So I went over the Volleyball Canada rulebook for 2018-2019, but I couldn't find anything about a certain situation that occurs often when I play volleyball with friends/colleagues.

What will sometimes happen is that, during a service, a player on the front-row of the receiving team will jump and return the ball to the serving team by hitting it with both hands at the same time (as if he was trying to "spike" it with two hands). We're wondering whether this move is legal or not:

  • Is returning a serve from the front row by jumping legal?
  • Is hitting the ball (in a spike-like motion) with two hands at the same time (contact is made with both hands) legal?

If that helps, when this happens, the ball is usually not over the net (net height), but below it. From our point of view, it looks like a full blown "block" or "attack". Not a receive, nor a set attempt.

1 Answer 1


I don't believe that the difference between one hand or two makes a difference in this scenario, but I've found relevant rules to reference.

Returning or blocking a serve is illegal

Listed under section 13.3 (Faults of the Attack Hit) of the 2018-2019 Volleyball Canada rulebook is rule 13.3.4 which describes a fault triggered by attacking an opponent's serve.

13.3.4 A player completes an attack hit on the opponent’s service, when the ball is in the front zone and entirely higher than the top of the net (13.2.4).

If you attempt to return the serve from the front row and the ball is higher than the top of the net, you are committing a fault.

Additionally, rule 14.5 addresses blocking a serve rather directly.


To block an opponent’s service is forbidden.

So regardless of how the ball is hit, if you attempt to block or return a serve from the front row, you lose the point.

Finally, I'll say that technically you can hit the ball with both hands so long as the contact with both hands/arms occurs simultaneously.

9.2.3 The ball may touch various parts of the body, provided that the contacts take place simultaneously.

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