Can you use feet in volleyball? [4 legal possibilities]

Can you use feet in volleyball? As volleyball players, we work hard on our bump, set, and spike techniques. If you are a volleyball fan or a player, you know how critical those skills are. But what about feet? Can’t we use them at all?

At first sight, the question seems amateurish. But don’t rush with the judgment. It’s not as straightforward as it seems. Let me explain because there is a caveat here.

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Foot-to-ball contact in volleyball: what the FIVB rules say

Where do we find the answer to the question about feet in volleyball? Of course, in the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) rules. The FIVB is the governing body for the sport, so its regulations cover all the nuances of the game.

In standard volleyball play, players are not permitted to kick the ball intentionally.

The FIVB rule is quite clear, saying that the ball must be hit with any part of the body above the waist.

This means that using the feet is forbidden, right? Not quite so.

There is Article 9.2 which states the rule that the ball may touch any body part. That’s our loophole to make the foot hit legal. For example, the ball hits my foot after rebounding off the ground, and that won’t be counted as a fault. It’s not an intentional move.

But I want to emphasize that intentional or repeated foot-playing will result in a fault. In the end, the rules are the rules.

When can it happen?

Foot-to-ball touching on the volleyball court is not common. As a player, I can vouch for that. But it happens. Let me tell you when I can use my feet in volleyball.

1. Last resort defense: in very intense rallies, I may use my foot as a last-ditch effort to keep the ball in play: I can kick the ball to prevent it from touching the ground and giving the other team a point. That’s a legal hit.

2. Unintentional contact: despite my best efforts to use my hands and arms, the ball may unexpectedly come into contact with my foot.

In such cases, the game goes on without penalty because I haven’t broken the rule.

3. Assisting a teammate: I might use my foot to redirect the ball to a teammate, especially if they are in a better position to make a play and score a point.

4. Blocking at the net: we are not allowed to kick the ball over the net during a block, of course. But, as a blocker, I can use my feet to help keep the ball off the ground. But I am always careful because an intentional try to kick the ball over the net will break the rule.

Possible benefits of using feet in volleyball

I have already noted that intentional foot-playing isn’t legitimate in volleyball.

With that said, there are some potential benefits to including footwork in certain aspects of gameplay.

But I repeat, one should be careful doing that.

Unexpected plays

When you use your feet, it can catch opponents off guard, especially in situations where traditional techniques fail. A well-done foot play can disrupt the rhythm of the opposing team and even win you a point.

Emergency saves

In desperate moments when the ball is out of reach for normal plays, I hit the ball with my foot to keep it on the court.

Enhanced defense

I may use my feet against hard-driven spikes and unexpected shots. I’m not a soccer player to any extent, but hitting the ball with my feet defensively helps cover more ground and make crucial saves.

Strategic redirects

I can hit the ball with my feet, redirecting it and creating opportunities for my team to set up offensive plays or counterattacks on the court.

I can guide the ball to specific areas of the court and use gaps in the defense of the opposing team.

Although an opposing coach may file a complaint disputing lack of intention.

With all that said, I want to repeat that you must be careful and discrete when hitting the ball with your feet in volleyball to avoid committing faults.

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Now you can see that although the rule seems to discourage us from using feet in volleyball, there are certain loopholes there. First and foremost, it’s the intention or lack thereof. Although I’m a ‘by-the-book’ kind of volleyball player, I think that using feet creatively and as the last resort is not a bad idea.

I suggest using the nuances of foot-to-ball contact within the limitations of the rules and improving your performance while bringing even more excitement to already dynamic volleyball play.


Can you use your feet at volleyball?

In a volleyball game, the use of feet is generally limited, but there are rare instances where incidental contact with the feet is allowed because the FIVB regulations state that it can touch any body part.

Can you use your legs in volleyball?

Yes, players can use their legs for movement and balance, but intentional contact with the ball using the legs is mostly not allowed according to the FIVB rules.

Can I kick the ball in volleyball?

No, intentionally kicking the ball is not allowed according to the official rules. But an unintentional hit may happen and is not punished.

Can you use your feet to play a shot in indoor volleyball?

No, if you use your feet to play a shot intentionally in indoor volleyball, it’s a fault according to the official rules. When you use your feet unintentionally or as an emergency save, it’s not usually punished.

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