Overhand reception in indoor volleyball

Volleyball rules are going to change for the 2013 season. For example, the overhand reception of service would be forbidden (like it is in beach volleyball). What are the additional details that support this?

2 Answers

On the 2012 FIVB Congress, new rules valid from 2013 (but see update below) were approved; probably the most visible change is going to be the change regarding the reception of service.

Currently, at the first hit of the team including the service, double contact is not called (provided that the contacts occur during one action, see rule, which means a great share of receptions is nowadays done using overhand, even though these hits are not clean. However, it also means todays men’s volleyball is generally: hard jumped serve which is very often a fault or an ace, or it is received nicely and properly set to a spike which ends the extremely short rally lasting just a few seconds, with such sideouting play being very predictable and boring.

So, “To destabilize the reception and prevent a series of 4 second side out points, and thus make the game less predictable, reception of service overhand with fingers will be judged more strictly.” If the service will be received using overhand finger action, the hit must be clean – no double contact and no catch. This change affects only the service reception (further defensive actions during the rally will be unaffected and subject to the “first team hit” exception) and only the overhand reception. The exact wording of the newly created rule 9.2.4 will be as follows:

It is a fault, during the reception of service, to make a double contact or catch using an overhand finger action.

Note the rule does not forbid overhand reception of a service per se, it just requires it to be completely clean. But, presumably, unless the hit is very clean, it is going to get whistled automatically. This change also brings indoor volleyball rules a bit closer to beach volleyball, where overhand service reception is also not explicitly prohibited, but everybody receives using forearm bump, as an overhand reception would be whistled ±automatically as a double contact.


  • Presentation by the Rules of Game commission at the 2012 FIVB Congress concerning the rule changes
  • New FIVB Rules in 2013? (Volleywood.net)
  • Topic: FIVB to eliminate overhand reception (discussion thread at volleytalk)

Update: The changes has been incorporated into the new official ruleset: See Rules of the Game 2013-2016

Update: The application of the new overhand reception rule has been postponed following the Board of Administration decision of April 5, 2013, and is therefore not used currently.

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