Official Volleyball Rules
Can You Ever Legally Reach Over?

Do you know what the official volleyball rules are for playing the ball on the opponents side of the net? 

Are there any situations when a player can reach over? 

Ball in the Vertical Plane - Official Volleyball Rules

You probably already know that once the ball breaks the vertical net plane (part of the ball is directly above the net) anyone can make a play on the ball. 

For example, if a ball is passed tight to the net, the opposing blocker can attack or block the ball once it enters the plane. 

Setter’s often get frustrated when the blocker interferes with the setter trying to make a play. Once the ball breaks the plane, it’s anyone’s ball, so this is smart play by the blocker. 

Rules of Volleyball

Attacking Over the Net - Official Volleyball Rules

We'’ve all seen a ball passed up tight to the net and the opposing player jumps up and attacks the ball straight down. This thunderous hit usually provokes ooos and ahhs from the crowd. Sometimes in this situation the player is hitting the ball when the entire ball is on the other side of the net. Technically, attacking the ball when the entire ball is on the other side of the net is illegal

There isn’'t any situation where a player can attack the ball when the ball is completely on the other side of the net. 

Do you know when you can legally reach over the net? 

Attacking when the ball is completely on the other side of the net is illegal. 

However, there are 4 situations in the official volleyball rules where you can legally block the ball on the opponent’s side of the court before the ball breaks the plane. 

The following are the 4 Situations you can legally reach over and block...

  1. After 3 contacts.
    After a team has made 3 hits, you can reach over the net and block the ball even if the ball isn't in the vertical plane or going to come across the net.

  2. After the ball is attacked.
    After a teams 1st or 2nd team hit, if, in the referee’s judgment, the ball is being attacked, the blocker can reach over and block the ball. 

  3. The ball is coming over and there isn't anyone there to make a play.
    After a teams 1st or 2nd team hit, if, in the referee's judgment, the ball is coming over the net without an opponent there able to make a play on the ball before it would have crossed the net, the blocker can block the ball. If, in the referee's judgment, a player could have made a play on the ball if the blocker doesn't touch it, the block is illegal.

  4. The ball isn't coming over and there won't be anyone to make a play.
    After a teams 1st or 2nd team hit, the ball is not going to come over the net and the opponent won’t be able to make a play on it, the blocker can reach over and block. If, in the referee's judgment, a player could possibly make a play on the ball if the blocker wouldn't have touched it, the block is illegal.

Volleyball Rules Related Pages

Basic Rules

Rules for the Libero

Rules for Game Interruptions

Top 4 Rules Everyone Should Know 

› Official Volleyball Rules

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