Volleyball Positions and Roles On Court: Learn The Basics

Basic Rules of Volleyball

Just like any other game, volleyball requires the player to get familiar with basic skills in order to perform excellently at the sport. Look at the following skills that are necessary for one to attain competence.

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1. Passing

Passing means getting or giving the ball to someone else on your team after it has been served on a hit over the net by an opposing team. Remember that your team can not return the ball without a powerful pass.

  • Forearm volleyball passes direct the ball in a strategic manner just like overhead passing.

2. Setting

The team leader is usually in charge of setting the ball. It is the role of the setter to get the ball over the volleyball net, mostly with a spike. The spiking sets the ball high in the air and ready to be spiked back by a team player.

3. Spiking

Spiking means slamming the ball in the downward motion across the volleyball net to the other team’s side. Spiking may be difficult to return, especially when done well. Spiking helps a team accumulate volleyball points quickly.

4. Blocking

Blocking is the most expendable of the skills, besides adding a great dimension to the game; it also keeps them on their toes. One can jump up and block the opponent’s attack before it crosses the volleyball net, which will give the team points.

5. Digging

Digging helps save a team from an offensive spike. One has to keep the ball from hitting the floor at all costs. One needs to dive and pass the ball from a steep trajectory.

6. Serving

Serving can generate a point instantly, offset a game or ignite an offense. A well-done serve always puts the opponent at a disadvantage. It is important to serve in order to score points rather than getting the ball into the opponent’s court.

Volleyball Positions and Roles In Court: The 6 Positions

1. The Setter

The setter is a position where the player is a leader on the court in terms of play flow. A team has three touches available to them in order to get the ball back over the net and grounded on the opponent’s side.

The setter after receiving the ball through a pass, places the ball in the air well for the third touch by their attacking fellow teammate.

The setter watches the flow of the game from the assigned area when his/ her team is on defence. The setter must always be ready to defend their area from attack either at the net or in the back court, this means that they must be quick to change from the defence back to the offense by getting into position to receive and set the ball.

 The setter should:

  • Have the ability to foresee the flow of play from where the ball is going to be, and what players to set for the attack.
  • Be accurate, consistent and in control  when it comes to the play so that the attackers have the best chance to ground the ball on the opponent’s court
  • Be swift to move about the court in transition.

2. The Hitter (Middle Blocker)

The middle blocker changes to the middle hitter depending on whether their team is on offence or defence.

On offense, the hitter attacks close to the setter. The hitter must be able to foresee and adjust their approach to the ball for the third touch by reading the setters actions well.

The middle blocker must also be able to keep an eye on the opposing team’s defensive set, up in order to set the ball high- chance grounding area. This could be where the team feels that they are not well defended by a particular player or in an open volleyball court.

On defence, the middle blocker, blocks the opposing teams attack. The blocker also has a responsibility on the teams’ zone 3 and also is needed to move from side to side to assist with a double(two players)  blocking an attack from the sides of the court adjacent to the net.

The middle blocker or hitter should:

  • Have a good height and jumping ability for both blocking and getting above the defender’s blocks to meet the ball at a high point.
  • Have great evaluation skills to foresee the opposing team’s attack.
  • Have the ability to adjust their movements in relation to the setter’s actions.

3. The Outside hitter

Outside hitters can play at the back row and front row. They score several numbers of points by simply attacking the third touch. They are the ones who receive the ball during the serve (together with the libero)

  • When on offense, the outside hitter goes to the zone 4 area (left side of the net), in order to receive the ball from the setter.

The outside hitter should be able to judge and change their movements so that they are able to meet the set and observe the opposing team’s defensive weakness while attacking.

On defence, the outside blocker becomes the key blocker in relation to the middle blocker. When on the front row, they are to block the attack down the side-line. (The middle blocker should be protecting the centre of the court continuously)

 The outside hitter should:

  • Have an excellent passing ability in the first touch when receiving the serve.
  • Have unmatched height and jumping ability for blocking and attacking.
  • Be all-rounded volleyball player who can play both at the back row and front row depending on where the need arises.

 4. Opposite

This position plays as the name suggests. `Opposite” from the setter in the rotation. The opposite should be a well- rounded player with skills for both offence and defence. He/ she should be competent in all aspects of the game.

When on offence the opposite should attack from the right side of the court. They may also have the role of backup setter when the main setter is not present. The opposites are rarely involved with service and passing.

On defence, the opposite should block on the right-hand side and service as the main blocker against the opposing team’s outside hitter. The opposite also protects against attacks down the right side-line and works simultaneously with the middle blocker on the double blocks.

  The opposite player:

  • Should be an all rounded player
  • Should have a good ball control for possible sets
  • Should have great jumping abilities for blocks and attacks

5. Libero

The libero is a position in volleyball focuses mainly on defence. The libero usually plays in the back row (zone 6) and wears a different jersey to distinguish him/her from the rest of the team members.

The Libero is allowed to go in and out of games in order to replace the back row player at the coach’s call without necessarily having to count it as a formal substitution. The libero substitutes the hitter (middle blocker) in the back row.

On offence, the libero passes the ball after the receiving the serve or defends the attacks from the opponents. The libero is not allowed to attack the ball above the net or serve the ball to the opposing team.

The libero is the defender, actually the best defender of the team. He/she is usually equipped with exceptional skills to react to the opposing team’s attacks.

The libero needs:

  • To have heightened reflexes and reaction time.
  • To have the ability to foresee where the opposing team’s attackers are going to hit the ball.
  • To possess great leadership skills to be able to direct players during the play.

The libero is not allowed to block or set a ball for the hitter in front of the court. They are also not allowed to hit the ball above the net and serve.

6. Defensive specialist

The defensive specialist plays defence in the back row. The defensive specialist usually comes in for the middle hitters or the front row players who may not be having good ball control skills.

  • These players can only come in the game on one spot in the rotation.

The defensive specialist should be able to:

  • Establish good floor skills by being able to be in the right spot at the right time. One is able to dig the ball successfully if they are at where the attacker is hitting the ball.
  • Establish a good body position to be able to move comfortably when making a move. With a good body position, the defensive specialist may not need to make major adjustments when playing.
  • Establish good posture, the body posture should be medium if one is defending an off-speed shot. The body posture should be low if one is defending a hard driven spike. Remember that when playing defense the body posture should be high if the ball has been deflected by a block.

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