Volleyball Game Rules For Blocking

Volleyball Blocking by the Rules,
Learn What's Legal and What's Not

Volleyball Game Rules (Jaroslaw Popczyk)Volleyball Game Rules (Jaroslaw Popczyk)

Volleyball game rules are established so players, teams and coaches compete fairly in their quest to win a match. 

The object of the game is to score a series of points, one point at a time, in order to win a set.

Subsequently teams are required to win a number of predetermined sets usually two out of three in high school and three out  of five in college, so that one team wins the match.

Here are some volleyball game rules regarding blocking playing actions for players, parents and coaches just learning the game.

These are explained in a way that you easily learn, what is permitted, when blocking in volleyball.

To be clear, when I say  "playing actions" this describes how the basic skill of  blocking can legally beperformed.   

It's the referee and game officials job to see that each player follows these volleyball game rules while the ball is in play.

If these rules aren't followed, the referee gets to blow their whistle and award the ball to the opposing team and your team loses a point. 

By knowing what the game rules permit and don't permit you will gain confidence faster on the court because you know what you can and can't do.

You'll also be able to share this information with teammates who may not know this information and even better, you may be called on to correct a referee who may have made a mistake in making a particular call against your team. 

Basic Volleyball Game Rules for Blocking 

Blocking is the first line of defense.  Make sure that when you get to the front row, you know what you can do and what you can't do while blocking a ball.

USA Volleyball Game Rules For Blocking Explained

  • Only front row players in defense are allowed to block a volleyball. 

This usually occurs when a blocker steps over the center line and for some reason, often in transition, lands and steps outside of the sideline (but into the free zone) of the opponent's court.

Because the free zone is considered the playing area of the court, this is legal and one of the few times a volleyball player is permitted to step across the center court line during a rally

In some middle school competition around the country, players can't touch the net or step across the half court line at all.

Here are more volleyball game rules you should be aware of when you're playing defense in the front row.

Let's say you are blocking a hitter and the hitter's ball goes between your two hands because they were too wide and so you didnt stop the ball at the net.

When and if the ball continues into the back row and one of your teammates digs the ball, then the dig is the first of the three contacts that your team is allowed to have to get the ball back over the net in an attempt to score against the opposing team. 

Your block touch or block contact on the ball is not counted in the total touches allowed per team in a rally and since you didnt actually "block" the ball the rally can continue, as if you didnt touch the ball.

As long as the ball continues, into your court, or even outside of your court BUT is played by a teammate, then three more contacts are allowed for your team.

On the third contact, the ball has to go over the net

Guess what?

There is an instance in blocking when a player can touch the ball twice.

It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

When a front row player is blocking in volleyball and their blocking hands don't penetrate to the other side of the net, the ball is likely to trickle down on their side between their body and the net.

If they can get their blocking hands down fast enough to connect them together to pass the ball, without lifting the ball, then their team is allowed two more contacts, as long as they get the ball over on the second contact, they are okay.

If the blocker touches the ball as a block and then contacts it again as an underhand contact, her team has two more contacts to get the ball over the net to possibly score a point.

This action happens fast and if you don't know the rules, if you attempt to block a ball that ends up dribbling down in front of you, on your side, you may end up catching it because you don't realize that you can keep the ball in play by contacting it again as long as its a passing playing action.

That could cost you an important point if you are unfamiliar with the volleyball game rules.  

Blocking Violations According to USA Volleyball Rules

There are a couple of things you can't do when you're blocking in volleyball.

  • One of the rules prevents you from blocking an opposing team's player who's attempting to set a ball.

You can block someone who's hitting a ball, but not one who is setting the ball to another player on their team.

Can you block a serve?

Can the libero or backrow players block a ball.

  • No only front row players can block a ball, either singly, in pairs or triple block. 

Volleyball Blocking Rules: To Score Points You Can Do This

If you block a ball and it bounces out of bounds on your side or the opponent's side or without one of your diggers getting the ball up then its not a point for your team.

With rally scoring, where a point is rewarded for every successful winning play,  that would be a point for the opposing team because you were the last person to touch the ball before it hit the ground (In this case, out of bounds or in your own court.)

One more thing, if the ball is blocked and then hits the antenna, then the ball is considered out of bounds and both the ball and a point is awarded to the opposing team.

This is because the blocker is the last person to contact the ball before it went out of bounds so the blocking team loses the ball and the point.

Volleyball Rules: Where Do You Go From Here?

Good times! Where do you need to go now? Here are three options: 

  1. Learn more about the Basic Rules For Serving  
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the Volleyball Rules section in the drop down menu at the top of the page 

Recent Links: 

Rules of Volleyball

Rules for Dummies

Court Size

Court Dimensions

Court Lines

Net Height


Game Rules

Basic Rules

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