18

In volleyball, when is it considered "reaching over the net"?

If my team serves, and the other team passes it close to the net, and I am front row. Can I reach over and kill it?

What about if just the slight edge of the ball crosses the plane but I kill it by reaching my hand over and touch the top part of the ball that hasn't crossed the plane yet?

I tried to read the FIVB rules and the USA Volleyball rules and I see nothing about the ball barely crossing the plane.

21

There are only two (different) actions when you are permitted to reach beyond (over) the net: blocking and attack hit.

  • After making an attack hit, you are allowed to pass your hand beyond the net, but the contact must have been made within your own playing space. I.e. you are not allowed to touch the ball beyond the net in this case. (Obviously, for this to be possible, the ball must be at least with a tiny portion above your side of the field, so that you are able to touch it there. However, this is a necessary, not a sufficient condition: If you touch the ball above the opponents field, it is a fault, even though a part of the ball was in your playing space.)
  • After the opposite team made its attack hit, you are allowed to block it, whatever the position of the ball (and your contact with it) is, i.e. you may reach beyond the net, and touch the ball there.
  • If the opposite team plays the ball near the net, but still on their side, and this was not their third hit, it depends: You might be allowed to block this by touching the ball beyond the net, if:
    • The ball is moving in the direction of your court.
    • And no player of the opponent could possibly (per the referee’s opinion) reach the ball (you are not allowed to touch the ball beyond the net if it would interfere with the opponent’s play before or during their attack hit).

In your case, you are allowed “to kill” their pass if:

  • You touch the ball within your own playing space, after the ball crosses partially over the net.
  • Or the ball is moving in the direction of your court (i.e. it is not going parallel to the net, not to say away from it), and no player of the opponent is able to play the ball (or this was their third attack hit).

So, for the most common case: No, you are not allowed to touch the ball beyond the net to stop an oponents’ pass which is going parallel to the net.

Sources: FIVB Official Volleyball Rules 2013–2016:

11.1 REACHING BEYOND THE NET

(11.1.1) In blocking, a player may touch the ball beyond the net, provided that he/she does not interfere with the opponent’s play before or during the latter's attack hit.

(11.1.2) After an attack hit, a player is permitted to pass his/her hand beyond the net, provided that the contact has been made within his/her own playing space.

[…]

(14.1.1) Blocking is the action of players close to the net to intercept the ball coming from the opponent […]

[…]

14.3 BLOCKING WITHIN THE OPPONENT’S SPACE

In blocking, the player may place his/her hands and arms beyond the net, provided that this action does not interfere with the opponent’s play. Thus, it is not permitted to touch the ball beyond the net until an opponent has executed an attack hit.

And, FIVB Rules of the Game Casebook – 2013 Edition:

3.32

On a second hit, a player passed the ball near the net towards the opponent’s court. The ball did not penetrate the vertical plane of the net. In the 1st referee's opinion, no player of ‘A’ could possibly reach the ball. The blocker of ‘B’ reached across the plane of the net and blocked the ball. What is the correct decision of the 1st referee?

Ruling

Even though it was only the second team hit, if the ball is moving in the direction to the opponent's court, it is an attack hit. Because, in the referee's opinion, no player of ‘A’ could possibly have reached the ball, the block of ‘B’ was legal. (Rules 13.1.1, 14.3)

3.36

A player reached over the net to block the second hit of the opponent’s setter. The 1st referee did not blow his whistle. Is it legal for the blocker to reach over the net to block an opponent's “setting” action?

Ruling

It is absolutely necessary for the 1st referee to determine the action of the setter. He/She must know whether the set was made parallel to the net or was going towards the net, thus making it an attack hit.

In the first case, the blocker would be at fault because the ball was not "coming from the opponent".

In the second case, the set was "coming from the opponent" and should therefore be considered to be an attack hit which may be blocked.

According to Rule 14.3, it is not a fault to block an attack hit beyond the net. It is important for the referee to be able to differentiate between a "set" and an attack using an overhand pass. (Rules 14.1.1, 14.3)

3.40

A player passed the received ball so, that it would have crossed the net if not touched by another player of the same team. The setter was in position to make a legal play on the ball. The opponent’s blocker reached across the vertical plane of the net and blocked the ball before the setter could play it. The 1st referee called a fault on the block.

Is this a correct decision of 1st referee?

Ruling

The 1st referee’s decision was correct, and the block was illegal. Blockers may not contact the ball across the net until the attack hit is executed, except when in the judgment of the 1st referee, no possibility exists for further play of the ball by the attacking team. (Rule 14.3)

3

The important thing is, if the ball is completely on the opponent's side of the field, or if it is partially in your field.

Situation 1) The ball is in your field (only the slighest fraction is enough): You are allowed to kill it. It also does not matter if your hand is over the other side of the field during this action (which is most likely).

Situation 2) The ball is entirely on the opponent's side: In this situation, the only allowed action is a block.

A block is preventing a ball from crossing the net. So if the opponent team has already had its 3 actions (reception/setting/attack) there is not much to discuss - you are allowed to kill if it goes towards your side of the net.

If the other team has an action left, you are not allowed to interfere with that. So if the setting is very close to the net you are not allowed to touch the ball until it is partially over the net.

(On the other hand, if the reception crosses the net, the setter is not allowed to "get" the ball back as soon as it has crossed the net entirely)

  • 1
    You are wrong in your situation 1: It does matter if your hand is over the other side of the field during this action (well, the position of contact with the ball matters). See my answer with rule citations. – Mormegil Jan 30 '14 at 11:00

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