The "let" serve--volleyball rules FAQ

Answers to this (perhaps) shocking question

Created: 6/24/2000
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Yes, the rumors are true. In the 2000-2001 USA Volleyball indoor rules, it will no longer be a fault for the serve to contact the net. If the ball dribbles over, it's playable just like any other ball that contacts the net on the way over. If the ball fails to clear the net, it will become dead when it either hits the serving team's court, or is contacted by a player on the serving team, or when it becomes clear (in the first referee's judgement) that the ball will not clear the net--whichever happens first.

I was as shocked as anyone when I heard this the first time, but I was assured that it's not a big deal. Indeed, players have adapted. Indoors, you typically only have 2 active passers anyway. Now the 3 folks hanging out near the net have something to do rather than transition for the attack.

It's also true that this change is being considered for the sand rules too. They've started to use this change internationally at sand events, and the players are even getting to "dribblers" before they hit the ground.

So's true, and you can and will adapt. This isn't the end of volleyball as we know it. :-)

Keep in mind that most serves that contact the net just nick it slightly without changing the direction of the ball very much. This rule change results in fewer whistles, and more exciting play. In the cases where the net contact causes a serious deflection, the server does gain an advantage, but suddenly where there once was a mere whistle, spectators are treated to a potentially spectacular play.

From Tom Blue's (USAV indoor rules interpretter) article "Significant Rule Changes to the USAV Rules Modified for 2000-2001" in The Official Word February 2000, page 5:

Rules 15.2.1 and

Competition organizers may elect to use these rules in place of Rule 15.2 and Rule 17.9.3, with advance notice to participating teams. These rules allow continuation of play if a served ball touches the net and then crosses the net to the opponents within the crossing space.

The Rules of the Game Commission solicits comments and opinions concerning the use of this optional rule from those who elect to use it. A decision whether or not to replace Rule 15.2 and Rule 17.9.3 with Rule 15.2.1 and Rule will be made at the winter meeting of the Rules of the Game Commission in 2001.

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