The following question was submitted to our blog: “We play ‘water volleyball’ in a swimming pool at a senior recreational club. We are all over 55, and we want to clarify blocking. Because of an injury, one of our players cannot raise his right arm up to block, so he blocks with one hand only. A player on the opposite team says it is illegal to block with just one hand and in turn the player cannot reach over the net to block an attack hit (the third hit is most cases). Everyone I have talked to sees no problem or special restrictions (or rule violations) if only one hand is used in a block instead of the normal two-hand block.

GLENN REID RESPONDS:

Thank you for sending your question for interpretation. Rule 14.1.1 in the Domestic Competition Regulations as Presented by USA Volleyball states, “Blocking is the action of players close to the net to intercept the ball coming from the opponent by reaching higher than the top of the net, regardless of the height of the ball contact.” The rule continues, “Only front-row players are permitted to complete a block, but at the moment of contact with the ball, a part of the body must be higher than the top of the net.”

As you will see, there are no restrictions that would require a two-handed block. Players may use any body part to block (head, shoulder, arms, etc.) as long as some part of the player’s body is higher than the top of the net at the moment of contact. This rule is universal to all levels of volleyball.