Volleyball Passing Errors

Within the volleyball rulebook, there are several errors related to passing, attacking, and defending. Read on to learn more about the various passing errors in volleyball, including how they are classified for record-keeping purposes.

What is a Passing Error in Volleyball?

A passing error is when a player makes a mistake during the play after the serve has been received. A passing or reception error occurs when a player fails to pass the ball or continue the play, leading to the serving or attacking team winning the point. The other main kind of error is a reception error, which occurs when a player fails to pass the ball properly on serve.

Passing Faults

The main types of passing faults are:

Assisted Hit

Assisted hits occur when a player takes support from a teammate, opponent, or structure to hit the ball while in the playing area. Structures include the net, poles, and any other object in the playing area. If a player performs an assisted hit, their team will lose the point.

Double Contact

Double contact occurs when the same player makes consecutive contact with the ball without another player hitting the ball. However, if a player hits the ball and either a teammate or opponent contacts it, the original player is allowed to hit the ball a second time. Double contact will result in a loss of the point.

Four Hits

A team cannot hit the ball more than three consecutive times. On the fourth hit (without the other team getting a hit in between), they will be called for a fault and lose the point. Just as with the two-hit maximum for individual players, there is no maximum number of hits if the opposing team is able to hit the ball at least every fourth hit.


Catches occur when the ball is caught and/or thrown by a player. A catch does not rebound from the hit. The aim of volleyball is to keep the ball moving until one side is unable to hit the ball back or it goes out of bounds, so catches go against the spirit of the game.

Player Errors vs. Team Errors

Within these errors, there are two types of errors that are recorded in game statistics: a player error or a team error. A player error occurs when the ball hits the floor, a player makes a bad pass that results in the ball hitting the floor, or if the player makes a ball handling error such as a lift or a double. A team error occurs when the ball hits the floor between two players, or the receiving team is out of rotation meaning that the players are not in the right position on the court.

Tracking Passing Errors

When keeping track of statistics, it is important that every aced serve or successful hit from one team has a corresponding reception error for the other team. Statisticians must keep track of who was responsible for the passing error in order to accurately write down statistics. If it is hard to determine who made the error, they can count the error as a team error rather than as one player.

Ball Handling Errors

Ball handling errors can occur during the serve, when receiving, passing, or hitting the ball over the net. When ball handling errors occur from a player passing the ball, they count as passing errors.

Bad Passes

A bad pass occurs when a player comes into contact with the ball and the pass that occurs cannot be kept in play by the other players. This is also called a shanked pass. This can happen from a passer having improper form or from not being in the right position to pass the ball. A shanked pass will count as a reception error or a passing error on the recorded game statistics, depending on when the pass occurs.

Another pass that counts as a bad pass is an overpass. While this is not kept track of statistically, an overpass is considered a bad pass because the ball goes back over the net, allowing the other team the chance for another hit.


What are passing errors in volleyball?

Passing errors in volleyball are illegal actions made by players attempting to play the ball. The four main passing errors are double hits, four hits, assisted hits, and catches. If any of these errors are committed by a player or team, they will lose the point.