Can You Use Your Head in Volleyball

Can You Use Your Head in Volleyball?

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During an exhilarating game of volleyball, each player directs their full attention to the ball, eagerly anticipating its trajectory and strategizing for their next move. But have you ever wondered if all parts of the body are fair game in volleyball? Specifically, Is it permissible to use your head in the volleyball game? This question might sound peculiar to some, but it’s a legitimate query.

Let’s explore official volleyball rules, analyze the pros and cons of using your head, share notable instances where players have done so, and discuss unconventional techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned player refining strategies or a curious fan diving deeper into the game, this guide is your gateway to the captivating world of volleyball.


Can You Use Your Head in Volleyball?

The short answer to the question is a definitive yes. As per the FIVB rulebook, any body part, including the head, can be used to hit the volleyball. The focus is on the number of hits and the technique rather than specific body parts.

Even though this might not be a common technique, it’s completely legal and sometimes used by players when they find themselves in a tricky situation or want to catch their opponents off guard.


Pros and Cons of Using Your Head in Volleyball

While it’s evident that using your head in volleyball is a permissible move, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always the most beneficial or strategic choice. The technique comes with its own set of advantages and potential drawbacks.

Potential Advantages

The most significant benefit of using your head to hit the ball is the element of surprise. Players and teams are used to traditional hand play, so a sudden header can catch them off guard and disrupt their rhythm. Additionally, using your head can be a quick and viable option. It will keep the ball in play when your hands are occupied or the ball is at an awkward angle.

Possible Disadvantages

Conversely, heading the ball in volleyball can also be risky. The control and precision afforded by the arms and hands are far superior to what one can achieve with a head hit. Misjudging the force or angle could result in losing valuable points. Additionally, frequent use of the technique may lead to physical discomfort or, in extreme cases, head injuries. Therefore, while it’s a legal move, it requires careful judgment to determine when it’s appropriate.

Can You Use Your Head in Volleyball

Notable Instances of Players Using Their Heads in Volleyball

In the history of the sport, players have taken the adage ‘use your head’ quite literally. During the 2016 Olympics, Dutch player Robert Meeuwsen performed an astonishing head hit, catching opponents off guard and securing a crucial point for his team.

Another notable example is from the 2014 FIVB World League. Brazilian player Giba, known for his unconventional playstyle, used a header to save the ball from hitting the ground in what seemed to be a lost cause. This play saved the point and spurred his team on to an eventual win.

These instances showcase volleyball’s unpredictability and excitement, reminding players and fans that the unconventional can lead to spectacular results. However, using such techniques sparingly and wisely is crucial, considering potential risks.


Other Unconventional Volleyball Techniques

Besides using your head, unconventional techniques have emerged in the dynamic world of volleyball, each with unique benefits and challenges. Let’s take a closer look at some of these.

The Foot Save

Known as the ‘foot save,’ this technique involves using your foot, similar to a soccer kick, to keep the ball in play. Per FIVB rules, it’s a legal move and can be an excellent last-minute save when your hands are out of reach. However, it requires significant control, and there’s a risk of sending the ball flying in an unintended direction.

The Dive Roll

The ‘dive roll’ is another intriguing technique where players dive and roll on the ground to reach a fast-moving ball. While this technique can be a game-changer, Engaging in this activity requires physical exertion and must be done correctly to avoid injuries.

The Spin Serve

Lastly, the ‘spin serve’ technique involves putting a spin on the ball to make its trajectory unpredictable. Although it can be challenging to master, it can become a valuable weapon in a player’s arsenal, adding an element of surprise and keeping opponents on their toes.



According to FIVB rules, you can use your head in volleyball, unequivocally. As evidenced by notable instances in the sport’s history, the technique can add an element of surprise and possibly turn the tide in a match. Despite its advantages, it has some drawbacks, including control and precision issues. 

The ‘foot save,’ the ‘dive roll,’ and the ‘spin serve’ are unconventional techniques requiring skilled coordination, control, and judgment.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it illegal to head or kick the ball in volleyball?

No, it is not illegal to either head or kick the ball in volleyball. According to the official rules set by the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), a player can use any part of the body to hit the ball. This includes unconventional techniques like using your head or foot. However, such methods should be employed judiciously, considering the potential for reduced control and precision and the risk of injury.

What is considered illegal to play in volleyball?

Illegal play in volleyball refers to actions that violate the official rules set by the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB). These include, but are not limited to, double hits, carries or lifts, four touches, and net or line violations. 

Can we use the leg in volleyball?

Using the leg in volleyball is permitted under the official rules set by the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB). The rules state that a player can hit the ball with any part of the body. Therefore, similar to using your head or foot, hitting the ball with your leg is a viable, albeit unconventional, technique. But it’s essential to remember that such a method offers less control and precision than traditional hand and arm hits. 

Can you do a bicycle kick in volleyball?

Technically, you can perform a bicycle kick in volleyball. The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) allows a player to hit the ball with any part of his or her body. It includes executing a bicycle kick, a technique often seen in soccer.

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