Volleyball Positions

A Detailed Description of the Different Volleyball Positions

Volleyball is arguably one of the most exciting sports that never gets the attention it deserves. However, in the last few years, things have changed a bit, and all volleyball fans across the globe have every reason to be proud because according to a particular study, volleyball is the world’s fifth most popular sport. Believe it or not, volleyball is way ahead of other popular sports such as NFL, MLB, Soccer and even NBA. With over ninety million fans, we can only hope that this beautiful game will get more exposure and the publicity it deserves.

You might not be a faithful fan of volleyball, but you may have watched the game on television. Maybe your interest has increased perhaps because your son is a member of a high school volleyball team. You, therefore, want to know and understand the rules of the game as well as the different zones on the volleyball court. If you are such an individual, then you are in the right place. In this post, we want to discuss in excruciating details the different volleyball positions and the basic rules in the sport of. Peruse through the article and enhance your knowledge.

So what are the ground rules that govern how volleyball is played?

Whether you are a player, a trainer or just a fan, the prospect of not knowing the basic rules of the game can be an awful experience. Check out for some of these rules.

• It involves six players on a team, with three on the foremost row and three players on the back row of the court.

• A single player should not hit the ball twice in succession. However, a block is not regarded as a hit.

• Maximum of three runs per team.

• The ball might be played off the net during a volley and on a serve.

• A ball that hits the boundary line is in, whereas a ball is out if it hits; an antennae, the pole or referee’s stand. The ceiling above a non-playable zone, the floor completely outside the court or any of the cables outside the pole or the judge’s stand or the net.

• It is legal to contact the ball with any part of the body of the player.

• It is illegal to hold, catch or throw the ball.

• After the serve, the players at the front line may switch positions at the net.

• A player is never allowed to attack or block a serve from either on or inside the 10-foot line.

• During high-level competitions, the officiating personnel can be made up of line judges, the scorer, an assistant scorer and two qualified referees.

Having known these basic regulations, now let us examine the different positions during the actual play.

First and foremost, it is imperative to mention that the volleyball court is 30 feet wide and 60 feet in length. Each side of the net is 30 by 30 feet. A two-inch line borders the court and serves as the out-of-bounds line. During the play, any ball which touches the line is still considered as being inside the court. Typically, the volleyball court is segmented into the attack, which occupies the front zone, and the defense zone which is at the rear end of the court. Bearing in mind that each team is composed of six players, the volleyball positions can be explained through six positions. These includes:

• The Outside hitter, also known as the wing spiker and stays on the left side.

• The setter.

• The right side hitter or the wing spiker and stays on the right side.

• The opposite hitter or attacker.


• The middle blocker.

The setter.

The volleyball setter refers to a player who sets the ball to the hitters. The primary responsibility of the setter is to control offense of the team and create scoring opportunities for his team. As such, the second ball during each possession is meant for the setter. He plays at both rows of the court and therefore, must to be able to defend and serve the ball as well. He or she plays the right back or the right front position. Some of the key attributes of a good setter include, an intelligent decision maker, should master the art of hand setting and bump setting, an eye to see the blockers on the opposing team as well as the ability to create the hardest set with prime accuracy.


This refers to the defensive player at the back zone of the court wearing a different colored jersey and specializes in serve-receive passing, free ball passing, digging and setting. Interestingly, he is the only layer who’s permitted to enter and exit the play without substitution request. He can also replace any of the players during the game, but, always replaces the middle blockers. Even though some leagues in the US permits the libero to serve the ball, they are not allowed to do it. Since he only plays at the back zone of the court, the libero must possess excellent passing and defensive characteristics in the team. He should have incredible serve-receive skills mainly because they often pass the ball over a larger distance compared to the other serve-receivers in the team. Again, such a player should have superb reflexes and anticipation abilities.

volleyball libero

The middle blocker: (middle, center, middle hitter).

These are perhaps the tallest front row players who normally act as the teams’ primary blockers, hitting from the middle of the court. They create a block that either prevents the ball or enables their team to dig up the ball. A blocker must be fast enough to move around quickly across the front of the net and should be exceptional at hitting fast tempo sets.

In some competitive volleyball games, the middle blockers occasionally play defense on a single rotation. Normally, the middle blocker doesn’t have to master defensive abilities since they rarely play any of it. But, at the junior level, the prospect of practicing passing and even blocking is extremely recommended for them. This will greatly improve their overall athleticism, making them better players altogether.

middle blocker volleyball

The outside hitter.

This is a left-side player who passes the ball in the serve-receive role and swings out to hit the ball with an approach adjacent to the outside of the volleyball court. A player in this position typically attacks the balls that the setter plays to the court’s left zone of the court. As such, after the serve, an outside hitter places himself to the left front position. It is crucial to note that outside hitters play at both the back and front rows. In modern and advanced volleyball competitions, this particular individual is responsible for hitting the ten feet line or three-meter line attacks, normally from the central position. Some key responsibilities are passing balls in serve receive, hitting four sets, passing free balls to the setter and perhaps playing left side defense in the back and front rows.

outside hitter volleyball

The wing spiker. (right side hitter)

Also called the wing spiker, a player in this position has the similar responsibilities as the outside hitter. The right side hitter plays at the back and front rows, carrying passes, attacking, serving and defending as well. Right side hitters normally aim to position themselves at the right front playing zone.

positions in volleyball

The opposite hitter.

If you’ve been watching or playing volleyball for a while, then you would agree with me that opposite hitters are the players who scores most points for the team. This player doesn’t need to master passing abilities. Typically, they position themselves behind the passers during rotation, a phenomenon which allows them to strike the balls better. They often counter attack the sets after every defensive play and are charged with the duty of hitting the ball through a strong block especially when the passes are off the net. This implies that they need to possess exceptional blocking skills due to the fact that they often play against the opponent’s opposite hitters. Besides, they need to have solid defensive abilities primarily because they also play at the back row , in an area where they are needed to hit the three or ten meter balls which come from the right back position.

outside hitter volleyball

The Bottom line.

As described in this post, all positions in volleyball have specific roles on the court. Every team player has special skills or attributes which allow him to play in a particular position. Even though the rules governing the game often change, very little has changed regarding the positions in a volleyball match.