What is a Lift in Volleyball?: Breaking Down the Basics

by | Jun 12, 2023 | Volleyball Questions, Advice & Skills

Have you ever been in the middle of a heart-pounding volleyball match, fully absorbed at the moment, and suddenly heard the referee’s whistle followed by the words “lift called!” leaving you scratching your head and wondering, “What is a lift in volleyball?”

If you’re nodding along, you’re in the right place. And even if you’re not, stick around.

Trust me; you’ll want to know this.

You see, understanding the concept of “lift” in volleyball can make a world of difference in your game. It’s like a secret weapon that can turn the tide of a match in your favor.

In the fascinating world of volleyball, a game bursting with unexpected twists and adrenaline-rushing turns, “lift” is a term that often raises eyebrows, especially for the uninitiated.

And, let’s be honest, even seasoned players sometimes grapple with this tricky little rule.

Why? Because this “lift” rule can be as elusive as a wily opponent’s surprise attack.

So, what exactly is a lift in volleyball?

Glad you asked! At its core, it involves a type of ball contact that’s considered…wait for it…illegal. Yes, you read it right! An illegal move that can cost you valuable points and, worse still, a potential victory. But don’t panic yet. By the end of this comprehensive guide, you’ll not only know the ins and outs of a lift in volleyball but also how to avoid falling into its dreaded trap.

So, buckle up! You’re in for an exciting and enlightening journey into the depths of one of volleyball’s most misunderstood rules.

Understanding the Lift in Volleyball

You’ve been eager to unravel the mystery of the term “lift” in the volleyball world. Well, let’s untangle it together!

Definition of a “Lift” in Volleyball

  • The crux of the matter: A “lift” or “carry” in volleyball refers to an instance when a player has prolonged contact with the ball. That’s the crux! The word to remember here is ‘prolonged.’ Quick and clean hits are the heart and soul of volleyball. Extended contact, like holding or cradling the ball, is a no-no—it’s an illegal hit.

When is a Lift Usually Called in a Volleyball Game?

  • Catch and Throw vs. Hit: A lift often makes an unwelcome appearance during scenarios like receiving a hard-hit ball or setting up for an attack. You’re inviting a lift call if you’re attempting to catch and throw the ball over the net instead of cleanly hitting it. The rule is simple: in volleyball, always ‘hit,’ never ‘hold.’

What Does the Volleyball Rulebook Say About Lifts?

  • Rulebook insights: According to the volleyball rulebook, a lift occurs when the ball comes to rest during contact with the player. Yes, even a split-second pause can earn you a lift call. Tricky, right?

Fingers Together, Overhand Technique: Another nugget from the rulebook – a lift is more likely to be called if the ball is contacted with the fingers apart and in an underhand position. So, if you want to dodge those dreaded lift calls, keep those fingers together when making contact with the ball and use an overhand technique.

What is a Lift in Volleyball?

Identifying a Lift vs a Carry in Volleyball

We’ve demystified what a “lift” is. Now, let’s play another round of volleyball detective and decode the difference between a “lift” and a “carry.” Is there a difference, or are they just two sides of the same coin?

Comparing a Lift and a Carry

  • Same Same but Different: In a casual conversation, we often use “lift” and “carry” interchangeably in volleyball. Both are violations that involve prolonged contact with the ball, but there are subtle differences.

What Differentiates a Lift from a Carry in Volleyball?

  • Understand the Nuances: The key lies in the direction of the ball’s trajectory and the nature of the contact. When the ball’s trajectory is upwards, and the contact is underhand, it is generally called a lift. Conversely, a carry is when the trajectory is parallel to the ground or downwards, irrespective of an underhand or overhand contact.
  • Referee’s Discretion: Remember that the interpretation of a lift and carry can be subjective and may depend on the referee’s discretion. It’s all about the “spirit of the game.” The main idea is to prevent players from gaining an undue advantage by holding the ball, irrespective of whether it’s a lift or carry.
  • Keeping it Clean: So remember to ‘hit’ rather than ‘hold’ or ‘carry’ the ball. Quick contact is the mantra of volleyball.

So, now we’ve tackled lifts and carries! No more daunting terms to confuse you in the middle of a thrilling volleyball match!

The Dreaded Lift: Why It’s an Illegal Hit in Volleyball

Just as in any other sport, rules in volleyball exist to maintain fairness and keep the thrill of the game alive. One such rule involves something you’ve now come to know intimately – the “lift.”

Here’s why it’s considered an illegal hit in volleyball and how it could change the game’s course.

The Unwanted Lift: Understanding Why it’s Considered Illegal

  • Breaking Down the Rules: Simply put, a lift is called when a player lets the ball rest in their palms or between their arms. This is not how you’re supposed to contact the ball in volleyball. The rule book insists you must ‘hit’ the ball, not ‘carry’ or ‘lift’ it.
  • In Action: This translates into avoiding prolonged contact with the ball and using a closed fist or the heel of your hand, rather than an open palm, to hit the ball.
  • Note on Variations: Do keep in mind that the intensity with which this rule is enforced can vary between beach volleyball and indoor volleyball.

The Game-Changing Impact of a Lift Call

  • Shifting Scores: A lift call usually results in a point for the opposing team. When you’re playing volleyball, a point can be crucial, and getting called for a lift can change the tide of the game.
  • In the Limelight: It’s not uncommon for renowned volleyball players to have a game-changing lift call against them. These incidents remind us that anyone can get caught in the lift trap, highlighting the importance of understanding the rules.

