allowed per Side in Volleyball?

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Each touch in volleyball is crucial when it comes to the development of each team. If you are new to the rules of this sport, you might be curious about how many hits are allowed per side in volleyball, and how this can affect the match.

How Many Hits Are Allowed per Side in Volleyball?

Each volleyball team has a maximum of three hits per side. Any touch on the ball that contributes to the offensive development of the team is considered a hit. If players exceed the limit of hits, they will be penalized and the point will go to the opponent.

Understanding this rule is essential to correctly play a match of volleyball. If you want to fully comprehend it, you need to dig deep and learn about which moves are not considered a hit. Along with the rules related to the touches in volleyball.

Man trying to contact the volleyball

What Is Considered a Hit in Volleyball?

A lot of novice players might get confused about what is considered a hit.

A hit occurs when a player touches the ball intending to attack the opponent, meaning that not all contact with the ball is a hit. Here you can see one move that is not considered a hit.


Blocker’s objective is to touch the volleyball and reflect it to the opponent’s side of the court, however, they could fail sometimes. Instead of focusing on the failure, a good blocker will try to make the ball safely fall into his court.

If this happens, the ball might hit their arms and bounce. In this specific situation, it is not considered a hit since blocking is a defensive move. Though, if the defender tries to block a ball that is under the height of the net, it is considered a hit, not a block.

What Are the Rules Related to Hits in Volleyball?

To further understand the mechanics of touching in volleyball, you need to learn about other rules that influence hitting. Here are some rules related to hits in volleyball:

  • A player should not hit the ball twice in a row. This is a fault and the opponent will get the point.
  • If the volleyball hits the body of a player, it counts as a hit.
  • If two players contact the ball at the same time, it counts as two touches and neither of them can hit the ball again. If they do, they can lose the point.
Men's volleyball team playing
  • If two opposing players contact the ball at the same time near the net, it is considered a “joust”. This is a legal move that allows both teams to attack the ball simultaneously directly above the centerline. Whoever wins the joust, will likely get the point.
  • If a player makes extended contact with the ball, it is considered a “carry” and they can lose the point. This occurs when the player either grabs or throws the volleyball instead of bumping it. 
  • Players cannot reach over the net to intervene in the opponent’s passes. For instance, if a player tries to hit the volleyball before the opponents finish their three touches, it can be considered a fault.
  • Players cannot reach over the net to intervene in the opponent’s attack, they need to wait until the volleyball reaches their side of the net. For example, if the blocker doesn’t wait until the opponent hits the ball, it can be considered an illegal move.

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about hits in volleyball:

Are All Players Allowed to Hit the Ball?

Yes, however, while all players are allowed to hit the ball, not all of them are allowed to attack it. Some rules influence which players can touch the ball under certain situations. If they break them, their team can lose the point.

For example, players in the back row are only allowed to block and attack the ball from behind the ten-foot line. Furthermore, libero players are not allowed to serve, hit the ball over the net, or set the ball above the ten-foot line. 

Man in black attempting to hit the volleyball

What Happens if You Hit the Ball With Your Body?

Hitting can be done with any part of your body, which means that accidentally bumping the volleyball with your chest may be considered a hit. For example, if a player legally kicks the ball, it counts as touch and the team only has two more left.

Additionally, if the ball touches any part of your body before you hit it, it counts as a double touch and you will be penalized. For instance, if the ball slightly touches your shoulder before you bump it with your arms, it can be considered a double touch.


Even though teams only have three touches per side, some rules allow other kinds of touch on the volleyball. Learning them is essential to improve your understanding of the game and, ultimately, grow as a player.

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.