Can You Use Your Feet While Playing Volleyball?




Volleyball on gym floor


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If you play volleyball, you may know all the basic rules. But what happens if you can’t reach the ball with your hands or arms? Can you use your feet?

According to the official rules of NCAA volleyball, using your feet or any part of your body is perfectly legal if the ball does not rest there. Before 1999, using feet or any part of your body was illegal in volleyball games, but using your feet is an option for volleyball players.

Whether or not you may want to, using your feet in volleyball can be an excellent choice for an emergency save. Although not everyone will like it, it may help you and your team win the game. Read on to learn about different situations in which you can use your feet, if you can serve with your feet, and if coaches recommend it.

Person kicking a volleyball

How Can I Use My Feet in Volleyball?

While the main idea of volleyball is to use your hands and arms for each play, sometimes the ball may be too low or out of reach for a good play. In this situation, using your feet to contact the ball is perfectly legal. Yet, knowing how to use your feet to avoid any faults is essential.

One way you can use your feet and legs is to block the ball from hitting the ground. Another way is to set the ball with your feet for another teammate.  Although, setting with your feet isn’t recommended and should only be done if you can’t reach the ball with your hands. Volleyball is a game of quick reflexes, and sometimes connecting the ball with your feet is a great reflexive reaction!

Some leagues may have different rules and say intentionally kicking the ball is illegal. So regardless of the situation, only use your feet as a last resort. However, if the ball unintentionally hits your feet and gives a good play for your teammates, it should be allowed and played upon!

Is Serving With Your Feet Allowed?

As discussed, you can use your feet to contact the ball to continue the ball being in play. You can use your feet unintentionally if the ball hits your foot and sets up a good play. Yet, serving with your feet is strictly prohibited according to the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball.

Although the rules state that you can use any part of your body to hit the ball, the rules of serving are that the ball is thrown and hit with a single hand or part of your arm. This means that kicking the ball for a serve is not allowed. This is better for your team, as ball control with the feet would be extremely difficult, and serving with hands and arms would make for a more powerful server.

A coaches whistle

Do Coaches Recommend Using Your Feet?

Although it is legal to use your feet, most coaches despise this rule. First of all, volleyballs are extremely expensive and sensitive. Kicking the ball can damage the ball due to the amount of force your feet can have, which creates unnecessary expenses.

Another reason coaches do not recommend using your feet in volleyball is the fact that it may seem unfair. The official rules state that it is legal to use any part of the body, but the main idea of volleyball is to use your hands and feet for bumping, setting, or spiking.

Coaches also do not recommend kicking, making it more difficult to control the ball. While using your hands and arms, you will have excellent ball control. Unless you know how to use your feet and practice it constantly, you will likely make a mistake and allow the other team to score.

Although coaches do not recommend kicking the ball, some think it is a great warm-up! Practicing using your feet in volleyball can help you learn to control the ball if it is necessary to use your feet. Although, the majority of practice should be focused on bumping, setting, serving, and spiking as well as agility.

Two beach volleyball players

What About Beach Volleyball?

As stated before, in indoor volleyball, using your feet is allowed. However, some leagues have different rules about it. Some say you can kick the ball intentionally, while others say it must be unintentional for it to be a legal play.

In beach volleyball, you are also allowed to use your feet! It is uncommon, but it can make play more powerful. The three legal hits in beach volleyball are the same as indoor, so as long as you use your feet to block, set, or spike, it will be considered legal.

Is Kicking Allowed in Olympic Volleyball?

Although not recommended by coaches, and it is relatively uncommon, using your feet in Olympic volleyball is allowed. According to FIVB and USA Volleyball, players can legally contact the ball with any body part.

In Olympic Volleyball, it is rarely seen and only used as a last resort. Players are incredibly skilled and know it’s better to dive than kick the ball, resulting in better ball control. Although it has been seen before, it is highly controversial as many people think kicking and using your feet is unfair and not a part of the sport.


Using any body part, including the feet, to hit the ball is considered a legal play in volleyball. However, it is not recommended by coaches and should be avoided as often as possible. Kicking the ball may lead to unintentional points being scored for the other team because it is harder to control the ball with this part of your body. It is best to stick to the basic plays and use your hands and arms for this sport. But if you do accidentally hit the ball with your feet, don’t worry – just hope that it makes for a playable ball for one of your teammates!

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