What Is A Lift in Volleyball? [Detailed Guide in 2024]

Micah Drews


Volleyball is an easy sport to learn, which is one of the reasons we love it so much.

To outwit, outmatch, and outmuscle your opponent, you must get the ball over the net in three (or fewer) touches. 

In any competitive sport, the more advanced the player, the more complicated the game becomes.

Higher levels of government pay closer attention to rules and regulations. 

There is a rule called a lift that falls under this category.

What is a lift in volleyball?

What Is A Lift in Volleyball

A lift can also be described as a carry or a held ball in colloquial language. There is no catching or throwing of the ball according to rule 9.2.2 of the FIVB rulebook.

In order to define a lift, we should refer to rule 9.3.3, which is derived from rule 9.2.2.

It is a lift when the ball is caught or thrown and it does not bounce back after being hit.

A pass, set, or hit is the preferred method of moving the ball, rather than catching and throwing it.

Lifts will probably be required if you pause with the ball in your hands or body before it changes direction.

As you watch younger players, lift calls will become more frequent. Competitors at high levels rarely experience this.

In spite of the fact that any player can be called for a lift, the violation is most commonly committed by young setters trying to use their fingers to set the ball. 

The referees make subjective decisions regarding lifts.

A violation of out-of-bounds or illegally touching the net isn’t nearly as objective as an infraction of out-of-bounds.

A volleyball match may result in a lift in the following instances.

Attacking Lift Call

It is unlikely that a lift call will be made at this time.

Defining attacking the ball as moving it toward your opponent is a simple definition.

Lifts while attacking are addressed in the FIVB rules:

The ball may be tipped only if it is cleanly struck during an attack hit and is not thrown or caught.

Players who try to guide a ball with their fingertips rather than a flat hand are likely to lift the ball during an attack. A top-down attack (hitting the ball down) is recommended for attackers. 

Whenever players tip or dink, their fingers must be stiff and strong, or their knuckles should be used.

It is a lift violation if the ball is guided for an extended period of time by a swipe. 

In a sense, there is a strong tip being used to launch a strategic attack.

I don’t think it’s a problem as long as the player isn’t drastically guiding the ball.

A sudden motion should be used to tip the ball toward the target.

Passing Lift Call

There is the possibility of a lift call when passing from a platform.

Young players and beginners who have trouble propulsion and passing the ball often use a lift when they are struggling to propel the ball with their legs.

The importance of teaching young players not to rest the ball on their elbows cannot be overstated.

It is important to have square feet, a flat platform, and plenty of energy in the legs and shoulders to move the ball successfully.

Setting Lift Call

Lifts occur most frequently during the set.

Beginner setters or someone trying to set in relief are almost always responsible for this mistake.

Having soft, smooth hands is important for setters because they can hide catch-and-throws that might otherwise be detected. 

Watching each set to determine whether a lift is committed is a challenging task for referees.

Volleyball referees sometimes have difficulty calling a lift, and referees vary in their willingness to do so. 

Setting the ball in one motion will prevent a lift.

Keep the ball from sinking too low toward your chest or getting too near your face.

Lift violations will undoubtedly occur as a result of the setter’s extensive time in his hands. 

It is advantageous for setters to have strong wrists, arms, and shoulders.

It is beneficial to train these areas during training to minimize the likelihood of lift calls caused by weakness. 

When a lift would not be called

What Is A Lift in Volleyball

When watching volleyball matches, it may appear as though there has been a lift violation, but it hasn’t been called. 

A good example of this is the net battle.

In situations where players from both teams hold the ball together above the net to block a ball, it’s not considered a lift.

Immediately after the ball falls to either side of the net, play resumes.

Indoor volleyball inherited some characteristics of beach volleyball, such as its defensive nature.

Even if a defensive player holds the ball for a moment after receiving a hard ball, it isn’t considered a lift.

A ball that gets stuck in your fingertips cannot be thrown to a teammate, but it is rarely called a lift in that situation.

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Lift Avoidance

What Is A Lift in Volleyball

There can be a lot of frustration and embarrassment involved in being called for a lift.

Any time you touch the ball, you should use proper mechanics to prevent it. 

When a person adopts an effective defensive posture, passes platforms, and sets hand placement, most lift calls can be avoided.

In addition to preventing lifts caused by weakness, strength training can also prevent movements made as a result of weakness. 

Higher-level volleyball players rarely lift because their mechanics have been perfected so much.

For coaches to avoid receiving a devastating lift call in a match, they should stress the importance of proper passing and setting forms.

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Do they still call a lift in volleyball?

Volleyball players are prohibited from lifting the ball while playing. Lifting the ball will not be a problem if you use the proper techniques when passing, setting, and hitting. If your technique is off, you may make a lift occasionally, so knowing why is helpful.

Can you lift first-touch volleyball?

The ball may not be scooped, held, lifted, or pushed by players. An open-handed underhanded motion cannot be used to contact the ball. Additionally, the ball may contact various parts of the body sequentially during the first hit of the team, except when serving.

What’s the difference between lift and carry?

The difference between “lift” and “carry” is that “carry” implies carrying the object after lifting it. In other words, lifting weights means standing on the spot, but carrying weights means walking around with them. A lift-up is an idiomatic expression that means to pick something up.


Volleyball is a game where mistakes are easy to make. You must know the different ways you can get penalized during play because the rules are complex, and there’s no margin for error. 

Consult your coach’s rulebook or the FIVB volleyball rulebook for clarification on lift rules. With time, patience, and practice, your reflexes will improve once you understand the rules.

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About Micah Drews

After playing volleyball at an international level for several years, I now work out and write for Volleyball Blaze. Creating unique and insightful perspectives through my experience and knowledge is one of my top priorities.

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