What is a Volley in Soccer? (Explanation + Examples) (2024)

In the beautiful game, few sights are as exhilarating as a perfectly executed volley.

The volley in soccer is a striking technique that allows players to connect with the ball in mid-air, unleashing a powerful and precise shot or pass without letting it touch the ground.

What is a Volley in Soccer? (Explanation + Examples) (1)

It’s a skill that epitomizes the blend of athleticism, technique, and split-second decision-making required to excel on the pitch.

In this article, we explore the essence of the volley in soccer, examining its definition, characteristics, and the factors that make it a thrilling spectacle for players and fans alike.

Table Of Contents

  1. What does it mean to volley a soccer ball?
  2. How do you volley a soccer ball?
  3. Which players have scored great volleys in competitive matches?
    • 1. Zinedine Zidane
    • 2. Marco van Basten
    • 3. Maxi Rodriguez
  4. Is it easy to execute a volley in a soccer game?
  5. Can a volley serve as a defensive skill?
  6. Wrap up

What does it mean to volley a soccer ball?

The term “volley” in soccer is derived from the sport of tennis.

In tennis, a volley refers to hitting the ball before it bounces on the ground.

Similarly, in soccer, a volley involves striking the ball while it is in mid-air, without allowing it to touch the ground.

The term “volley” was adopted in soccer to describe this specific type of strike because of the similarity in the action of hitting the ball in mid-air without it touching the ground.

What is a Volley in Soccer? (Explanation + Examples) (2)

It’s been widely accepted and used by players, coaches, and fans to describe this particular technique.

It conveys the idea of striking the ball cleanly and decisively, creating a sense of power and precision associated with the technique.

Over time, the word “volley” has become ingrained in soccer’s history and is now commonly used to describe a variety of mid-air strikes, ranging from spectacular long-range shots to delicate volleys used for passing or finishing.

More so, the term captures the essence of the technique, evoking images of players connecting with the ball in mid-air, producing thrilling and memorable moments on the soccer field.

How do you volley a soccer ball?

Of course the exact sequence of steps to execute a volley in soccer won’t be the same each and every time, there’s a general technical standard that one can aim for.

Follow the steps below to get your volleying technique up to scratch:

  • Position yourself well with your side facing the target, ensuring that your shoulder is aligned in the same direction.
  • Take a step towards the goal, keeping your planted foot pointing directly at the target while your body maintains a sideways orientation.
  • As you step, remember to open up your legs, allowing your thigh to be drawn back, generating power for your strike.
  • Prepare for the strike by locking your ankle, ensuring that your toe is pointing straight down. Aim to strike the ball in the middle to upper middle area, which will result in a straight or downward trajectory. Avoid striking underneath the ball, as that’ll cause it to rise.
  • Follow through with your motion, allowing your shoulders and body to rotate and face the target, emphasizing a complete finish to your strike.

Which players have scored great volleys in competitive matches?

There have been countless goals of fantastic quality scored over the last couple of decades.

But here we’re going to be taking a closer look at the most iconic soccer volleys from players which have managed to find the back of the goalkeeper’s net.

First up, we have…

1. Zinedine Zidane

In the thrilling UEFA Champions League encounter between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen which took place in 2002, a goal unfolded that undoubtedly deserves its place at the top of the list.

What transpired next was a truly extraordinary moment – a marvellous volley that left spectators spellbound, defying belief with its sheer brilliance.

Take a look at the strike in the video below:

2. Marco van Basten

During the captivating clash between the Netherlands and the Soviet Union in the 1988 European Championship final, a goal unfolded that etched its place in the records of soccer history as one of the greatest ever witnessed.

Marco van Basten, a player renowned for his exceptional talent, showcased his true class with a moment of brilliance that transcended the game itself.

Here’s footage of this particular volley:

3. Maxi Rodriguez

In a thrilling encounter between Argentina and Mexico at the FIFA World Cup in 2006, an extraordinary goal unfolded during the tense moments of overtime.

Maxi Rodriguez, with his remarkable skill and precision, produced a goal that will forever be remembered as one of the greatest in the history of the World Cup.

Its sheer brilliance and significance elevated the game to new heights of excitement and left an indelible mark on football enthusiasts worldwide.

Marvel at this stunning left-footed volley goal here:

Is it easy to execute a volley in a soccer game?

Executing a volley in soccer is far from simple.

It demands extensive practice on the training ground, as controlling a soccer ball in motion is considerably more challenging than one at rest.

