what are the positions in volleyball

What are the Positions in Volleyball? A Comprehensive Guide On Volleyball Position For New Players In Volleyball Court

What are the positions in volleyball? Volleyball is a fast-paced, exciting team sport that requires players to master a variety of skills. With different positions across the front and back rows of the court, it can be confusing for beginners to understand the roles and responsibilities of each volleyball player position. This article will provide an overview of the various positions in volleyball, explaining the key differences and what makes each role unique. Whether you’re new to volleyball or just looking to deepen your understanding of the sport, read on to learn the ins and outs of the different positions on a volleyball team.

PositionRoleLocation on CourtKey Skills
Outside HitterMain offensive attacker; hits from left sideLeft front; transitions between front and back rowPowerful spikes, athleticism, offensive capability
Middle BlockerPrimary blocker at net; additional attacking optionCenter front; transitions between rowsHeight, blocking, hitting at high point
Opposite HitterSecond main offensive hitter; hits from right sideRight front; transitions between rowsPowerful attacks, versatility, hitting
SetterRuns offense; sets up hitters to attackVaries based on rotationExcellent technique, court vision, accurate sets
LiberoDefensive specialist; passes and digs in back rowBack row onlyQuick reflexes, passing, defensive reading
Defensive SpecialistFocuses on defense and passingBack rowStrong passing and defensive skills
Key Positions in Volleyball

What are the Positions in Volleyball?

There are 6 main positions that players take up on a volleyball court:

The responsibilities and location on the court varies for each of these positions. Let’s take a closer look at what defines each role.

Outside Hitter

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The outside hitter, also known as the left-side hitter, is one of the main offensive positions in volleyball. This player is positioned on the left side of the court and is responsible for attacking the ball from the front row.

The outside hitter needs to be able to score points by spiking the ball over the net. They also participate in blocking the other team’s outside hitter when playing defense in the front row. When rotating to the back row, the outside hitter will play defense and pass the ball to the setter.

Outside hitters are often one of the most athletic players on the team, able to jump high and hit with power from the left side.

Middle Blocker

what are the positions in volleyball

As the name suggests, the middle blocker (MB) is positioned in the middle of the front row and is a vital part of the defense. Their main responsibilities are to block the opposing team’s spikes and hits.

The middle blocker needs to be tall, with the ability to reach and block shots hit near the net by the other team. They form the first line of defense for the team by jumping and reaching their arms over the net.

In addition to blocking, the MB will also attack the ball when set by the team’s setter. The middle is an offensive threat that the other team needs to account for.

Opposite Hitter

what are the positions in volleyball

The opposite hitter (OPP) is the second of the two main hitters, positioned on the right side of the court. When the outside hitter rotates to the back row, the opposite takes over as the primary offensive attacker from the front.

The opposite is usually left-handed, allowing them to attack from the right side more naturally. However, right-handed opposite hitters are also common. Opposites need to be dynamic offensive players able to score points in clutch situations.

The opposite hitter also participates in blocking alongside the middle blocker when in the front row.


what are the positions in volleyball

The setter is the quarterback or playmaker of the volleyball team. This player is responsible for running the team’s offense and deciding where the ball goes on each play.

The setter touches the ball on almost every possession. Their main role is to pass the ball to attackers in positions to score. Setters need excellent coordination, timing, and awareness to deliver accurate sets to their hitters.

While setting is their primary duty, setters will also attack at times when they see openings in the opponent’s defense. This is known as a “dump” attack, and can surprise the other team.


what are the positions in volleyball

The libero is a defensive specialist position created to help teams improve their passing and defense. Liberos wear a different colored jersey to distinguish them from the rest of the players.

The libero is allowed to come in for any player and swap out without counting as a substitution. This allows the libero to replace hitters in the back row so the team can get stronger defensive players on the court.

Liberos cannot attack the ball from the front row. Their focus is on passing serves and digs in the back to start the offensive play. A talented libero can anchor a team’s defense and passing game.

Defensive Specialist

what are the positions in volleyball

The defensive specialist (DS) is a position that focuses exclusively on playing defense and passing in the back row. Defensive specialists usually rotate into the game to take the place of front row players and provide superior passing and defense in the back.

While liberos are only allowed to play in the back row, defensive specialists can play all the way around and serve. However, they usually do not attack from the front row like a hitter would. Their primary role is defense and passing.

How are Volleyball Positions Arranged on the Court?

Now that we’ve covered the main positions in volleyball, let’s look at how these roles are arranged on an actual volleyball court.

  • Positions 1, 2, and 3 start in the back row, while positions 4, 5, and 6 start in the front.
  • The outside hitters take up positions 4 (left side) and 2 (right side).
  • The middle blockers play in positions 3 and 5.
  • The opposite hitter is in position 1.
  • Setters are typically in position 2, while liberos and defensive specialists play in the back row.

On a volleyball court, teams will arrange their strongest hitters and blockers in the front row. Defensive specialists will rotate into the back when front row players rotate there.

The libero can replace any back row player to shore up the defense and passing. This allows the team to keep powerful hitters in the front who can score points.

What Type of Player Succeeds in Each Position?

The different volleyball positions require certain skills and physical attributes to play effectively:

  • Outside hitters – Tall, athletic left-side hitters who can attack powerfully. They need to handle both hitting and defensive responsibilities depending on the row.
  • Middle blockers – The tallest players on the team who excel at blocking shots at the net. They should also be able to hit at a high point.
  • Opposite hitters – Strong right-side hitters able to attack from the front or back row. Being left-handed is a plus for opposite hitters.
  • Setters – Smart players with quick reflexes and excellent coordination. They need outstanding technique to deliver clean passes right to the hitter’s target.
  • Liberos – Shorter defensive specialists who are passing and digging experts. They must possess quick reflexes and be able to read opposing hitters.
  • Defensive specialists – Defensive-minded back row players who may lack size but are skilled passers and defenders.

Position Rotation in Volleyball

Volleyball requires teams to rotate positions clockwise after winning the right to serve. This ensures all players have a chance to play the front and back rows.

Rotating adds to the complexity, as players have to be able to move from hitting to playing defense as they cycle between the front and back of the court.

Players must know how to play in all areas of the court and be multi-skilled to adapt as they go through the rotation. Setters, liberos and defensive specialists however have more specialized roles and responsibilities.

Why Volleyball Players Positions Is Important?

Establishing set positions is crucial in volleyball for several reasons:

  • Allows players to specialize at certain skills for their position.
  • Creates structure and organization on the court.
  • Maximizes a team’s strengths.
  • Allows the offense to run plays and patterns.
  • Enables teams to set up effective defensive schemes.
  • Allows more strategy as teams exploit positional matchups.

Positions promote chemistry and coordination as players become familiar with their specific roles. While volleyball does require flexibility as players rotate, having defined positions creates a framework for the team to operate optimally.

Key Takeaways on Volleyball Positions On The Court

  • There are 6 main volleyball positions – outside hitter, middle blocker, opposite, setter, libero and defensive specialist.
  • Each position has clearly defined roles based on their strengths. Setters run the offense, liberos handle passing defense, and hitters attack and block.
  • Players must be skilled in all aspects of the game as they transition between the front and back rows due to rotations.
  • Positions provide structure and allow players to focus on executing their specialized role.
  • Understanding the differences between volleyball positions helps new players find their fit on a team based on their abilities.

Knowing the volleyball positions is an important first step in learning this exciting sport. Be sure to practice the specific skills required for each role. With dedication and experience, you’ll be excelling at your position in no time

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