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Can you Touch the Net in Volleyball? All About Net Touch Error

Can you Touch the Net in Volleyball?

Volleyball is considered one of the most technical sports. Not only because it demands lots of athletic abilities, but also due to rules. I know for beginners they might seem a bit complicated, but in reality, they’re pretty easy. One of the most common questions I get asked is can you touch the net in volleyball. Well , the answer is simple.

In volleyball players can’t touch the net with any part of their bodies. If some of them during the action touches the net, the opposite team wins one point. However, touching the net with the ball is allowed.

In the past you could touch the net like crazy

Rules are always revolving. The same applies to volleyball. Some time before 2015 it was possible to touch the net under one condition. If it wasn’t a band.

The band is the white piece of material at the top and at the bottom for better visibility and shape retention of the net.

don't touch the band

So, you could come into contact with everything besides upper band, but was it any good?

Well, not really. Let’s say you are a volleyball player and you know the only thing you can’t touch is a thin piece of material. You might think, “Easy, now I can play more aggressively”. That’s exactly what professional volleyball players thought.

The permission of touching everything except the upper band encouraged players to take more risk and eventually it caused more injuries.

So the International Volleyball Federation decided to cancel this rule and in effect touching the whole net became illegal. Now the game is safer and players ought to play more carefully.

Does hair count as a touch?

Whenever I’m watching a women’s volleyball match, I’m surprised how many of them touch the net with their hair. Is it considered a fault? Girls, even if you’re not playing professional volleyball, it’s a mistake.

Like I said at the beginning- touching the net with any part of your body is not allowed. Hair is not different, but referees sometimes have a hard time noticing this violation. That’s because the net touch with your hands makes the net move. In hair’s case, it’s so subtle that the net doesn’t even quiver. Referees need to have eagle eyes…

There are 2 ways to avoid hair touch. First- cut your hair. But I wouldn’t recommend this option. The most common way of avoiding net error is wearing your hair up. That way you don’t disturb yourself and can focus only on a game.

If you’re a woman (or a man), your hair should look just like this.

volleyball woman

Feel free to touch the net with the ball

It’s pretty common that the ball skims the net in volleyball. Unlike in tennis, in volleyball, it’s completely fine. It is especially surprising when the ball breaks through the net right after the serve. Just take a look at this video.

Some volleyball players practice this technique of serving, but let’s be honest. It’s extremely hard and in most cases, it happens by chance.

To summarize, it’s allowed to touch the net with the ball. No matter if you serve or spike. It’s not tennis and you can win many accidental points by skimming the net band.

But…I didn’t even want to touch the net

Let’s say your opponent is hitting the ball and it ends up in the net. But he did it so hard that the ball has touched you through the net. Is it your mistake in that case?

Absolutely not! We have to use our common sense. You didn’t have any impact over the net. Even if the net hits you because of the ball, it doesn’t matter, because it wasn’t your fault.

I know it’s pretty logical, but believe me. During amateur volleyball matches, these kinds of situations are sources of disputes.

But sometimes you can touch the net

As a rule of thumb, you should never touch the net. Treat it as an electric fence. If you feel the need of coming into contact with the net, there are times during the game when you can lay your hand on the net as much as you want.

You can do it after the action. For example, if your team has just won the point and the referee whistled in acceptance, you can touch the net right after it. Touching until another whistle that forces a player to serve is allowed.

What is extremely worth to mention is you can touch the net provided it’s outside the antenna. Just look at the picture below.

Outside the antenna, there is a small piece of tape, net, and ropes. You can touch these elements without any fear of punishing your team. It’s worth mentioning because most of people don’t know it. By the way, can you touch the antenna? Get to know it in this article.

How to avoid net touch?

As an amateur volleyball player, I know that the net error while blocking or attacking is a very common mistake. You can lose a solid amount of points with such a stupid fault. But over the years, I have learned simple rules to avoid touching the net.

Once, Warren Buffet- one of the best investors of all time said that to be rich, you have to first focus not on making money, but on not losing money. How does it apply to volleyball you might ask. Well, I’d say if you want to win a match, don’t focus on winning points, but on avoiding mistakes that cause losing points.

So if you don’t want to give the points out, you have to be careful when it comes to the net. My favorite technique is treating the net as it is an electric fence. It changes your mindset and lets you always remember that there’s a net.

But the mindset is not everything. You also need a bit of practice. The best way not to touch the net is keeping some distance from it. When you jump to block, stand a couple of inches (or centimeters) away from the net. Give yourself enough space for your arm movement so you can comfortably jump to block without thinking about the net.

If you’re a spiker, give yourself more space. Jump in a safe distance from the net. Consider that you also have to land. After years of playing volleyball I know that the only way of not coming into contact with the net is training. The more you play, the better you are. I can tell you the best piece of advice, but they are useless without any practicing.

Have you ever wondered if you can block a serve? Learn it in this post!

What do you think? How common is net touch?

After watching hundreds, if not thousands of volleyball games, I can say that touching the net is common, but not the most popular error. Usually, players make mistakes serving or attacking.

I spend some time searching for information about the exact number of average net contacts per volleyball match, but I couldn’t find any reliable information. So, I decided to watch a couple of international volleyball games and assess the number of touches per game. After watching 5 clashes (It took me almost 11 hours), I get to know that the average amount of net error per set is exactly 1.2. Not much.

Giving away 1.2 per set by the net touch error isn’t a lot. It’s worth emphasizing that I watched professional games. I might only assume that amateurs make at least 3 times more errors.

Which referee is in charge of net error?

There are a couple of referees during volleyball. Each of them is in charge of something different. But which one is checking the net errors?

Of course, that’s the role of the main referee who is standing exactly at the middle of the volleyball court, above the net. He is the one who decides who won a point, he gives cards and of course, picks the net errors up.

the main referee

He can see the best, what’s going on near the net. From my experience I know his net touch interpretations are always right, so don’t try to discuss, because you might be punished with a yellow card.

In conclusion

Touching the net with your body now is not allowed. A ball can have contact with the net and sometimes it brings lots of unexpected points. To avoid net error you have to practice. Net touch isn’t that common, but it gives one point to your opponent.

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