Volleyball Hitting Rules

There are three (3) ways a ball can move in volleyball:

1. serving

2. passing

3. hitting

A player must have first possession of the ball to move it.

How Many Times Can One Team Hit The Ball

In volleyball, teams do not have possession for very long before giving it to the other team, because they must hit the ball over the net in three (3) hits or less.

A fourth hit results in a point for the other team.

An offensive possession typically means: a save, a set, and an attack.

How Many Times Can One Player Hit The Ball

The same player can’t hit the ball two (2) times in a row. If they do, they will get charged with a double hit foul.

A player may hit the ball twice in one (1) possession, but another player must touch the ball in between the two (2) hits.

How Many People Can Hit The Ball

One to three players can hit the ball simultaneously, but each player counts as a hit (unless they are blocking).


Because of the three hit rule, teams are constantly changing possession and going from offense to defense. While on defense, a team cannot move the ball. They must react to what offensive players do.


Teams can get possession of the ball through turnovers. When the opponent makes a mistake it results in a side out, which means a point and possession for the other team.

If a ball is hit out of bounds by a team, the other team gets the ball and a point.

Most of the game of volleyball involves player to ball contact, called a hit. There are many different kinds of hits on offense and defense to learn:

Hitting The Ball

There are hits on both offense and defense. Each time a player makes contact with the ball it is considered a hit.

Hits On Offense

There are sets, bumps, and attacks, which are hits made with the intention to score a point by hitting the ground on the other team’s side of the court. This is sometimes also called a spike, but we’ll be referring to it as an attack. The player performing an attack is called the attacker.

The serve is an offensive hit that gets each rally started.

Hits On Defense

Hits on defense include blocks, which are hits made in the front row, usually with a player’s arms straight up to stop an attack.

There are also digs: an effort to stop the ball from hitting the ground, usually by diving or bending down.

Rules Of Hitting

The rules of hitting in volleyball are as follows:

A player CAN:

  • hit the ball from anywhere on the court
  • hit the ball with any part of his body
  • hit overhand or underhand
  • hit the ball as hard or soft as he wants
  • go out of bounds to hit the ball
  • hit the ball with a teammate

A player can not catch the the ball or let it rest.

Goals Of Hitting

The goals of hitting in volleyball are as follows:

  • to get the ball over the net
  • to get the ball to hit the ground on the opponent’s court
  • to score a point
  • to save the ball
  • to pass the ball

Strategic Hits

Players can hit the ball in ways that can give them an advantage, both on offense and defense.

A dump / option is an offensive hit that is put over the net on the second hit, to catch the defense off guard.

An off-speed hit is an attack that’s hit with a little less power and a spin, to catch the defense off guard.

A line shot is an offensive hit aimed at the sideline so that the defense has to run to the sideline retrieve it.

A dink / tip is an attack hit very lightly, to catch the defense off guard.

A cut is an attack hit at a hard angle, to catch the defense off guard. Also known as a cross court shot.

A tool / wipe is an offensive hit aimed to hit a defensive player’s block so that it hits their arms and goes out-of-bounds.

An area / soft block is used on defense against a very strong hitter. The players hands are high and back, to keep the ball alive.