What Is a Free Ball in Volleyball?

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In volleyball, there are a lot of terms and techniques that need to be learned to fully understand the game. If you are a beginner or you are curious about the subject, you might be wondering what a free ball is in volleyball.

What Is a Free Ball in Volleyball?

In volleyball, a free ball is a very slow, ineffective ball that is sent toward the opponent. In other words, it is a ball so easy to receive that it is considered a free chance to attack. They frequently develop as a result of a poor attack or defense.

A man in a black t-shirt and shorts receiving a volleyball on a brown wooden court

For instance, if you send a very strong serve at your opponents and they manage to receive it, the ball may return to your court. If this occurs, the ball is deemed a free ball. After all, the opponents didn’t even have a chance to initiate an attack because the ball just returned after the serve.

This can also happen if you send an easy attack. If you fail to give power and direction to your spike, your attack will be comfortable to receive, enough to be considered a free ball. These situations leave your team in an uncomfortable position.

How to Avoid Giving Free Balls

Now that you understand what free balls are in volleyball, you must learn how to prevent giving them to your opponents. Therefore, you must improve your ability to receive, serve, and spike. This is because they are the movements that are most likely to result in free balls.

For instance, when receiving, you need to be able to bump the ball directly upward, not forward. If you fail to do this, the ball will simply return to sender, giving the opponent a comfortable ball. You must improve your position, posture, and technique to send it upward.

On top of that, if you want to be an elite volleyball player, you will need to bump the ball close to your setter. So, you will need to send it upwards and direct it to your setter. This is a difficult task, though if you manage to do it, you will be one step closer to becoming a professional player.

Tips to Improve Your Posture

In volleyball, free balls mostly occur due to receiving mistakes. Therefore, enhancing your posture is essential for all volleyball players, especially if you are a libero. When you master these techniques, you can keep the ball alive without giving a free ball.

  • Be sure the contact is made between your wrists and elbows
  • Make certain that your body is facing the net
  • When receiving a ball, place yourself behind it
  • Slightly bend your knees
  • Keep your chin down and your eyes looking at the ball
  • Try to stay put while bumping
  • Always use both arms to strike the ball. The ball might not travel in your intended direction if you only hit it with one
  • Keep your arms still while contacting the volleyball
  • Squeeze both wrists together and keep them from breaking apart
  • Keep your arms strong and fully extended
  • To aim, twist your shoulders, and don’t move your arms
A man in a black t-shirt and shorts trying to receive a volleyball on a beach volleyball

Tips to Improve Your Spikes

You must develop a stronger arm swing if you want to improve your spikes. Five categories are used to categorize them: straight, high bow and arrow, low bow and arrow, snap, and circular. Each unique characteristic enables hitters to strike the ball hard while avoiding conceding free balls.

You must attempt each one and consistently exercise them to practice this. This will enable you to decide which suits you the best. However, you should avoid overusing your shoulders and arms, as this could harm your muscles and joints.

In addition, your complete body must work in unison if you want to make a successful hit. This will enable you to quickly approach the ball, jump, and swing. Allowing you to deliver your opponents a ball that is almost impossible to return. Therefore, you must enhance your spatial awareness.

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about free balls in volleyball.

How Do You Get a Free Ball in Volleyball?

In volleyball, free balls occur after a mistake by the opponents. However, you can cause this by sending powerful services that are difficult to receive. This way, the opponents will have no option other than to give out free balls.

Can You Block a Free Ball in Volleyball?

Yes, as long as it is not a service, you can block a free ball in volleyball. However, blocking these types of balls is not the ideal option; instead, receiving them and planning a counterattack is preferable.

You will miss a great opportunity to score a point if you block this ball.


When it comes to volleyball, there are a lot of situations that need to be learned to become a better player. You must be prepared to take advantage of the situation and counterattack when a free ball occurs.

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.