Volleyball Positions

Volleyball Positions
Published: 2022-07-20
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Each volleyball position has a set of responsibilities that each player is expected to perform. Understanding the responsibilities of each position and being able to adapt to them is crucial 

In volleyball, there are up to seven positions or roles in a team according to the team's necessities and playing style.

Volleyball positions on the court

The five main positions in volleyball are setter, outside hitter, opposite hitter, libero, and middle blocker. Also, a team can have a defensive specialist and serving specialist according to the coach's playing styles, these two positions being less common outside U.S. volleyball

From the picture above, we are going to focus on the main five positions in volleyball and six out of the nine areas highlighted inside of the picture (areas 1,2,3,4,5,6).


volleyball knee pads

The setter in volleyball

In the game, the player who touches the ball more times overall is the setter, located often in positions 1 and 9 when playing back row and position 2 when playing front row (closer to the net). The setter's responsibility is to get to every second ball or touch and run a team's offense. Also, the setter position requires superior communication skills to run plays and lead the team. In the same way, a setter must understand how to break the other team's defense system and distribute every second ball to put the hitter in an advantageous position to score. 


Libero in volleyball

Another position in volleyball is the libero, which commands the defensive line of a team. A libero is specialized in passing the ball, setting the ball from the back row, playing defense, and serving in the case of American volleyball where a libero is allowed to serve.

 Also, the libero wears a different jersey to contrast with his or her teammate's jerseys and depending on the rotation the libero switches from the inside to the outside of the court (and vice versa) several times in a match.

Furthermore, the libero position requires an individual with leadership skills and an agile to command the defense and save plays. The libero covers positions 5 and 7 (refer to figure 1).

The outside hitter in volleyball

The outside hitter is responsible for attacking and blocking on the left side of the court, as well as passing, defending, and serving. An outside hitter needs to master offensive and defensive skills.

To perform well as an outside hitter requires a physically coordinated athlete able to score points and dominate the first touch to perform a perfect pass toward the setter. Also, the outside hitter plays in positions 4 and 6 (see figure 1). 


The opposite hitter in volleyball

The opposite hitter also has an important offensive role like the outside hitter but does not require a player with superior defensive and passing skills. The opposite hitter position needs to be filled by a physically strong athlete who can jump high and focus on the offensive game by scoring points and serving hard. Also, the opposite hitter plays in positions 2 and 1 depending on the rotation (figure 1).

The middle blocker in volleyball

Lastly, there is the middle blocker, a player who is often the tallest on the team and is required to block and jump high to facilitate his or her team's defensive system. A middle blocker is required to master blocking skills and fast temp attacks.

Also, the middle blocker needs to read the other team's offense to understand where and how to block the opponent player. Middle blockers play in positions 3 and 7 depending on the rotation and if the middle is serving.

volleyball braces

What are the 6 basic positions in volleyball?

Setter: Second touch, set, offensive leader, communicating. 

Libero: Defensive leader, quick, agile. 

Outside Hitter: passing, attacking, and serving skills. 

Opposite Hitter: The team's main scorer, serving, and blocking skills. 

Middle Blocker: The main blocker of the team, tall. 

Defensive Specialist: Defending and passing. 


Serving Specialist: Serving powerful serves and smart serves.