Volleyball Four Hits Violation

Volleyball Four Hits Violation

Volleyball is an intense team sport that consists of many rules in order to ensure a safe, fair game. Since volleyball relies on consistent interaction between two teams as they pass the ball back and forth, there are rules that enforce a particular kind of gameplay. If a team fails to follow these rules, they will commit an infraction, such as a four hits violation.


When a team deviates from or breaks the rules during a volleyball game, the team is issued a violation. There are many different categories of violations in volleyball, but a four hits violation is classified as a ball-handling error. In volleyball, a team member can make many technical errors, so it is important for every athlete to be aware of the rules and violations that may occur if they break them.

In volleyball, a team is only allowed to make contact with the ball a maximum of three times before passing it over the net to the opposing team. If a team touches the ball more than three times when it is on their side of the net, they will be issued a four hits violation. This violation is called a four hits violation because once a team makes contact with the volleyball for the fourth time, a referee will stop the gameplay before the team makes another hit and issue a violation.

The four hits violation ensures that each team can only contact the ball three times before passing it over to the opposing team to continue gameplay. It is important to know that an attempted block from a player does not count towards the total number of a team’s touches with the ball. If a team is issued a four hits violation during a game, the opposing team will get the point and the next serve.


In professional gameplay, if a referee calls a four hits violation, gameplay will be stopped, and the opposing team will gain a point. The opposing team that gains a point will also earn the serve since the other team committed a violation resulting in them winning the rally. In NCAA and youth matches, the consequences are the same.

Referee Signal

Volleyball Four Hits Violation Referee Signal

If a referee determines a team has made contact with the ball more than three times in one rally, they will blow their whistle and raise their hand. Referees will hold up four fingers above their head and stop gameplay. The four fingers make a clear signal which represents that a team has had four hits on the ball, and therefore the referee will issue the penalty for a four hits violation.


Example 1: After a team’s third contact with the ball, while passing on their side of the court, a player on the team hits the ball a fourth time and it goes into the net. A four hits violation has occurred, resulting in the loss of service and a point for the other team.

Example 2: Players on Team A pass the ball to one another in a rally and miscount. A player passes the ball to another player for another touch, rather than hitting it over the net, making it the fourth time players have made contact with the ball. The referee calls a four hits violation.

Example 3: A player goes to spike the ball over the net, but their contact with the ball is the fourth time a team player has made contact with it. A four hits violation has occurred.

Similar Violations to Four Hits Violation


What is a four hits violation in volleyball?

A four hits violation occurs when a team makes contact with the volleyball more than three times in one rally. A four hits violation is a ball-handling error, which means the violation is issued when a team does not follow a technical rule of volleyball. If three team members have each passed the ball once to one another, then the third team member passes the ball to a fourth member who hits it, the team has committed a four hits violation.

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

If a referee determines a team has committed a four hits violation in volleyball, the opposing team gains a point. In addition, since the team committed a violation, they also do not serve at the beginning of the next point, putting them at a disadvantage as they lose initial possession of the ball in a rally. A four hits violation may also take away a team’s momentum since gameplay is stopped when the referee calls the violation.