While a half volley may offer a slightly easier alternative to a full volley, both techniques necessitate diligent attention and dedicated training.

Scoring a volley requires not only flawless ball control but also the ability to guide it past the goalkeeper with precision.

Similarly, when attempting to clear the ball from a dangerous situation using a volley, it’s crucial to maintain a sharp focus on the ball and ensure a solid connection.

What is a Volley in Soccer? (Explanation + Examples) (3)

Mistiming a volley can quite easily lead to an embarrassing outcome, which as a result may even leave one red-faced and regretful.

You’ll definitely want to make sure you practice this move over and over again in order to avoid the aforementioned scenario!

Can a volley serve as a defensive skill?

While volleys are commonly associated with offensive skills and the domain of forwards, they can also prove to be a valuable asset for defenders to cultivate.

In the event that the ball hurtles into the penalty area, defenders who possess the ability to control and clear the ball via a volley can be immensely helpful in averting danger.

Compared to attacking players, defenders don’t need to exert as much precision and control over volleys.

Their primary objective is to remove the ball from the vicinity, rather than directing it towards the goal.

In fact, some defenders strategically direct volleys out of play, allowing their teammates to regroup and establish a defensive formation in anticipation of a set play.

In essence, the significance of volleys transcends both ends of the field.

By mastering the art of striking the ball while it is in mid-air, players increase their effectiveness in both attacking and defensive scenarios, enhancing their impact on the game as a whole.

Wrap up

As we conclude our exploration into the captivating world of volleys in soccer, we have gained a deeper appreciation for the artistry, precision, and versatility that this striking technique entails.

From the audacious and thunderous long-range volleys to the delicate and subtle flicks, the volley has solidified its place as one of the most captivating and thrilling aspects of the beautiful game.

If you’re interested in reading more about soccer’s fascinating technical concepts, then have a look through the following articles on our blog:

  • what a nutmeg in soccer means;
  • what a bicycle kick in soccer is all about; and
  • what a false 9 in soccer represents
What is a Volley in Soccer? (Explanation + Examples) (4)

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Samuel Waihenya

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Samuel Waihenya is 27 years of age and has been watching, discussing, as well as playing soccer for well over 10 years.

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What is a Volley in Soccer? (Explanation + Examples) (2024)


What is a volley? ›

a(1) : the flight of the ball (as in volleyball or tennis) or its course before striking the ground. also : a return of the ball before it touches the ground. (2) : a kick of the ball in soccer before it rebounds.

What is the volley rule? ›

The ball must be returned over the net in 3 hits or less. It is legal to contact the ball with any part of the body as long as the ball rebounds immediately. It may not "lay" against the body or forcefully kicked. If a player touches the ball or the ball touches a player, it is considered as a play on the ball.

What is an example of volley? ›

Examples from Collins dictionaries

He volleyed the ball spectacularly into the far corner of the net. McNeil volleyed more effectively in the second set. She hit most of the winning volleys. It's still not known how many died in the volleys of gunfire.

What is a volley hit? ›

A volley in tennis is a shot in which the ball is struck before it bounces on the ground. Generally a player hits a volley while standing near the net, although it can be executed farther back, in the middle of the tennis court, or even near the baseline. The word derives from M. French volée meaning flight.

What is a volley of questions? ›

a large number of bullets or arrows fired at the same time. A volley is also a lot of things done or said at the same time: a volley of questions.

Can you kick a throw in in soccer? ›

A player cannot throw the ball in and then kick it.

Can you throw a ball in for a goal in soccer? ›

A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in: if the ball enters the opponents' goal – a goal kick is awarded. if the ball enters the thrower's goal – a corner kick is awarded.

What does it mean to hit a volley? ›

volley | American Dictionary

(in tennis and other sports) a hit to return a ball before it touches the ground: I was ahead in the first game, but then hit a bad volley and a bad forehand.

What is the difference between a volley and a rally? ›

Every point in tennis starts with the serve (technically a volley) that by rule, must be struck from a stationary position behind the baseline. The return of serve, if successful, begins the rally.

What does it mean to volley a ball? ›

In sports, if someone volleys the ball or if they volley, they hit the ball before it touches the ground. He volleyed the ball spectacularly into the far corner of the net. 2. countable noun. A volley of gunfire is a lot of bullets that travel through the air at the same time.

How many is a volley? ›

A volley of bullets, arrows, or rocks describes a large number of them being shot or thrown simultaneously. Another meaning of the noun volley involves just one projectile: a returned tennis ball, usually one that hasn't hit the ground before being smacked by a racket.


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