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Blabby Abby: College volleyball changing for the worse

The NCAA has recently made the change to allow a “double” during a game of volleyball. As an ex-volleyball player, the rule change is going to alter the flow of the game and potentially the futures of many aspiring professional players.

A double contact in volleyball is defined as when “the player touches the ball twice in a row, or the ball touches two parts of the player’s body in succession.” The new rule change allows for a double contact to be made. Although a frustrating call to end a point during a match, the rule change is huge for the game’s outcome and the duration of play during a volley.

I played volleyball for a total of eight years, including the fall and spring seasons as an outside hitter. Although the rule change is more tailored toward the setter position, it will still affect every position on the court in its own way.

One common misconception is the ball is allowed to go over the net on a double contact. That is not the case and the double is only legal when played to a teammate. Still, the rule affects everyone on the court. 

The first change is another reason to not yell at the referee. A call for a double really could depend on the referee of the game and how much spin was on the ball after a set. I can recall just about every time I yelled, “Double?” in anger at a referee. It was a miracle I never got a yellow card.

The biggest reason for the change was to “allow more consistency during the game.” I disagree with this reason entirely. Setters have spent countless hours perfecting a set with no spin on the ball, making it easy for the hitter to send over the net. Those hours of work are nearly for nothing now, and while becoming a setter still requires a lot of skill and practice, it’s now easier for anyone to take that position. 

The setter is arguably the most important position on the court. They set up every hit and are the bridge from the pass to the attack. More often than not, setters have to take a difficult pass and turn it into something that can score. They have to read hitters, listen to everyone on the court and make quick decisions during a game. While these aspects of the setting position stay the same, the actual action of setting now becomes a second thought and can make the game more difficult for hitters.

As an outside hitter, hitting a ball with a lot of spin is extremely difficult. Although the rule is meant to make the game flow better, this change is going to send balls out and into the net. 

I am also confused about this change as it only applies to college volleyball. Practicing during high school still requires that perfect spinless set. Those who are looking to play professionally have to adjust back after playing for years without worrying about the spin on the ball. This could disrupt a player’s journey to play professionally and I would go as far as to argue this disruption could cost them their position.

With this being said, there are some positives to this rule change. The most obvious is if a non-setter takes the second ball, there is a lesser chance of losing the point. This can still affect the gameplay and could cost the team a point if the hitter does not score, but it at least has the opportunity to keep the game rolling. 

Although my volleyball years are over, as an avid watcher of volleyball I think the game is going to change. The game should still be enjoyable to watch, and it isn’t a rule change that will make me stop watching. Despite this, I think many players of the game are unhappy with the outcome of this rule and while the game itself might still flow, the career of the player might come to a screeching halt. 

Abby Jenkins is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Abby know by tweeting her @abbyjenks18 or emailing her at

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