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.