Can You Use Your Head in Volleyball

Can You Use Your Head in Volleyball?

Using hands is the primary method of playing volleyball, but there is often confusion about whether using your head is allowed in volleyball.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the rules, advantages, and considerations of using your head in volleyball. So, let’s dive in and find out if you can use your head in volleyball.

Understanding the Rules of Volleyball

To understand whether using your head is permissible in volleyball, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the rules set by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), the official governing body of the sport. According to the FIVB rules, players are allowed to use any part of their body to hit the ball, including their head. However, it’s crucial to note that specific rules apply to using your head, just as they do for other body parts. These rules include avoiding double contacts, carrying, or lifting the ball.

The Legality of Using Your Head in Volleyball

Using your head to play the ball in volleyball is entirely legal. The FIVB rules explicitly state that the ball may touch any part of the body during gameplay. This means that if the ball accidentally touches your head or you intentionally use your head to make contact with the ball, it is considered a legal play.

It’s worth mentioning that using your head in volleyball is not as common as using your hands. However, in certain situations, such as when defending a powerful spike or blocking at the net, the ball may bounce off a player’s head. As long as the contact is within the rules and does not involve holding onto the ball for too long or making an illegal play, using your head is permissible.

Techniques for Using Your Head in Volleyball

While using your head in volleyball is legal, it’s important to consider the techniques involved in executing this move effectively. Proper positioning, timing, and coordination are essential factors to consider when using your head to play the ball.

To execute a successful header, position yourself directly under the ball and maintain eye contact with it. Time your jump to meet the ball at its highest point, maximizing your control and accuracy. As the ball makes contact with your forehead, use the natural strength of your neck muscles to direct the ball toward its intended target.

It’s crucial to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed and maintain a strong core throughout the header. Utilize the momentum of your jump to generate power and accuracy in your shot. However, it’s important to exercise caution and ensure that you do not hit the ball too forcefully, as it may result in the ball going out of bounds.

Advantages of Using Your Head in Volleyball

Incorporating headers into your volleyball skills repertoire can offer several advantages both for you as a player and for your team as a whole. Let’s explore some of the benefits of using your head in volleyball:

1. Element of Surprise

Using your head in volleyball can catch your opponents off guard. Headers are less common in the sport compared to using hands, so opponents may not be prepared to defend against this type of play. By executing a well-timed header, you can create unexpected plays and scoring opportunities for your team.

2. Quick Reactions

Volleyball is a fast-paced game that requires split-second decision-making. There may be situations where using your head to play the ball is the quickest and most effective response. When the ball is descending rapidly, and you don’t have time to position yourself for a traditional bump or set, a well-executed header can keep the ball in play and potentially save a point.

3. Versatility and Adaptability

Being a versatile player is highly valuable in volleyball. By developing the skill of using your head, you can adapt to different game situations and contribute more effectively to your team’s success. Mastering headers gives you an edge over opponents who may not have encountered this technique frequently, making it more challenging for them to anticipate your moves.

Considerations When Using Your Head in Volleyball

While using your head in volleyball can be advantageous, it’s important to consider certain factors and exercise caution when incorporating this technique into your gameplay.

1. Control and Precision

Using your head to play the ball requires excellent control and precision. It is generally more challenging to control the ball with the head compared to using your hands. The hands provide better accuracy and power, making them the preferred choice for most plays. Thus, it’s crucial to assess the situation and determine whether using your head is the most effective option.

2. Health and Safety

Frequent and forceful impacts to the head can pose potential long-term risks. While volleyball is played with a lighter ball compared to soccer, the speed at which the ball is hit can still pose a danger if headers are used excessively. It’s important to prioritize player safety and avoid unnecessary risks when considering whether to use your head in volleyball.

3. Game Strategy and Skill Development

Volleyball is a team sport that requires strategic decision-making and effective use of skills. While using your head can be an option in specific situations, it’s crucial to prioritize the most effective and skillful techniques to maximize your team’s performance. Developing strong hand skills and mastering other aspects of the game, such as setting and serving, should be a higher priority for players.


In conclusion, using your head in volleyball is legal and can be advantageous in certain situations. As long as you adhere to the rules set by the FIVB and maintain proper technique, incorporating headers can provide an element of surprise, quick reactions, and versatility to your gameplay. However, it’s important to exercise caution, prioritize player safety, and consider the most effective techniques to contribute to your team’s success. Remember, using your head in volleyball should be a well-thought-out decision, taking into account the specific circumstances of the game. So, go out there, play smart, and have fun exploring the possibilities of using your head in this thrilling sport!

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