Lift in Volleyball: Explained (Quick)

Have you ever been called for a lift during a volleyball match and wondered what exactly that meant?

Here’s what is lift in volleyball…

What is a Lift in Volleyball?

A lift is an illegal contact in volleyball that occurs when a player contacts the ball with their hands and holds it for too long, or when they catch, pick up, or throw the ball.

This gives the player an unfair advantage by allowing them to control the ball for a longer period of time. If a lift is called, the opposing team will be awarded a point.

Here are some examples of what constitutes a lift in volleyball:

  • A player contacts the ball with their hands and holds it for more than a split second.
  • A player catches, picks up, or throws the ball.
  • A player tips the ball with their fingers, rather than hitting it with a flat hand.

The key is to have a quick, continuous motion. As soon as the ball touches you, redirect it up and over the net. If it comes to rest in your hands or sits in your arms, that’s a lift.

If you are unsure whether or not a contact is a lift, it is always best to err on the side of caution and let the referee make the call.

What is the Purpose of the Lift in Volleyball:

The purpose of the lift rule in volleyball is to prevent players from gaining an unfair advantage by controlling the ball for too long.

If a player is able to hold the ball for a long period of time, they can then set it up for a perfect hit, or they can pass it to a teammate in a strategic location. This would give the offensive team a significant advantage, and so the lift rule is in place to prevent this from happening.

Here are some of the specific reasons why the lift rule is important in volleyball:

  • Prevents players from gaining an unfair advantage by controlling the ball for too long.
  • Helps to keep the game flowing smoothly.
  • Ensures that both teams have a fair chance to score points.
  • Makes the game more challenging and exciting to play and watch.

The lift rule is an important part of the rules of volleyball, and it helps to make the game fair and competitive. If you are playing volleyball, it is important to be aware of the lift rule and to avoid making illegal contacts with the ball.

Is it called a lift or a carry in volleyball?

The term “lift” is more commonly used in volleyball, but both “lift” and “carry” refer to the same illegal contact.

The terms “lift” and “carry” are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between the two. A lift is typically considered to be a more deliberate act, while a carry is often seen as a more accidental act.

For example, if a player accidentally touches the ball with their fingers and then immediately releases it, this would likely be called a carry. However, if a player deliberately holds the ball for a few seconds before releasing it, this would likely be called a lift.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to call a lift or a carry is up to the referee. The referee will use their judgment to decide whether the player’s contact with the ball was deliberate or accidental.


So there you have it, a quick explanation of what constitutes a lift in volleyball and why it’s called. Now you know to keep that ball nice and clean on the way up, to avoid scooping underneath it or carrying it for too long after contact.