Volleyball Centerline Violation

Volleyball Centerline Violation

In volleyball, it is occasionally permitted for players to penetrate the space under the net on the opponent’s side of the court, so long as this does not interfere with the opposing team’s ability to play. Under the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) rules, any crossing of the centerline that interferes with play is considered a centerline violation and can be penalized. 


Centerline violations occur when a player illegally crosses the central line of the volleyball court. The centerline lies directly under the net and extends the full width of the space, even out of bounds.

According to Rule 11 of the FIVB Rules, players who stand in the front zones of the volleyball court are permitted to touch the ball or pass their hands beyond the net onto the opponents’ side in certain special circumstances. This privilege is dependent on them not doing so before or during the opponent’s attack hit or moving fully outside their own playing space.

One type of centerline violation that can frequently occur in volleyball is crossing the centerline with the feet. While players are permitted to cross the centerline with their hands, so long as they do not interfere with play, Rule 11 states clearly that the full foot of a player cannot cross the centerline in any way. 

Partial crossing of the centerline with one’s feet is permitted, but some part of the foot must remain on or behind the centerline. The only instance in which crossing one’s feet fully over the centerline is permitted in volleyball is when the ball has gone out of play. In this instance, players are permitted to cross the centerline but must return to their sides of the court when play resumes.


The penalty for a centerline violation in volleyball is a side-out. A side-out refers to the two-fold penalty of losing the rally point and the right to serve the ball. If a player commits a centerline violation by placing their foot over the centerline or by passing their hands beyond the net and deliberately interfering with the opponents’ play, their team will lose a point and be forced to give up the serve to the opposing team. 

Referee Signal

Volleyball Centerline Violation Referee Signal

In volleyball, the signal for a centerline violation or any illegal penetration into the opponent’s court is performed by both the first and second refereesThe signal involves pointing to the centerline to indicate that a player has illegally crossed the boundary into their opponents’ court.


  • During an attack hit, a defending player jumps up to block but passes their hands beyond the net to stop the attack. This player is called for a violation.
  • During a rally, a defender runs to the net in anticipation but mistakenly places one foot too far forward and their entire foot comes down beyond the centerline. This player is called for a violation.
  • The toes of a player’s feet cross the centerline, but their heels remain behind it in their player space. The player is not guilty of a centerline violation, and play continues normally.  

Similar Violations to Centerline Violation


What is a centerline violation in volleyball?

In volleyball, a centerline violation occurs whenever a player illegally crosses their hands or feet over the centerline. Crossing one’s hands over the centerline is legal in most cases, except when it occurs before or during an opponent’s attack hit or when it interferes with the opposing team’s play. Fully crossing one or both feet over the centerline is an automatic centerline violation.

What are the consequences of being called for a centerline violation in volleyball?

In volleyball, the penalty for a centerline violation is a side-out. A side-out involves the team who committed the foul losing a point and the right to serve. Whenever a player crosses the centerline illegally, the opposing team will automatically gain a point and receive the ball in order to perform a serve.

What is the centerline in volleyball?

In volleyball, the centerline is the imaginary or painted line on the court that lies directly below and parallel to the net. The centerline divides the two halves of the volleyball court. The centerline not only covers the space directly below the net, but also beyond it, traveling the entire width of the court. It is illegal for a player to fully cross the centerline with their feet while the ball is in play.