What Is the 10 Foot Line in Volleyball?

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On the volleyball court, there are several lines that set boundaries for players. If you are a new player, you might be wondering what is the 10-foot line in volleyball, and what are the rules related to it.

What Is the 10 Foot Line in Volleyball?

The ten-foot line in volleyball is the line that separates the front row players from the back row players, and it is located ten feet away from the net. This line also establishes the limit for back row players not to attack or block.

Players on the backline waiting for the ball

This boundary allows front-row players to attack, block, serve, and generally make contact with the ball in order to attack the opponent. On the other hand, it sets numerous restrictions on back row players and liberos. Therefore, digging deep into these limitations is essential.

Which Positions Play Above the 10 Foot Line?

Players above the ten feet line often have the goal of attacking and blocking, therefore, these positions should be covered with hitters and setters. This way, the team will be able to create good opportunities close to the net and score points.

When the opposing team has possession of the ball, hitters and setters must turn into blockers. If the hitter spikes the ball and the opponent saves it, he must immediately transition into a blocker to defend the oncoming opponent’s attack.

Which Positions Play in the Back Row?

Players below this line want to keep the ball from hitting the ground on their side of the court, so these positions should be filled with defensive specialists. The team can keep the ball alive and prevent the opposing team from scoring this way.

Players on the backline receiving the ball

Among these defensive specialists, one has a unique role: the libero. These players have many limitations on the court, however, they can freely roam the court and can sub in and out as many times as they want. Here you can see the limitations of a libero.

  • Liberos are not allowed to block, if they do, their team can be penalized and they will lose the point.
  • They are not allowed to set the ball in the front row.
  • They are not allowed to pass the ball to the setter while standing in the front row.
  • Liberos are not allowed to serve.
  • They cannot, no matter how they make contact with the ball, send it over the net. For example, if the libero sends the ball over the net after saving it, the team is penalized and loses the point.

Liberos Dos and Don’ts

Receive the opponent’s serveAttack the ball
Block the opponent’s spikesBlock the ball
Dig or pancake any difficult ballSend the ball over the net
Substitute yourself anytime the coach gives you the signalSet the ball in the front row

Rules Related to the 10 Foot Line

As I previously mentioned, there are a lot of rules regarding this line. If players break these rules, they can be sanctioned with a point for the opposing team and the potential loss of the right to serve. Here you can see some rules related to the ten-foot line.

Back Row Players Can Only Attack Behind the 10 Foot Line

Even though back row players are not allowed to attack above this line, they are still allowed to make offensive moves of the ball. This is possible if they contact the volleyball from the back row, this is often called the “back row attack”.

Further to that, keep in mind that only the take-off matters, which means that defenders can land in the front row after performing this attack. In fact, a great back-row attack will end up with a defender inside of the front row.

Back Row Players Cannot Block in the Front Row

The defensive specialists located in the back row are not allowed to block any attack while standing in the front row. After all, this would create an unfair advantage for your team, making the match incredibly unbalanced.

Players on the backline digging

For example, if the opposing hitter wanted to spike and your team attempted to block with more than three players (the three blockers in the front row plus one or two back row defenders), the opposing hitter would have no chance of scoring a point.

Therefore, if a back-row player attempts to block an attack close to the net, his team will be penalized with a point for the opposing team.

Related Questions

What Other Lines Are There Inside the Volleyball Court?

The volleyball court has several boundary lines that set certain limitations for players. Aside from the ten-foot line, the other lines are the baselines, sidelines, centerline, coach restriction line, and service line.

Why Is It Called the Ten Foot Line?

The ten-foot line is called like that because it is ten feet away from the net. This line establishes the area of the front row, therefore, what is left of the court is called the back row.

Can Setter Set From the Back Row?

Yes, if the setter is currently positioned in the back row, they can perform a set to any of their teammates. However, they are not allowed to block the ball, nor send the ball over the net.

On top of that, the setter can go to the front row and perform a set. Though, this doesn’t mean that the setter can block the ball or send it over; the rules still apply.


Knowing the boundaries of the volleyball court is essential; in this case, knowing the ten-foot line is critical for both offensive and defensive players. Furthermore, in order to progress as a player, the rules associated with this line must be deeply studied.

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.