About a ball hitting a player before hitting the ground?

  • Posted on: 4 February 2016
  • By: sean

Dear Sean, I have looked and looked online to find somewhere where it clearly defines what the rules are about a ball hitting a player before hitting the ground in their square. For example one player hits the ball from his square into another person's square and instead of it hitting the ground it hits the player's foot! What is the call? Out on the person who hit the ball or out on the person the ball hit? Sincerely, Kjersti.

We get loads of questions about how the ball can be hit (like, in the air) or cannot be hit (such as not hitting it at all). But you have presented even another possibility. The answer is in the Official Rules under "The Ball". You were looking for what is NOT allowed, but the rule that answers your question is about what IS allowed.

During play, players may only hit the ball with their hands. We describe the "hands" as any area between the player's wrists and her fingertips, including the backs of her hands. The ball may be hit with open or closed fists in the same manner as official volleyball.

The rules say you "may only hit the ball with the hands". If a player touches the ball with anything but her hands then she is out. It doesn't matter who hit it last or if it didn't hit in her square first. Sometimes players aim at other players bodies as a aggressive tactic - sometimes it works to eliminate people but most of the time it backfires as nimble players can leap out of the way of oncoming balls and let them sail out of bounds.

Also, don't mince this question of hitting the body with the one of poaching. Poaching is when a player illegally hits a ball that belongs to another player. The ball belongs to a player when it is hit and lands in her square. No one else may touch that ball before she does - if someone does then that someone is out. Only after she hits it in an attempt to return the ball does it then become "free" for anyone to hit it next until the ball is hit into another square or hit out of bounds.

Good luck and keep it real out there.