Rules for Kicking the Volleyball (with Video)

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Volleyball is a game of the hands and arms -- at least for the most part. Although volleyball players usually hit the ball with their hands and arms, they are actually permitted to use any part of the body. If you are a volleyball player, you should understand how you are allowed to kick the ball and why you would want to do so.

Hitting the Ball

Any point of contact that you make with the ball is considered a hit in volleyball. The NCAA official rules of volleyball and FIVB rules clearly state that "the ball may touch any part of the body" when hitting the ball -- including the foot. Kicking the ball in volleyball is not an illegal hit and counts as a hit as your foot is part of your body. This also is legal in beach volleyball rules as well as in high school play.

Number of Hits Allowed

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Your team may hit the ball up to three times on your side of the net, but the third hit must go over the net to your opponent's side, including any kicks. If your team, indoor volleyball has six players per team, hits the ball a fourth time before returning it, then it is considered a fault and the opposing team will be awarded a point.

Individuals can only strike the ball once before another player plays it. If the ball contacts you twice -- for instance kicking it and then hitting it with your hand -- it is also considered a double hit, which is against the rules.

Purpose of Kicking

In general, it is unwise to kick the ball even if it is legal to do so. Your hands and arms provide better control, allowing you to direct the ball where you want it to go. Kicking the ball is usually a last resort. Sometimes a libero may chase down a mishit out of bounds past the end line and have to resort to kicking it.

Another example is if you have fallen and can't reach the ball with your hands you may attempt to keep the ball in play with your foot. Foot saves are more likely in the back row or back line during a volleyball game. Here are some great plays from the foot in Olympic play.

Trapping the Ball

In soccer, a skilled player can trap the ball on his foot out of the air. While a volleyball player may be able to do this, it would be illegal to do so.

Volleyball's rules state that the ball must be hit -- not caught. If the ball lands on your foot but does not rebound, then it is considered a fault. In this case, a point would be awarded to the opposing team. This fault is similar to palming the ball

Can you serve with your foot?

Playing beach volleyball

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Kick serves are also a legal move in volleyball so long as they land on the receiving team’s side of the court. Many volleyball teams choose not to do this as they are hard to control and don’t have the velocity to prevent rally scoring from the other team.