What is a Carry in Volleyball

What is a Carry in Volleyball? How do you stop carrying in volleyball?

Volleyball, a sport loved and played by millions around the globe, possesses its own unique set of rules and terminologies. One term that stands out and is often the subject of debate is the “carry.” So, what exactly is a carry in volleyball, and why does it matter?

What is a Carry in Volleyball?

At its most basic, a carry in volleyball is a violation of the game’s standards for handling the ball. According to the official volleyball rules, a carry occurs when a player makes “sustained” or “prolonged” contact with the ball, giving the impression that they are lifting or scooping the ball rather than cleanly hitting it. Such actions disrupt the fast-paced nature of the game and thus are considered illegal.

Types of Carry in Volleyball

There are several ways in which a player can commit a carry:

  • Open Hand Tip: A player tries to softly send the ball over the net using an open hand, but instead of tapping, they let it linger on their fingertips. This is a classic example of an open hand tip carry. The right way? Use a closed fist or fingers placed closely together.
  • Deep Dish: A setter trying to set the ball, but instead of a crisp, immediate release, they cradle the ball momentarily. This kind of delay, even if it’s for a split second, is termed as a deep dish carry.
  • Underhand Carry: Here’s a scenario – during an underhand pass or dig, if the ball appears to rest or sink into a player’s forearms rather than bouncing off, it’s a carry. It’s essential to maintain firm wrists and forearms for a clean pass.

Can You Carry The Ball During A Serve?

Serving in volleyball isn’t just about getting the ball across the net; it’s about doing so with precision and technique that adhere to the rules of the game. The essence of a good serve lies in its crisp execution. The ball should be contacted quickly and cleanly, without any extra grasping or palming.

However, mistakes happen. If a player’s hand seems to linger on or curl around the ball during a serve, even for a split second, it represents a clear violation of the rules that govern proper ball handling. Such an illegal contact disrupts the flow of the serve and provides an unfair advantage by making the ball’s path difficult for opponents to read.

The official volleyball rulebook is very clear on these standards, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the integrity and spirit of fair competition. As the rulebook states verbatim, “The ball must be cleanly hit, not held, lifted, or pushed.” This rule applies not just to serves but to all ball contact, underscoring the fundamental volleyball principle that every touch should be sharp, clean, and skillful. Illegal ball handling like carrying goes against the essence of the game.

How Can You Tell The Call Was “A Carry?”

Identifying a carry, while seemingly challenging, can be straightforward if you know what to look for:

  • Duration of Contact: Prolonged contact is the most apparent sign. A ball that seems to “stick” a little too long gives it away.
  • Ball’s Trajectory: A ball that floats oddly or lacks spin might indicate it’s been carried, especially during setting.
  • Player’s Motion: A lifting or scooping gesture is a dead giveaway, especially if it looks unnatural or forced.

Moments of Unexpected Carries in a Volleyball Match

Volleyball, while seemingly straightforward, is a game of intricacies and split-second decisions. Beyond the most recognized and common instances of carrying the ball, there are particular situations where even the most seasoned players might unintentionally commit a carry.

Overhead Passes

Navigating an overhead pass requires precision, control and timely release. However, amidst the rapid pace of the game and the pressure from the opposition, even experienced players can misjudge their timing. As they attempt an overhead pass, there’s a very fine line between a perfect hit and holding the ball a split second too long. This mistake can be especially noticeable during quick exchanges near the net where the hands might wrap around the ball momentarily rather than striking it crisply.

Off-balance Saves

Volleyball is a sport of dynamism and agility. Players often find themselves making acrobatic moves to keep the ball in play. In one of the game’s most intense moments, imagine a player lunging, almost flying, towards the ball in a desperate attempt to save it from hitting the ground. In the heat of such moments, if the player, out of sheer desperation, ends up cradling or cupping the ball instead of hitting it, they inadvertently commit a carry. These instances, driven by the sheer will to keep the play alive, sometimes lead to unintentional rule violations.

During Blocks

The primary objective of a block is to stop or redirect an attacker’s shot. But every so often, in the eagerness to form a solid block, players might find themselves in a position where their hands, instead of forming a solid barrier, momentarily cup or hold the ball. It’s a rare occurrence, but in tight situations where the ball comes in with varying speeds and spins, blockers might falter and end up carrying the ball.

How do you stop carrying in volleyball? A Quick Guide

Volleyball, in all its vibrant action, requires crisp and clean ball handling. One common pitfall that players face, from beginners to seasoned pros, is the dreaded ‘carry’. So, how does one steer clear of this violation and maintain the fluidity of the game? Here’s a straightforward guide:

Master the Basics

First things first, get your fundamentals right. Proper hand positioning and understanding the correct way to hit the ball can prevent most carries. Regular practice sessions focusing on ball-handling drills are crucial.

Stay Alert

Volleyball is lightning-fast, and players often have split seconds to react. It’s essential to always stay on your toes, anticipate the ball’s trajectory, and adjust your body position accordingly. The better your stance, the less likely you’ll mishandle the ball.

Use Your Palms, Not Fingers

While setting or passing, ensure you use the flat of your palms and not let the ball sink into your fingers. This reduces the risk of prolonged contact, which can easily be deemed a carry.

Firm Wrists are Key

Especially during underhand passes, keep your wrists firm and together. This ensures the ball rebounds quickly off your arms instead of sinking in.

Watch and Learn

Take a cue from the professionals. Watch international volleyball matches and observe the players’ techniques, especially when they’re under pressure. It can provide valuable insights into avoiding the carry during challenging plays.

Feedback is Gold

Play practice matches and encourage teammates or coaches to point out any inadvertent carries. Continuous feedback and being open to constructive criticism can fast-track your journey to cleaner gameplay.

Bottom Line

To quote the international volleyball governing body, “The ball must be contacted cleanly and not held (including lifted, pushed, caught, carried, or thrown).” Understanding and respecting this rule is crucial for the game’s spirit. A carry, while often debated, is clear in its definition and intent. By understanding its nuances, players can avoid this fault, ensuring that the game remains as exhilarating and fair as it’s meant to be.

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