What Is a Foot Fault in Volleyball?

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Volleyball is no exception to the numerous rules that limit and regulate the gameplay of athletes. If you are new to this sport, you may be wondering “what is a foot fault in volleyball?” and the rules related to it.

What Is a Foot Fault in Volleyball?

In volleyball, a foot fault occurs when a player steps on an illegal area of the court, gaining an unfair advantage over the opponent. For example, the server cannot step over the serving line; if he does, it will be considered a foot fault.

Female player playing beach volleyball

Furthermore, stepping on or above the centerline might be considered a foot fault. This is due to the fact that their feet might interfere with the opponent’s play, giving them an illegal advantage. If a player violates this rule, he loses the point as well as the right to serve.

For example, if one of your teammates places their foot above the centerline and it restricts the opponent from jumping comfortably, this is called a fault. After all, this is seen as a safety measure to keep the game balanced and as injury-free as possible.

What Are the Most Common Foot Faults?

One of the most common faults involving the feet is when a front-row player crosses the centerline and touches the opponent. This could be immediately considered a fault (and even a code of conduct fault) since you might be interfering with your opponent’s plays.

Furthermore, this rule applies even if you do not make contact with your opponent; if your foot enters your opponent’s space, it will be called a fault. This reduces the number of injuries per game by preventing as many falls, trips, and collisions as possible.

Lastly, another common fault is when the server touches the serving line during, or after the serve. Since he would be closer to the net, this would grant him an unfair advantage that would affect the gameplay.

Can My Feet Go Over the Centerline?

Although crossing your foot above the center line is usually considered a technical foul, there are specific occasions when you can do it without penalty. In basic terms, you can step on, or over the centerline if you are not obstructing the opponent’s movements.

Female player performing a serve

These circumstances will help you see it more clearly.

  • If a player is ready to spike and his knee briefly passes over the line, it is a legal move unless it interferes with the opponent.
  • If a player is ready to block and part of his foot is crossing the line, the movement is legal (as long as it is just half and it does not interfere with the opponent’s attack).
  • If a player attempts to dig a volleyball and part of his foot crosses the line, the action is allowed as long as he does not completely cross the line with this foot.

Other Volleyball Faults

There are many other rules in volleyball that you need to be aware of in order to grow as a player. On top of that, learning them will allow you to improve your understanding of the game, which could highly influence your performance.

Game Delay Fault

A “delay penalty” would be applied if you or one of your teammates intentionally delayed the game. Although this can be sanctioned with a warning at first, repeated infractions can result in a point and a serve for the opposing side.

Illegal Substitutions Fault

When a team makes a substitution, the player who leaves can only return by swapping places with the teammate that replaced him in the first place. For example, let’s say that ‘’Player A’’ is playing in a left-hitter position, and ‘’Player B’’ is going to substitute him.

In the next set, ‘’Player B’’ can only be substituted for ‘’Player A’’, allowing him to go back and play in the left hitter position. This means that the coach needs to be highly aware of the positions; if the fails to do this, the team may suffer an “illegal substitution fault.”

This would give the opposing team a point as well as possession of the ball.

People at the beach playing volleyball

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about feet in volleyball:

Can You Legally Touch the Ball With Your Foot?

Yes, you can legally touch the volleyball with your foot. In fact, you can touch the ball with any part of your body, as long as you don’t grab, nor lift it.

Can You Serve the Volleyball With Your Foot?

No, you cannot serve the volleyball with your foot. Although you can touch the ball with any part of your body, you are only allowed to serve with your hands. If you fail to do so, you will lose the point and the right to serve.


Volleyball requires you to be totally aware of your legs and feet, not just your arms and hands. After all, you must be able to efficiently position yourself in order to minimize faults while also completing your approaches correctly.

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.