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NCAA Rule Change Shakes the Volleyball Community

Volleyball is one of the fastest growing sports within the United States and the games are intense. It’s a game of skill; from passing, blocking, hitting, to setting- it all requires skill. A major rule change was announced on February 20th that, in the opinion of many, changes the sport: double contacts are now allowed.

Courtesy of the University of Wisconsin

This raises a lot of questions from spectators, coaches, and players alike of what this means for the game of volleyball. Let’s start simple: what is a double contact? In volleyball, this term is when a player will “contact the ball more than once with any part of the body in a single attempt on a team's second contact when the ball is played to a teammate,” according to the NCAA. Basically, a team gets three touches on the ball before they send it over the net, typically a bump, set, and a spike. The set, which is the second contact, is where the rule was changed. Setters, the position that sets the ball, is the one who will handle the second contact and send it to a hitter. When setting before the rule changed, the setter would have to have both hands touch the ball at the same time when they set. If they touch the ball at different points, it would result in a double contact call, giving the opposing team the point. Now, this is no longer an issue.

Courtesy of Stanford University

Now that we have the basics of setting covered, why did the NCAA change this rule? In their release about the new rule change, the committee is hoping that it will “promote continuous play,” which would make the game more enjoyable for spectators and players. In past seasons with this rule in effect, the game would stop for the opposing team of the double contact to serve, or for officials to review the set if the call was challenged. Now, without this call, there will be less stoppages. 

People are split over this decision on whether they think it is a good idea or not. Many setters are not happy with the news, some on TikTok say their training is for nothing. Some coaches believe that this will lead to sloppier setting and less skill being put into this part of volleyball since it is not as technical anymore. Others believe it will not have as big of an impact because they believe that the good setters will still set as they should be since that is the most effective way. 

Via Getty Images

The volleyball community is split over this new rule, and it will be interesting to see how much of an impact it will have once the collegiate season starts in August. The NCAA does not think the impact will be too great, but many are uneasy about the change.

Edited by Emilia Morello

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