What is a double hit in volleyball | A Comprehensive Guide

double hit in volleyball

Volleyball is an exciting game, but sometimes the rules can be tricky. 

Among these rules, the double hit rule often confuses the players.

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What do players do when a fast serve comes at them, and they can’t use their hands to receive it?

That’s where the misunderstandings start, even among experienced referees.

What is a double hit in volleyball? It is a violation that occurs when a player hits the ball twice in a row, or the ball touches different parts of their body one after the other.

The team that committed the double hit loses the point, and the opposing team gets a point.

In this article, I will discuss the different scenarios of a double hit, its exceptions, and how you can avoid this violation as a volleyball player.

Why do Setters Get Called for Double Hits?

In volleyball, setters aim to make clean and precise passes, but it can be challenging.

They face challenges like avoiding collisions or passing the ball while jumping in the air.

Many double-hit calls occur when referees perceive that the setter has hit the ball twice in a row.

This rule is outlined in the FIVB Rulebook, section 9.3.4.

According to it, there shouldn’t be any other player touching the ball in between the setter’s two touches.

To elaborate further, I am listing down some reasons they get called for double hits most often.

1) Hitting the Ball too High

When a setter sends the ball too high, there’s a risk it might bounce back toward them.

It occurs when either their technique is not precise, or they’re setting for tall hitters.

2) Not Hitting the Ball Cleanly

They might unintentionally touch the ball twice when they struggle to make a clean hit.

It can happen when they’re under pressure or lose concentration.

3) Trying to Avoid a Block

A double hit is most likely to occur when setters try to avoid an opposing team’s block.

In these intense moments, they may set the ball too quickly or lose focus on the ball.

Managing pressure and executing precise techniques as a setter are essential in volleyball matches.

4) Setting the Ball with a Double Touch

Sometimes, they might unintentionally double-touch the ball.

It can occur when their hands aren’t together or when they accidentally use their fingers to set the ball.

With careful attention and laser focus, setters can minimize the chances of getting called for a double hit.

a player setting the ball for the hitter

Serve Receive and the Double Hit Rule

When the opposing team serves the ball, your primary goal is to receive it cleanly.

The process involves passing the ball to the setter to set up for successful play.

But it is essential to do it without breaking the double-hit rule.

A double hit in serve receive occurs when a player intentionally or unintentionally touches the ball twice in a row during the reception.

It is against the volleyball rules and results in a point loss.

The mistake can happen during serve receive for various reasons.

It could be the ball’s expected movement or the receiving player’s lack of focus.

Double hit can occur during serve receive

I am surprised to see that a lot of players are unaware of the overhead pass technique.

The overhead pass means you can use both hands to guide the ball to your setter.

Using it during the serve receive is necessary, giving you better control over the ball.

However, the double-hit rules still apply here, and you can’t hit the ball twice consecutively.

To excel in serve receives, master the overhead pass by beginning in a lower stance, leaning forward, and aligning with your target.

Maintain firm hands, wrists, and arms for a smooth pass, knowing that the rules allow minor sloppiness.

Simultaneous Touch by Two Players

To understand this, consider a scenario.

Two players on the same team reach for the ball at once.

They make contact with it almost simultaneously.

It is a common scenario in volleyball, but it raises an important question.

Is it a double hit or not?

First, it is permissible for 2 players to hit the ball simultaneously.

So, while their simultaneous touch is within the rules, neither of these players can go on to make the next hit. 

Those two touches consume two out of the three touches your team is allowed before sending the ball over the net again.

Two Volleyball players hitting the ball at the same time

Usually, it happens in the blink of an eye, and it is difficult to judge who made contact and who didn’t.

To tackle this situation, coaches encourage the players to make things as clear as possible, like:

  1. If you touched the ball, step away to show you made the contact.
  2. If a teammate nearby can play the ball, call for their help and let them handle it.
  3. Shout “CLEAR” or something similar if no one else can make the next hit to signal that you didn’t touch it and are ready to hit the ball.

Exceptions for Double Contact

In volleyball, an exception to the Double Contact Rule occurs during blocking.

When a player goes up to block the opponent’s attack, the rule becomes more lenient.

It is legal for the blocker to make multiple contacts with the ball.

This exception truly recognizes the unique challenge of blocking.

And here’s the exciting part: the block doesn’t count as one of those contacts.

So technically, one player (the blocker) can make three legal contacts with the ball during the defensive move.

Legal for the blocker to touch the ball multiple times

By the way, the above scenario is rare, and you won’t see it often.

Additionally, if you’re the first to touch the ball during a serve reception, you can hit it twice.

But here’s the catch: another player must touch the ball between your hits.

Simply put, out of the three touches your team has, you can claim the first and the third without violating the double-hit rule.

How to Avoid a Double Hit in Volleyball?

A double hit in volleyball can have significant consequences, causing the team to lose points and disrupting their flow.

It can frustrate players and coaches and create tension on the court.

To avoid this violation, I am listing down some tips you can follow to overcome it.

  • Focus on your hand positioning to ensure a clean hit.
  • Develop hand-eye coordination for precise ball control.
  • Stay relaxed to achieve smoother contact.
  • Practice hard to anticipate ball movements for better positioning.
  • Keep your hands close together when receiving the ball.
  • Practice proper technique to avoid excessive spin on the ball.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

As you hit the volleyball court, remember it’s all about having a good time.

Whether receiving a serve or preparing for an ace, being precise is essential.

Rules like the double-hit are in place to ensure fairness and excitement.

By practicing regularly to avoid mistakes like this, you’ll get better at volleyball and play fairly.

Hit the Court, Play Fair, and Soak in the Volleyball Joy!

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