How is a Lift Called During a Volleyball Game?

Who doesn’t love a little bit of drama and suspense in sports? One of the key figures who add this flavor to any volleyball game is our dear friend, the referee. Let’s dive into their role in identifying and calling a lift.

The Watchful Eyes of the Referee

  • Eagle Eye: The referee is like an eagle, keenly observing each player as they hit, set, pass, and sometimes lift the ball during a game of volleyball. Their main job? To spot any rules broken, and you guessed it, this includes identifying when a lift occurs!
  • On The Job: Not just about observation, a referee must be quick to make decisions and firm when calling violations like lifts. This often requires a sharp understanding of the nuances of the game and the players on the court.

The Process of Calling a Lift

  • Catch and Call: When a referee notices a player lifting the ball, they immediately blow the whistle to stop play. The referee will signal the lift call by pushing their hands up and then releasing them, indicating that the player lifted the ball.
  • Impact on the Game: Once a lift is called, the offending team loses the rally, giving the opposing team a point. This can sometimes be a game-changing moment!

Tips to Avoid Lifting in Volleyball

So, you’ve got the gist of what a lift is and how it’s called in a volleyball game. But wouldn’t it be better to know how to avoid committing a lift in the first place? Absolutely! Let’s jump into the ways you can play the game like a pro while avoiding lifts.

Techniques for Correctly Hitting the Ball

  • Contact is Key: The way you contact the ball has a lot to do with avoiding lifts. Try to hit the ball quickly and cleanly with your palm or closed fist rather than cradling or holding it.
  • In Motion: Always remember to keep your hand in motion when hitting the ball to avoid it being considered a lift. The key is to bounce the ball off your hand, not guide it.
  • Play Smart: Adjust your position so that you don’t have to play the ball awkwardly, which might cause a lift.

No Lifts on Serve Receive

  • Open Palm, Open Mind: When receiving a serve, aim to contact the ball with an open palm and direct it upwards for your teammates to set. This reduces the chances of you lifting the ball.
  • Timing is Everything: Aim to time your contact with the ball such that it’s a quick push rather than a catch and throw. This can be tricky at first, but you’ll get the hang of it with practice.
what is a lift in volleyball

 Practice Makes Perfect

  • Drills: Incorporate drills into your practice sessions that emphasize on correct technique and swift hand movements to avoid lifts.
  • Mind the Rules: The more you play and understand the rules in volleyball, the better you’ll get at avoiding violations like lifts.
  • Feedback is Your Friend: Don’t shy away from seeking feedback from your coach or fellow players on your technique. They can often spot mistakes that you might not notice.

Special Considerations: Lift in Beach Volleyball vs Indoor Volleyball

Volleyball has matured into various forms over the years, with indoor and beach volleyball being the most popular.

But did you know that the rules regarding lifts can vary between these two versions? And the role of certain players on the court, like the libero, also brings in some special considerations. Let’s dive in to understand these nuances better!

Lift Rules in Beach Volleyball

  • Different Standards: In beach volleyball, the rules are somewhat more lenient when it comes to lifts. Under certain circumstances, a player can lift the ball without being called for the violation. This is often because of the greater difficulty in controlling the ball on a sandy surface.
  • Open-handed Underhand Passes: Open-handed underhand passes, which could be considered lifts in indoor volleyball, are often permitted in beach volleyball.

Lift Rules in Indoor Volleyball

  • Stricter Rules: When playing indoor volleyball, the lift rules are stricter. Any prolonged contact with the ball can get called as a lift by the referee.
  • The First Hit Rule: A lift is usually not called on the first hit in volleyball unless it’s very blatant. This rule applies more strictly in indoor volleyball than in beach volleyball.

Role of Special Players – The Libero

  • Special Restrictions: The libero, a defensive specialist in indoor volleyball, has specific restrictions that other players don’t. The libero cannot lift the ball on an overhand finger pass in an attempt to set the ball for an attack above the net.
  • Serve Receive: Libero often plays a crucial role in serving receive and needs to avoid lifting during this process.

Understanding the differences in lift rules between the beach and indoor volleyball, and the specific role of the libero, can help you avoid unnecessary violations and enjoy the game better.

Can You Block the Serve in Volleyball?: To Block or Not to Block

Serving final point…

Playing volleyball, be it indoor or beach volleyball, requires mastering various skills – setting the ball, hitting it, passing it, and, importantly, avoiding lifts.

As a volleyball player, you need to be aware of what constitutes a lift and understand the nuances that differentiate it from a legal hit. By doing so, you not only keep the referee’s whistle at bay but also enhance the flow of the game, contributing to a more enjoyable experience for everyone on the court.

As the game of volleyball continues to mature, there’s always something new to learn and implement.

From understanding the specific rules of a lift in beach volleyball to mastering the art of avoiding a lift during serve receive in indoor volleyball, there are nuances to appreciate. Remember, volleyball isn’t just about the competition; it’s about the joy of playing, the thrill of learning new skills, and the love of the game.

So, keep playing, keep improving, and, most importantly, keep having fun.

If you found this information valuable, why not serve it up to your friends and fellow volleyball enthusiasts? You might just help someone score the winning point in their next game!

Don’t stop here. Explore more on our website, volleyballsportgoodvibes.com, to fuel your passion and elevate your game. We have plenty more articles waiting for you.

See you on the court!