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First Ball Contact, double hits, ugly sets (was Re: rules question)

Ted Pederson <> writes:
> I took a clinic with the stanford mens' assistant coach last
> december.  As I remember it, he said the rules were changed so that
> you can "set" a serve or hard driven ball.  He emphasized, quite
> graphically, that almost anything was allowed, including double
> contact, as long as you didn't lift the ball.  He basically had
> someone toss him a ball, and he performed the ugliest double hit
> side-spinning throw he could muster, and stated that what he just
> did was now legal.

90% correct.  Under USAV indoor rules, yes, it's now perfectly legal
to double contact the first ball in a single attempt to play it.  Ugly
sets are the order of the day.

I would remove the "hard-driven" portion from your description,
though.  It doesn't matter whether the ball is hard-driven, served, or
lofted easily over the net.  Indoors, you can double contact all of

Secondly, a throw (lift, where the ball is held or carried) is still
illegal on the first ball.  The distinction between lift/throw/carry
and a double contact is very important, and is the key to really
understanding this.

> My teammates were all there, and we took what he said as God's truth
> (he is a stanford coach after all), and changed our style.  Trouble
> is, is our rinky dink league we play in, we are still getting called
> for bad hits on this.  I am trying to convince the league refs to
> look into the rule, I find it hard to believe the stanford coach
> misinterpreted it.  Can someone set me straight on what is now
> legal?

I agree with Joe...the league coordinator probably doesn't know the
rules s/he is advocating.  But, let's given them the benefit of the
doubt, just for kicks.

Are you playing outdoors?  If so, the first ball contact rules are
substantially different from I've just beat to death in a
thread entitled "The hard-driven ball myth" and available here:

Outdoors, double contacts on the first ball are legal in one attempt
to play the ball with the following caveat: provided finger action is
not used.  That is, outdoors, first ball sets can't be doulbe
contacted outdoors like they can indoors.

Outdoors, in defense of a hard-driven ball (off an attack or spike,
but no off a serve), you can momentarily lift or push the ball, but
you can't double contact it while using your fingers to push/direct
the ball.

For more indoor/outdoor rules differences, consult my web page:

Best Regards,
                  Todd H.
USAV Regional Referee, Great Lakes Region, Palatine, IL
Todd's Volleyball Referee Page
"So you're a Ref and an engineer? Oh that explains it...."

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