Volleyball lines: centerline, attack line, 10 foot line, and end line explained

There are several lines that you need to know in volleyball. If you don’t know them, you might make a line violation and this can result in a point for the other team. Therefore it is essential that you study them. Let’s dive in.

Centerline in volleyball

This line runs under the net. This line and the net separate the two teams. Players are not allowed to cross this line except if a part of the hand or foot still is on or just above the line. This makes sure that the players don’t hinder the other team. It is therefore allowed to set your feet over the line as long as a part of the foot still touches the line. Given that this line is not that wide, it is easy to get over it when you are in motion so it is necessary to be careful when doing this. This line is 29’6” wide and often a bright color is used for this so that it is clear where the line starts. Given that the net hangs just above it, it is quite hard to miss this line.

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A line judge often looks at these lines to make sure that players don’t cross them. Doing so is an unforced error and should be avoided at all costs. Players are allowed to nudge their team members if they see that they are about to get over this line. This is not a common error given that the net provides an additional indicator of where this line runs. 

Attack line in volleyball or 10-foot line volleyball 

This line is parallel with the net and as the name suggest, it is about 10 foot from the net. It separates the 3 first-row players that are standing just behind the net from the 3 last row players that are standing farther down the court. Players in the last row are not allowed to push the ball over the net once they are over this line. This makes sure that not all the players can stand behind the net when a team is attacking. This would make it too easy to score a point. 

Furthermore, liberos are not allowed to use an overhand pass (or assist) to front row players once they have crossed this line. This would result in an illegal attack and a point for the other team. The libero can use an underhand pass (using their platform or folded hands) in this situation though. The hitters have to be aware of this and pass it to someone else if they still can. The goal is also to make sure that it is not too easy to attack. So while players on the back row can cross these lines, it adds some limitations to what they can do to balance out the game.

The area before this line is generally called the front zone. Behind the line is the backcourt.  It is called an attack line because hitters often use this line as a reference to start their jump when they spike. It can also offer a reference point for other players so that they can find the correct position on the court. Players often don’t have a lot of time to move so having a visual point that you can rely on can be great. 

This line has the same color as the rest of the court. Once again the line judge is checking if players don’t cross this line without it being allowed. The players on the second row can set a foot on it but are not allowed to cross it if they want to attack. 

In some instances, lines can be quite slippery as they might hold a lot of sweat. Therefore you have to be careful when you cross them. Players often use a towel to clean these. It depends on the court and the sports arena as a lot of different materials are being used to mark these lines.

End line in volleyball 

This line shows the end of the court. If players of the other team drop the ball behind this line, the other team scores a point. Therefore they can’t use too much force when they serve or hit the ball. The defending team is allowed to retrieve the ball behind this line if one of their own players pushed the ball over it. In fact, they can even kick the ball if needed. Some sports arenas don’t have a lot of space behind the end line so it is not always possible to keep the ball in play once it is behind the end line.

Servers have to stand behind this line to start a rally. With the advent of jump serves, players that serve are jumping over this line while they are setting and often land inside the court. The goal is to get closer to the net so that more power can be added to the ball. The line judge has to make sure that the players cross this line at the correct moment and stop the serve if the player crossed it too early. 

 This line is about 29’5” from the center of the court. The court should always have the same dimensions in official competitions.

The court dimensions stay the same for high school, college players, and also professional players use the same size of the court. In some sports arenas other lines are visible as well on the court as they might use it for basketball as well. This can make it quite confusing and you have to check the court lines before the match start. 

High line volleyball 

This is actually a beach volleyball term and has nothing to do with the court of indoor volleyball. It just means that you are able to hit the ball when you are at your highest point during your jump. This allows the attacker to add a lot of force to the ball and makes it harder for the defender to dig the ball. The setter has to give a great pass for this to happen. Timing your jump is essential and this can only be done by more advanced players. 

It is therefore not an actual line on the court but an imaginary line that is different for each player as some players can jump higher than others. It can also evolve during the match as players might jump lower once they are tired. It just indicates that the player should try to hit the ball when they are at their highest point as this allows them to attack more efficiently. Players can practice this and try to coordinate with the setter so that they can score more points. Jumping in the sand is not that easy so players often perform several drills so that they can jump higher. Having the right jumping technique is essential. You also have to stretch out your hand so that you can reach higher.

The term is generally not used in indoor volleyball but could get introduced as more players switch between indoor and beach volleyball.

 Line violation in volleyball 

The line judge checks if players don’t make mistakes. They have flags and hand signals and can show the first referee that a mistake has been made. The main mistake is crossing the center line without having a part of your feet of hand on or over it. This often happens as players are running and are unable to stop in time. 

Another line violation is players from the second row that are crossing the 10-foot line and still attacking. The libero also can’t use their hands to pass to the players on the front row once they have crossed this line.

The server can also go over the line. This is not allowed when they are touching the ball. They can land inside the court after their serve though. 

The players are allowed to play outside the court lines as long as they limit it to 3 passes per attack and don’t drop the ball outside of the lines. 

These are all small nuances and in international games often 4 line judges are needed to check all of this. Given that volleyball is very fast-paced it can be hard to see everything. We could see more technology being introduced to help the referee in the future. 

A line violation often results in a point for the other team. Given that these are generally unforced errors, players should avoid these at all costs. Especially a centerline violation is something that professional players don’t make often as they are used to using the net as a reference point. Rallys can be very intense and players might look too much at the ball and ignore the lines on the court. Their team members might try to warn them but it could be too late. Line judges are on top of this and errors are often spotted. 

To conclude, we can state that there are 3 main lines on an indoor volleyball court, centerline, 10-foot line, and an end line. These lines limit what players can do and indicate where the court ends. It is important that players take these into consideration as a violation can lead to a point for the other team.