In Volleyball is the Line In or Out?


When first glancing at a volleyball court, the lines everywhere can come off as puzzling to say the least. And without context, the boxes and boundaries won’t make much sense.

Now, the out of bounds rules in volleyball is pretty clear. However, many newcomers get confused whether the ball is considered in or out if it touches the line.

Well, here’s a short answer – unless the volleyball goes outside the line completely, it’s still in play.

in volleyball is the line in or out

As a volleyball beginner, you can get away with just knowing the short answer that’s given here. But the sport has so many competitive rule nuances, frequent edits, and variations by league that staying on top of regulation changes can prove tricky.

That’s why we’ll focus on how out-of-bounds works on volleyball to make sure you get a complete picture.

Volleyball Court Dimensions and Line Markings

volleyball court dimensions and line markings

The size of a volleyball court can vary depending on things like:

  • Are you playing competitively or casually?
  • Is it a men’s game or a women’s game? And even
  • Is it a beach or an indoor court?

Know that it can make it difficult, not to mention downright confusing, for people who are taking their first steps into the game.

So, for simplicity’s sake, we’ll keep this discussion limited to indoor volleyball courts for men’s games only. If you want to know about grass courts, check our article here.

First things first, A standard court is 18 meters long and 9 meters wide. A line is drawn across the width and length of the court to designate the total area.

The center line in the middle splits the court into two halves. There’s also an attack line on each of these halves at a distance of 3 meters from the center line.

So, each half of the court is divided into two sections: the front zone and the back zone. The area behind the back zone is known as the service zone.

The net is set above the center line down the middle of the court. Its height is different for men’s and women’s volleyball.

In men’s volleyball, the net is set at a height of 2.43 meters, and in women’s volleyball, it’s 2.23 meters.

Volleyball Out of Bounds Rules

volleyball out of bounds rules

Volleyball out of bounds rules are pretty simple. But many players don’t put the time and effort to learn them.

According to the official rules of volleyball, the ball goes out of play if and only if the ball touches the ground or any object outside the 18m x 9m play area.

So even if the ball moves outside the court, if the player manages to push it in before it touches anything outside, the ball is still technically in play.

Even if the ball drops on the line, it’s not considered out. It would have to go outside the line completely for the play to stop.

In Volleyball is the Line In or Out?

volleyball is the line in or out

So let’s get back to the main question – what happens when a volleyball touches the line?

The sidelines and the end lines on a volleyball court are like safe zone. So if the ball makes contact with these lines, it’s still considered in play.

To be called “out,” the ball has to go all the way, completely crossing the line. And if it manages to stay within the lines, even if it’s teetering on the edge, and the player miraculously keeps the game going, then it’s good!

Can the Volleyball Hit the Antenna?

can the volleyball hit the antenna

Antenna refers to the vertical rods attached to the net near the sidelines. Sometimes during play, the ball can hit the antenna. Thankfully, the rules are pretty specific in volleyball if that happens.

At any point in the match, if the ball hits the antenna, it’s considered out.

In addition, if the ball moves outside the antenna during play, it will be out.

If the antenna is unavailable for some reason, the referee needs to use his own judgment to call whether the ball is in play.

Can the Volleyball Hit the Post, Cables, Or Referee Stand?

volleyball hit the post cables or referee stand

Just like the antenna, a ball that hits objects outside the court like the referee stand, cables, net posts, or poles is ruled out of bounds.

Only objects within the court boundaries are considered in play.

Can the Server Step on the Line?

can the server step on the line

In volleyball, the server needs to stay outside the end line while serving. He is not allowed to enter the rear zone of the court before he serves the ball.

However, the volleyball player is allowed to step on the line as long he’s not stepping over the line fully. This is completely legal.

What Happens if the Ball goes Out of Bounds in Volleyball?

what happens if the ball goes out of bounds in volleyball

If the volleyball goes outside the court boundaries, it’s considered “out.” The player who last touched the ball before it went out loses the point for that round.

In addition, the serve moves to the opposing team.

The Bottom Line

Volleyball can seem like a difficult game to learn, let alone master. It takes players weeks just to understand the different playing position. However, once you put some time and effort into it, the rules of the game become much clearer.

Hopefully, after reading our article, you’re one step closer to understanding the game better. Good luck!

ABOUT Harvey Meale

As a former international level volleyball player, I now spend my days working out and writing for Volleyball Vault. I look for ways to bring my wealth of experience and knowledge to create unique and insightful perspectives in my content.