Starting this season (April 22 in Fuzhou, China, to be exact), the block WILL NOT count as a touch on the FIVB’s international tour. The rule change, which was announced to the players via email, will be tested this season and then reevaluated to see if it’s worth adopting for good.
Here’s the official language:
14.4 Block and Team Hits
14.4.1 A block contact is not counted as a team hit. Consequently, after a block contact, a team is entitled to three hits to return the ball.
Could make things confusing for the players competing both on the international and AVP tours.
A new overhand passing on the first contact rule is also being tested, but the 2014 U-21 and U-23 FIVB Championships in Myslowice and Umag will be the guinea pig events for this rule. It will not be used on the senior tour at this time.
The rule book used to read:
At the first hit of the team, unless it is played overhand using fingers, the ball may contact various parts of the body consecutively, provided that the contacts occur during one action.
But in the rule to be tested, that key segment “unless it is played overhand using fingers” is now absent, allowing for overhand serve reception.
Following through on the FIVB Executive Committee’s long term vision to harmonise the rules of volleyball and beach volleyball, two major rule tests focusing on the block rule and the first hit in beach volleyball will be conducted in 2014.
The first test will study the use of the block rule (14.4), as currently used in volleyball, in all FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour events in 2014. In this year’s FIVB Beach Volleyball Opens, Grand Slams and the Grand Slam Final a block will not be counted as a hit, allowing players a maximum of three hits (in addition to blocking) to return the ball. The existing rule 14.4.1 stipulated that a blocking contact is counted as a team hit.
The second test, which is focused on the first hit of the team, will take place at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U23 and U21 World Championships that will be held in Myslowice, Poland from June 10 to 15 and Larnaca, Cyprus from July 22 to 27 respectively. These two age-group World Championships were selected since the competition conditions are similar to that of senior level tournaments with many players at this age level also competing on the FIVB World Tour.
This ‘first hit’ test will study beach volleyball players’ use of the same first hit action in volleyball (Rule 22.214.171.124) where players will be able to come in contact through overhand action with the fingers, as long as the ball rebounds immediately. Therefore the test will involve the non-application of beach volleyball rule 126.96.36.199.
In both cases, the tests will be used to gather scientific match data to study the impact on the game. Video analyses comparing relevant data from the current picture of the game against data retrieved from the tests will be used and the information analysed according to gender.
The reports will be submitted to a group of FIVB experts to be nominated from the relevant FIVB Commissions for final recommendation to the Executive Committee followed by eventual submission to the 2014 FIVB World Congress that will take place in Milan, Italy from October 31 to November 1.
The Refereeing and Rules of the Game Commissions will conduct the testing over the 2014 season, following a request from the Beach Volleyball Commission in December 2013 to study the impact of the rule changes on the game. With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio a little over two years away, players would have enough time to adjust to the changes if a decision was made to change the rules at the end of the testing period.
With the aim of providing athletes with more opportunities to participate, the FIVB has confirmed a total of 10 double-gender Grand Slams for the 2014 World Tour season, supplemented by a further six double-gender and three single-gender Open tournaments. This year’s World Tour represents a significant increase on the 10 Grand Slams and four Open tournaments which featured along with the World Championships in 2013.
February 19th, 2014
Apparently, there’s a new beach volleyball rule to be tested this year.
To sum it up…
A block contact is not counted as a team hit. Consequently, after a block contact, a team is entitled to three hits to return the ball.
Take note, this new rule will be used at all FIVB 2014 World Tour events.