Is wearing jewelry in volleyball against the rules?

Volleyball players have a certain look to them. Yes, it’s partly attitude. But one thing you’ve probably noticed about volleyball players is that they don’t have a lot of accessories. No jewelry, no long, manicured nails, and very basic hair accessories.  And very few players wear glasses.

Have you ever wondered why volleyball players keep their look so simple? One of the reasons is that the rules actually state no jewelry (with the exception of a plain, flat ring). However, you’ll find that even in recreational volleyball, where the rules tend to be a little more relaxed, players still keep their look pretty plain. Here are some common accessories that you should keep off the court while playing volleyball.

No jewelry on the volleyball court

This includes rings, necklaces, earrings, and other body piercings. Official rules state that players are only allowed to wear a flat band (like a wedding band), and no other jewelry. It doesn’t matter if it’s not visible, it could cost a delay of game if a player is caught wearing body jewelry.

The reason is actually quite simple: safety. Even though a net separates the two teams from each other, there’s still a lot on the volleyball court that a player can make contact with, such as their teammates, the ball, the floor, equipment, the bench, spectators, etc…

It’s not like players run around crashing into things and each other on purpose! But the game of volleyball is FAST and players are so busy chasing down that darn volleyball that they often don’t watch where they’re going.

And if you’re wearing big jewelry, that’s just one more thing that can cause a potential injury. Those big hoop earrings may look great off the court, but on the court they’re a huge potential hazard. Just imagine if another player’s finger got stuck in your earring; whatever movement that player’s hand is doing, your earring is going with it.

So, think about this: a player is swinging at the ball to spike it, and their finger gets caught in your earring during their swing. Their arm is just going to keep swinging, and take your earring (and your ear) along with it. Just let that image sink in for a second…. (shudder).

Necklaces are just as a big a hazard, even if they’re not that loose around your neck. I always thought it was kind of distracting to wear a necklace anyway, because it bangs around on your chest while you’re playing.

player tipping the volleyball over a block at the net
Tipping the volleyball over a block

As I mentioned, official league rules do allow players to wear one plain, flat band (like a wedding band). However, there’s always a chance that you can sprain or jam a finger while you’re playing, and if your finger swells up, (which can happen really quickly), that ring might be stuck on your finger for a while. It’s best to keep even plain bands off the court.

Body piercings may be trendy, but they’re just as big a safety hazard as any other kind of jewelry. Even piercings that are covered can cause an issue. With all the lunging, reaching, and diving in volleyball, there’s a chance that almost every body part will hit the floor (or another object) at some point.

bench with volleyballs, bags, and waterbottles
Volleyball bench

Some players tape their body piercings. Technically, this is against the official rules, but it’s not like the refs check all the players before a game. However, that tape can come loose, and it doesn’t help when you’re stretching out and lunging anyway. So even if your uniform covers your body piercings, try to take them out before you play.

The volleyball court is definitely not the spot to be wearing a lot of jewelry. It’s best to keep it off the court, and safely tucked away in your gym bag. An even better idea is to not bring it to the gym at all, but to leave it at home. You don’t really want to keep valuables in your gym bag, especially at tournaments, in case you misplace your things. Even worse, someone could grab your stuff (either intentionally or unintentionally).

I was at a tournament once and one of the players lost a necklace that had sentimental value. At the end of the tournament, when she went to put the necklace back on and noticed it was missing, we spent a significant amount of time trying to find it. She even rooted through garbage cans! Turns out the little container she kept it in had fallen out of her bag at home before she had even left for the day!

Moral of the story, keep your jewelry in a safe place. You may be willing to root through garbage to find it, but it’s just easier to save yourself the aggravation… and the grossness!

Hair accessories: Minimal and functional

Serving the volleyball

Most players will go with a ponytail to keep their hair out of the way, but there’s a lot of creative ways to keep your hair up. However, keep the use of hair accessories to a minimum, especially those made with metal.

The best hair accessories for the volleyball court are an elastic hair tie and a headband, preferably a rubber one. Big, bulky hair accessories can become a hazard if you make contact with other players, the floor, or the ball.

Some hair accessories are also more likely to get dislodged and need readjustment, which is why rubber headbands are a great option, since they’re more likely to just stay in place. The last thing you want during a really intense play is for one of your hair clips to come loose! It could either be a huge distraction, or it could even become a hazard if it falls on the floor and someone slips or lands on it.

Better to save the big bulky hair accessories for after the game, and while you’re playing, keep your hair accessories simple and functional.

Manicured nails: Trim and tidy

Depending on the type of manicure, the volleyball court is probably not the most manicure friendly place. I’m not talking about all types of manicures. Colourful nails can definitely enhance a uniform! But long nails are a tough thing to have on the volleyball court.

Even if you don’t volley the ball a lot, you’ll be hitting and blocking at the net. There are a lot of ways that the ball will touch your hands during game, and long nails can just get in the way.

I keep my nails pretty trim, but there’s been many times when the ball has just grazed the tip of my fingers, and bent my nail back, or even broken it. And there’s been a couple of times when the nail has bent back so badly, it’s started bleeding. Very painful! This can either be because of the velocity from the ball, or the angle of contact.

Volleyball team cheer

Long, thick nails can also cause injury to other players, if they get scratched. Whether it’s a high-five or a joust at the net, again, there’s a good chance you’ll be making contact with other players on the court.

Manicured nails are fine for the volleyball court, but just think about keeping the length on the shorter side. Go for colour and fun design instead of length!

Glasses: Your decision

When I played volleyball on my high school team, I thought I was just bad at serve-receive passing (when the other team serves the ball to your team). My passes would rarely go on target. Then I started wearing contact lenses while I was playing. Turns out I just couldn’t see the ball until it was already on our side of the court. It’s amazing how much better your passing skills get when you can see the ball right from the serve!

Wearing contact lenses is one thing but wearing glasses on the volleyball court is another. It’s not just about improving your eyesight while you’re playing. Glasses are also accessories and can be potentially harmful ones. There’s always a chance you’re going to get hit in the face by the ball during a volleyball game, and wearing glasses increases your chance of injury significantly.

With all the running, diving, and lunging during a volleyball game, there’s also a good chance that your glasses will be dislodged or even come off during a play. The last thing you want is for your glasses to be stepped on and get broken.

The official volleyball rules state that players may wear glasses, but at their own risk. So, the decision is ultimately up to you. But you don’t have to forgo vision for safety! If you do choose to wear glasses, consider getting a band to keep them in place. Better yet, get a pair of sport prescription glasses, which are built for more rigorous activity and with safety in mind.

Also think about bringing an extra pair of glasses, just in case they end up getting broken during a game.

Many beach volleyball players wear sunglasses while they’re playing, so it’s definitely an option. But if you do wear glasses on the court, keep safety in mind. Using proper defensive positioning will also help to decrease your chances of getting hit in the face with a volleyball. And that’s helpful even if you’re not wearing glasses!

Minimal accessories are best for volleyball

Playing volleyball is not the time to be wearing big, bulky accessories. Keeping things simple is the best option, so that you have fewer distractions while you’re playing, and you can really just focus on the game. The best accessory you can have on the court is your focus and determination to keep that ball in play!

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