Is the Line in or Out in Volleyball?

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In professional and amateur volleyball, the line intervenes in a lot of plays. If you’re new to this sport, you might have seen a confusing play and asked yourself “is the line in or out in volleyball?” and how can you tell if it was or not.

Is the Line in or Out in Volleyball?

According to the FIVB, for the volleyball to be officially out, it needs to completely leave the court. Meaning that, if any part of the ball slightly touches the line (which is part of the court), it is considered in. 

Learning this rule can help you have a greater understanding of what happens during a game. However, to fully comprehend it, you need to dig deeper into the rules of volleyball and how they affect each match.

Blocking in volleyball

Who Decides Whether the Ball Was In or Out in Volleyball?

During a volleyball match, there could be a lot of discussions regarding whether a ball was in, or out of the court. The ones in charge to decide this are the line judges, who stand at the intersection of the endline and the sideline. 

When they observe that a volleyball went out of bounds, they perform a signal that allows the referee to judge the play accordingly. The same happens when the volleyball is in bounds. These are the signals that line judges use:

Line Judges Signals When the Ball Is Out of Bounds

When a volleyball lands out of the court, you will see the line judges raise their flags upwards and hold them until the referee makes his decision. When the referee sees this signal, he raises both of his hands with his palms facing inwards and holds them.

This means that the team that had the last possession of the ball, and in a side-out scoring rule, will lose the point, while the opposite team will receive one. For example, if your opponent hits the ball and it falls out of the court, you will receive one point along with the right to serve. 

Line Judges Signals When the Ball Is In Bounds

When the ball lands inside of the court, you will see the line judges point their flags straight towards the court and hold them until the referee makes his decision. When the referee sees this signal, he points his hand towards the side of the court where the ball has landed.

This means that the team that had the last possession of the ball just scored a point. For example, if your team performed an attack and the ball slightly touched the outside of the line, you will receive a point.

Women's team playing volleyball

When Is the Ball Considered Out of Bounds?

The lines are not the only factor that determines whether a ball should be considered out of bounds or not. Here are the situations where the volleyball is considered out of bounds:

  • If the ball hits the antenna, the net posts, or the cables that hold the net, it is considered to be out of bounds and a point is awarded to the opponent.
  • If the ball touches the referee’s chair, it is considered to be out of bounds and a point is awarded to the opponent.
  • If a ball touches the ceiling, it is immediately considered out of play and the point goes to the other team.

Rules Related to the Volleyball Court

The players need to follow a rulebook to correctly play a match of volleyball. If they accidentally break one of them, a penalty will be applied and their team will lose the point. Here are some rules related to the volleyball court:

  • A player should only cross the court centerline with their hand or their foot. If they cross their entire leg or arm, it is considered a fault.
  • A back-row player cannot block a ball that is near the net. This is considered an illegal move.
  • A back-row player can only attack the ball behind the 10-feet line. If they accidentally attack above this line, it is considered a violation of the rules.
  • A player should not attack nor block a hit that has not yet crossed the opponent’s side of the court. This is an illegal move and a penalty can be awarded.
  • A player cannot reach over the net and intervene in the opponent’s attack if they still haven’t used their three touches. This is considered a fault, and the opponent will be awarded a point.
Man playing beach volleyball

Related Questions

Can the Players Step on the Line?

Yes, the players can step over the lines and even go outside of the court. This is often done when trying to save a ball that is falling out of bounds. However, the server can not step over the line while serving as this is considered a violation of the rules.

Conclusion

The lines’ purpose is to be the border of the court and it is an important factor that all players should know about. After all, the best hitters often deceive the opponent by making them think the ball is landing out.

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.