OK coaches. Let’s talk volleyball overlap rule. We need to get things sorted out.
If we don’t accomplish anything else with our players, we should at least be able to teach them the rules of the game. Some of you out there are coming up a bit short in that regard. At least this is the case when it comes to the overlap rules. I keep coming across players who have some serious misconceptions.
It’s very simple folks.
Part 1 – A back row player cannot be closer to the net than the player immediately in front of them in the rotation. This means the player in 1 cannot be closer to the net than the player in 2. Same for the player in 6 and the one in 3, and for the player in 5 and the one in 4.
Part 2 – The middle player in a row must not be nearer to the left sideline than the left player or nearer to the right sideline than the right player. That means the player in 3 cannot be closer to the left sideline (looking toward the net) than the player in 4, or closer to the right sideline than the player in 2. Similarly, the player in 6 cannot be closer to the left sideline than the player in 5, or closer to the right sideline than the player in 1. The one exception is that if the player in 1 is serving. They are not technically in the court so there is no potential overlap.
See the diagram below for clarity.
Note, there is NO DIAGONAL OVERLAP!
See FIVB Rule 7.4. (page 25 of the linked PDF). Please note that how exactly overlap is judged based on foot position may not match what you think. See page 66 of the linked rules for diagrams.
Why does this come to mind? Because when I coached in Sweden I found out at least some of my players didn’t know the rules. This is in a professional league! I had a sneaking suspicion based on some little things I saw in a couple matches. One practice solidified it, though. We’re talking players with many years of experience. My team had members who played in the top US collegiate volleyball conferences and players who have represented their countries at the youth levels.
I ran into the same issue when I was coaching in Exeter. Admittedly, the experience level there was considerably more diverse and limited.
I even ran into this issue in the early years of my coaching with another member of the staff of the first NCAA Division I program I coached for. She had been an All-American in her playing days!
One other thing. It is until the actual contact of the ball that the overlap rules apply. That is considered the serve, not the toss.
Please, please can we commit ourselves to teaching our players the rules properly?
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