Volleyball Rules and Regulations For The Spike

Official and unofficial volleyball rules for attacking a ball for points

Volleyball rules and regulations for the spike govern how an    "attack hit" which is any playing action, that is not a serve or is not a block,  that drives the ball into the opponent's court during a rally. 

There aren't many rules regarding the ways to attack, or not to

attack, a ball during a rally. 

An attack, is any playing action that drives the ball into

the opponent's court. That is, anything that is not a serve or is not a


So technically, that could include a kick, couldn't it? 

Of course, if you choose to hit the ball hard, after taking your

spike approach to the ball and jumping in the air to hit it, that's

called a spike.

Volleyball Rules and Regulations About The
High Speed Hard Attack Hit

Spiking the ball is a high speed attack option for a player who's

sending the third contact over the net and into the opponent's

court with the intent of scoring a point or sideout for their team. 

You are spiking the ball, in an attempt to generate enough

speed, power and force, so that the ball is not blocked by any of

the three defensive players at the net nor is it dug up by any of

the players in the back row on defense.

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You are purposefully trying to beat the block and the defense

with your high reach, hard paced, well placed, high

intensity, quick arm rotation attack hit. 

Go ahead!

Count how many adjectives I stuffed into that sentence!

Remember your attack hit happens after your setter or another

player has delivered the ball to you, high enough or fast enough

for you to, ideally, take a three step or four step spike approach

to hit it over the net.  

The Tip Attack

Volleyball rules and regulations state that you can use a soft

speed attack known as "the tip" to drive the ball into the

opposing team's court in an attempt to score a point, or during

a rally.  

The tip or tipping the ball, is done with the same spike approach

footwork to the ball, and the same arm swing.

Midway through your swing, you slow down your arm while

keeping your elbow high, to make contact with your fingertips

on the ball. 

Your goal is to place or push the ball over the block and in an

open space on the opponent's court in order to score a point or


When tipping the ball, you must make a clean contact, without

catching it or letting the ball come to a rest in the palm of your


Official USA volleyball rules and regulations state that if

you "catch" the ball, or "lift" the ball, or if the referee thinks the

ball has come to a complete stop while in your hand, he/she

will blow the whistle and award the ball to the opposing team. 

Also according to indoor volleyball rules and regulations the

playing action of an attack hit, whether high speed or slow, is

completed once the ball has crossed the plane of the net or a

player on the  opposing team has contacted the ball.

More Volleyball Rules and Regulations For Spiking

When you attack a ball, whether spiking tipping or off speed

hitting, you have to attack the ball from your side of the court.

So if you reach over and tip or hit a ball and your arm or elbow is

over the  net inside the opposing team's court, the referee would

blow the whistle and award the ball to the other team. 

How do you know what's "too far over" the net? 

Well, that's why the referee stand when an official stands on it,

lifts him/her high enough to see the action that takes place over

the top of the net.

This puts the head official closer to the action  so they can

see where hitters are contacting the ball over and above the top

of the net. 

Imagine there's an imaginary wall, that starts at the top of the

net and goes all the way up to the ceiling.

If you reached through the wall and contacted the ball while it

was on the opposing team's side ...the referee would blow the



Point and the ball are given to the other team. 

When you contact the ball, whether spiking or however, you

need to be on your side or...you can be right on top of the net,


But the minute, you reach over, expect to hear the whistle.   

There are specific volleyball rules and regulations regarding the

backrow attack. 

Remember, your setter, whether she is in the front row or back

row in the team's rotation,  can set anybody in the front row.

The front row hitters are all allowed to make a spike approach

and hit the ball at any height above the level of the net. 

Volleyball Rules and Regulations for Back Row Hitting

Everyone in the back row is allowed to do the same thing but:

  • To be clear if a hitter takes off from behind the ten foot line, hits the ball in the air into the opposing team's court and lands behind the ten foot line then... no problem. 
  • If a hitter takes off from behind the ten foot line, hits the ball in the air into the opposing team's court and lands in front of the ten foot line, then no problem, as long as she contacts the ball before her feet touch the ground. 
  • If a back row hitter attempts a spike approach and their toe or foot touches or crosses over the ten foot line during any part of the spike approach jump before contacting the ball...big problem. As a back row hitter, according to the official volleyball rules and regulations you cannot touch any part of the ten foot line, also known as the three meter line, when on your way up during your spike approach to hit the ball.  

A backrow hitter is allowed to cross over the ten foot line during a

rally and attack hit a ball as long as a part of the ball is below

the level of the net when they make contact.  

Lastly neither a front row or back row player can attack a serve

from the opposing team when the ball is inside the ten foot line

and higher than the top of the net.

Although its rarely seen, because its hard to do, you can hit a

serve back over the net if the ball is landing behind the ten foot


So, no one in serve receive can approach jump and spike or tip

a short serve that's about to land inside their ten foot line and is

higher than the top of the net. 

What are Spiking Violations According To Official Volleyball
Rules and Regulations?

Let's review what you cannot do according to the USA volleyball

rules and regulations about attacking a ball. 

  • You cannot hit or attack a ball if you find yourself on the opposing team's side. Whistle!! Hear that?
  • You cannot hit the ball out of bounds. Whistle blown.

  • If you're hitting from the backrow, you cannot attack hit a ball in front of the ten foot line, if the ball is above the top of the net. That would be the same as having four front row hitters which according to official volleyball rules and regulations is illegal. 
  • You cannot attack hit a serve, if the ball is in front of the ten foot line and above the top of the net.

Volleyball Rules and Regulations For Liberos Spiking A Ball

  • The libero is not allowed to attack hit a ball, if the ball, at the moment its being contacted, is completely above or higher than the top of the  net. 

In other words tall liberos can not jump and spike a ball and

send it over the net if they can contact the ball when its above

the top of the net.

Neither can short liberos who can jump high enough to contact

the ball when its above the net. 

Illegal! Whistle blown. 

  • The libero cannot be inside the ten foot line and use their hands to set a ball to a player who then uses a spike approach to contact the ball above the top of the net.

In other words, a libero who is inside the ten foot line can bump

set a player, who then approach jumps to hit it.

But a libero cannot pretend to be or take the place of a setter

and then overhand set the ball, like a setter would, using her

fingers to deliver the ball to a hitter who spikes it. 

See? That's all there is. That wasn't a super long list of volleyball rules

and regulations to remember about hitting, was it? 

Check out more information and volleyball rules in the pages below. 

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