Volleyball Foot Fault

Volleyball Foot Faults

In volleyball, foot faults can occur during any service attempt or during normal play. Whenever the designated ball-server steps out of the service zone or on the service line in the process of making a serve, they are considered to have committed a foot fault. Additionally, any player who accidentally or deliberately crosses their feet beneath the net and over the centerline into the opponents’ territory commits a foot fault.


There are two types of foot fault penalties in volleyball, which are judged whenever a player on one team steps beyond a boundary line with any part of their foot. The first form of foot fault is a foot fault committed during a serve. When serving the ball to the opposing team, the volleyball player who is positioned at the rear-right side of their team’s territory must step back into the service zone, just behind the end line, before serving the ball. During the serve, which typically involves stepping forward or jumping in order to strike the ball over the net, the server must remain in the service zone, and no part of their foot, even their toes, can touch or cross the end line. If a server accidentally touches or crosses the end line with their feet during a service, they will be called for a foot fault and receive a foul.

The second type of foot fault that can occur in volleyball is a foot fault over the centerline. This type of fault is typically committed by the front row of players on each team, those closest to the net. During play, any player whose foot crosses beneath the net commits a foot fault. A player’s feet are not permitted to cross the centerline between the two territories of the court, but sometimes, on accident, a player may cross the line with their feet while pursuing the ball or attempting to jump and block it from being passed over the net.


Foot fault penalties typically result in a single foul. Whenever a single foul is committed, a point is automatically awarded to the other team, as well as a side out. A side out indicates that because the opposing team has earned a point due to the foul, they will now be given the ball and the opportunity to serve to the other team. If two fouls by opposing teams are called simultaneously during a live ball, a replay is called for, and the rally begins again without awarding either team a point. If a double foul, including a foot fault, occurs when the ball is dead, both teams are assessed a penalty, and their players must rotate before play is resumed.

Referee Signal

volleyball foot fault referee signal

In volleyball, a foot fault is typically signaled by one of the line judges, referees who stand outside the court with flags and examine the movements of the players and ball for potential fouls. If a line judge spots a foot fault during service or play of the ball, they will raise the flag in their hand and wave it over their head while using their other arm to point towards the net antenna or the line where the foot fault occurred.


  • While serving the ball, Player 1, from Team A, takes a step forward in preparation to serve, but her foot accidentally crosses the end line, leaving the service zone. The whistle is blown, and the line judge signals a foot fault, giving Team B a point and turning the ball over to them.
  • While volleying the ball back and forth, Player 1, from Team A, and Player 2, from Team B, both jump in an attempt to push the ball over the net, with Player 2 attempting to block. In their attempts, both of their feet cross beneath the net and over the centerline. The line judges call a double foul, and the point is replayed.
  • After the ball is declared dead, Player 1 of Team A, and Player 2, of Team B both accidentally step over the centerline. The line judges call a foot fault, and as the ball was dead at the time, both teams are penalized and forced to rotate their players.

Similar Violations to Foot Fault

  • Double-Touching
  • Touching the Net
  • Reaching Over the Net to Contact the Ball
  • Serving Out of Rotation


What is a foot fault in volleyball?

In volleyball, a foot fault occurs whenever a player crosses a prohibited boundary with their feet. There are two types of foot faults in volleyball, service foot faults and centerline foot faults. Service foot faults occur when the player serving the ball accidentally or purposefully touches or crosses the end line with their foot while serving the ball. Centerline foot faults occur whenever a player on one team crosses their foot beneath the net and over the centerline into the other team’s territory.

What are the consequences of being called for a foot fault in volleyball?

A foot fault is a type of foul in volleyball. A single foul is issued if a server or player commits a foot fault while the ball is live, and the opposing team is automatically granted a point. A single foul also results in the opposing team receiving the ball to serve. If a double foul (a foul committed by both teams) occurs during a live ball, the rally is replayed without points being awarded. Finally, if a double foul occurs during a dead ball, both teams are penalized and must rotate their players.  

Can you step over the line while serving in volleyball?

In traditional volleyball rules, a server cannot step over the end line and out of the service zone while serving the ball. In most forms of volleyball, this is considered a foot fault and will be penalized by awarding a point to the other team. However, some volleyball leagues and private games do permit servers to step one foot over the end line during a serve, provided that they do not fully leave the serving zone. These rules are irregular but can be adopted to make playing the game easier for some players or depending on the measurements and space allowed in the court being used.