Volleyball is a sport that requires using your hands constantly and consistently. This could lead to hand fatigue and even to some sorts of bruises.
This is a reason many people consider wearing gloves while playing or practicing.
In this article, I breakdown whether it is legal to wear those gloves in actual volleyball games, as well as the kinds of gloves you should consider depending on the situation you are dealing with.
Are gloves legal in volleyball games?
Although wearing gloves is not completely illegal in volleyball, many players prefer to do without them because it affects their touch and feel for the ball!
For example, the official balls used in all competitions have dimples in the panels of the ball to aid direction and control …
Wearing gloves in such circumstances would be a disadvantage because it would rob a player of direct contact of the ball on their fingers, blunting their accuracy and precision!
Some people do wear special gloves to ensure that they cannot be used of palming the ball, which is illegal (catching and holding the ball is not permitted in volleyball, and to ensure that a ball is not held for more than a split second, it is forbidden to use open palms to hit it.)
Important Tip: There are some gloves that are specifically designed to help your training and improve your skills. These Volleyball Gloves for example will help you train yourself without the need of a partner.
The general rule is that any equipment that is essentially protective in nature can be used. However, any gear that helps improves an athlete’s performance is not only against the rules but is contrary to the entire ethos of the sport.
What gloves can you wear for volleyball?
There is a difference between the type of gloves that can be worn when practicing the sport and during games itself.
For example, there are special setter gloves (like these ones at Amazon) which actually have suction pads on the palms of the hand so that the skin is completely covered and the ball can be controlled better.
While these gloves are ideal for practice and help protect a player from injuries whilst mastering the key techniques of the game, they would never be allowed in a game itself because they would provide an unfair advantage.
However, on the other side, the fingerless-type gloves which have been developed can be worn in games as an alternative to finger splints.
Many players, even the professionals, will wear splints, either to protect fingers and hands which have already been injured, or in order to prevent injuries occurring in the first place.
Such gloves can be worn because they have an open palm, so players cannot cheat by palming the ball -a manoeuvre that is illegal in volleyball.
And because the purpose of wearing such gloves is to guard against injury and associated conditions like arthritis they can be worn because there is no intention to boost performance by doing so.
Why should you wear volley gloves?
Training gloves help to improve specific skills. For example, special setting gloves are available which involve less hand contact whilst setting…
This means that the player has to think less about the stability of their hands and can instead concentrate on the various actions involved in setting.
They are typically made of a mixture of leather and rubber, and are solid and firm. A good pair can last for several years.
They come with a wrist part with a hook and loop design to fit the hands better, and will also have soft inners made of cotton which are ventilated to protect the palms of the hands.
A further advantage of using gloves when training is that they help to prevent injuries, particularly sprains and bruises.
These can be particularly prevalent amongst those who are still leaning the game because they still may not have the right techniques when it comes to passing and spiking the ball properly.
People may also want to consider compression gloves, which are like normal fingerless gloves. And function as an alternative to finger splints.
They are typically made of a combination of nylon and synthetic materials, but have an open palm and leave the fingertips exposed for increased ventilation and traction.
The compression helps counteract pain, swelling and arthritis, whilst helping to maximise grip strength.
Volleyball Gloves features and characteristics …
As stated, there are two basic types of volleyball gloves:
The most common ones are those worn as an alternative to finger splints. They are fingerless with an open palm and are used rather than bind up fingers with tape.
They are made of compression fabrics which allow for freedom of movement, yet at the same time helps offset pain, swelling and arthritis.
Multi-purpose gloves that can be used for a variety of sports. They come in a variety of sizes, and are made of a mixture of materials like nylon and spandex.
Are volleyball gloves the same for all positions?
Volleyball gloves that are used for protection are common to all positions and all ages.
However, as the name suggests the setter gloves used for practice are specific to that position and role.
There are no equivalents for other positions on the court such as blocker, digger, and spiker, arguably because those roles do not rely so much on the ability to control and pass the ball accurately.
Setter practice gloves are made of a combination of leather and rubber, and have specially designed pads on the palms to help with ball control.
Other protection gear to consider …
Knee pads (Like these ones at Amazon) are a good idea, especially for those who are new to the sport, because there can be a fair bit of bruising when hitting the floor.
If you are interested about this, then you can learn more about volleyball knee pads.
Volleyball players may also want to invest in a pair of padded shorts because of the risk of bruised hips. Padded shorts are one way of protecting against this.
Depending on their own individual tastes or needs, players may choose to wear elbow or forearm pads, braces on their ankles and wrists, and thumbs.
Mouthguards are an inexpensive way to protect your teeth and mouth, especially in a sport like volleyball where it is common for a ball to hit a player in the face, especially if it comes from a spike from an opposition player.
For those who wear glasses, goggles should be considered as a means of protecting the lens. And even contact lens wearers might want to consider them as an option.
And all players, no matter how good their eyesight might want to invest in a pair for beach volleyball. Not only will they help to cut out glare, but they can stop sand getting in the eyes.
I highly invite you to learn more about volleyball glasses.
Last, but certainly not least, volleyball players should invest in proper shoes (Check this pair at Amazon). They need to have excellent grip, allow for lateral stability, and, above all protective cushioning to absorb the impact of jarring shocks when people land from a high jump.
Final Thoughts …
Hope this article has answered your questions about the usage of gloves in a sport like volleyball!
At the end of the day, you will end up giving up on using gloves over time simply because you will get used to the feel of the ball which won’t represent a problem for you as times goes by.
So, as a beginner there is no harm if you start using the kinds of gloves I’ve explained above. This will get you started properly and will help your learning process!