What Is a Joust in Volleyball?

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In volleyball, whether you are a beginner or a pro, there is one move that you must learn. If you want to grow as a player, you should learn what is a joust in volleyball, how to win one when it occurs, and how to practice it.

What Is a Joust in Volleyball?

A joust occurs when at least two players from opposing teams make prolonged contact with the ball at the same time over the net. When this happens, each player tries to win the point by pushing the ball to the opposite side.

This contact should always be made directly above the net, if not, it could be considered a fault. Additionally, the ball must remain still between the hands of two players. Contact with the ball does not have to occur at the same time, although it must last for a few seconds.

Men players trying to contact the ball over the net

To have a much clearer understanding of this move, you need to learn how to win it, and the factors that influence it. This way you can improve your game and grow as a player.

How to Win a Joust

There are no clear steps on how to succeed in a joust, though, there are certain elements that can help you when performing it. Here you can see the key factors that influence winning a joust.

Physical Strength

The central part of your body will help you face your opponent in the joust.

Strong and well-worked abs will give you stability in the air after the jump. If you keep your abs tight you will be able to stabilize the ball when your adversary tries to push it.

Also, keeping your arms strong will allow you to maintain control of the ball. Extend them and lock your elbows and shoulders to balance your opponent’s strength.


You don’t win a joust by simply pushing the ball harder than your opponent. In addition to being strong, you have to be smart. It’s all about knowing what to do and when to do it. You only have a few seconds to win the point, and you should not get carried away by adrenaline.

During those few seconds, be aware of the space around your opponent and yourself, and look at their positioning and the way they approach. Then, find their weak spot and exploit it.

Sometimes the solution might be easier than you expect.


Beach volleyball players in game

It is impossible to win without having the appropriate technique, and jousting requires a great deal of it. Here are the techniques you need to improve to get better at jousting:

  • Sprinting. The faster you can reach the ball, the better.
  • Positioning. You are more likely to win the joust if you contact the ball in a good position.
  • Jumping. Combined with a good position, the jump can give you a great boost that allows you to push the ball harder.

How to Understand When a Joust Is Happening

A joust can only happen directly above the net. This implies you cannot joust if the ball still remains on the opponent’s side of the court; it would be considered an illegal move, and you would lose the point.

Therefore, you need to be highly aware of the position of the ball to correctly spot a joust. This is an important factor that could help you defend better; after all, if you simply let an unprotected ball get too close to the net, your opponent could easily hit it and score a point.

Additionally, you need to understand that losing the joust doesn’t necessarily mean losing the point.

When a joust is happening, all players on both sides of the court should square up and be prepared to dig and save the ball. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry too much about losing.

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about jousting in volleyball:

Is Jousting Considered a Carry in Volleyball?

According to the FIVB, if two opponents simultaneously hit the ball over the net and keep extended contact with it, it is considered a legal move, and the play should continue.

Men playing beach volleyball

This can generate confusion due to the fact that both players are maintaining extended touch with the ball, which would, in other conditions, be considered a carry. However, this is a very specific situation that requires particular rules.

What Happens if the Ball Goes Out of Bounds After Jousting?

When jousting happens, the player who wins is considered to have the last possession of the ball. That being said, if the ball goes out of bounds, whoever wins the joust, loses the point.

For example, if you and your opponent joust and the ball go out of bounds on your side of the net, you win the point. 


The joust is a vital play in volleyball, requiring power, intellect, and technique. However, you must know when to do it; after all, sometimes skipping a joust could be the best decision.

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.