Can you kick the ball in volleyball (1)

Have you ever wondered if you can kick the ball in volleyball? The short answer would be it depends. But to get the right answer, we need to look at the official rules that organizations have. There are always two sides to the story, one being ethical and the second using the legs as a skill. We will go through all the situations when you can/can’t kick the ball in volleyball and in which cases using your legs can even come in handy in volleyball!

Can you kick the ball in volleyball? Yes, you can while the ball is in play and if you do it unintentionally, however, if you do it intentionally out of anger, you can get penalized, either with getting yellow or even a red card-and you will look bad in front of the team!

When you should not kick the ball


It’s illegal to kick a serve in volleyball, no matter what league we look at. This can be also found in the serving rules by the FIVB rulebook: when serving, you have to make contact with a single hand. That specifically eliminates every other body part from the serve. Those rules apply also to beach volleyball.

Because of anger

Have you ever been so angry that you had to kick the ball or punch something? We’ve all been there, and though it sounds tempting, it is not recommended; I mean, in training, the player will make a bad impression in front of his/her teammates while in a match, the referee will probably give to a player a yellow or even a red card. Not worth it.

Reasons to not kick the ball intentionally

  1. The Player will look bad in front of the team. The coach as well as the teammates will be probably disappointed.
  2. In case the player kicked the ball on the tribune, at the end of the practice everyone has to look for that ball, which is a waste of time.
  3. The player can get penalized by the referee with a yellow or even a red card
  4. It shows that the player is mentally weak and cannot handle the anger

When you can kick the ball in volleyball


The most important part of the game where players should consider using their legs is defense. In defense, things are happening very fast, so sometimes it is just impossible to react with the hands; furthermore, kicking the ball could be the only solution to keep the ball in play. For example, the opponent’s middle blocker attacks the ball towards zone 5. The first tempo or quick attack is the fastest attack in volleyball, and positioning in defense play a crucial role in defense. If the ball is 1m away from the player, feet could be the only part of the body to keep the ball in play.

While in block

Many times can happen that ball that opponents hitter spiked into the block, roles down between the net and the blocker. While still being in the air, it is impossible to save these balls with hands, so using the legs would be the only solution in that situation. Some of the examples are included in the video down below.

Chasing the ball

I think this one is mostly used. When the ball is going towards tribune, bench, commercial banners behind the court, saving the ball by kicking it backward is usually the only way to keep it in play and continue with the rally. You can watch some amazing rallies where players, kept the ball in play using their legs. In my opinion, this kind of saves are also the most attractive and are great for highlight videos.

Playing the circle possession game for a warmup

I don’t know if you ever heard of that game, but many volleyball teams use it for a warmup either before training or a game. It is actually based on a football/soccer where 6-10 players stand in a circle formation with the 2 being in the center. Those around have to keep the ball in play with one kick available and the players in the middle have to try to deflect the ball. Great dynamic game for a warmup!

Should players train to kick the ball in volleyball

I never trained to kick the ball in practice, though I have to use it sometimes. It’s just so rare a moment in the volleyball game that it’s not worth losing time training. Players should focus rather on other aspects of a volleyball game. Probably the thing that helped me immensely was that as a kid I used to play a lot of football or soccer as it’s called in the US.

However, I think with doing lots of training, reaction drills, and playing 6 against 6 regularly, using the legs in volleyball should come naturally. Therefore let’s take a look at some great rallies and foot saves that were caught on camera.


So we went through the main factors on when you should and when you shouldn’t use your legs in volleyball. Everything that is apart from the game and kicks comes from anger and frustration, will lead to trouble either with the team or referee, so players should stay away from that and keep cool. But sometimes they have to use your legs, more specifically in defense, after blocking in case ball roles between the net and the body and when they have to chase the ball either when goes towards tribune, bench, or commercial banners.

Have you ever done an amazing save using your legs? Or have you ever done it because of anger, and what were the consequences? Share with us your stories in the comment section down below.

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