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Positions in Volleyball

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Image credit: Calvin Teoh/SportSG

There are five positions in every volleyball team, with specific duties and specialisations associated with each position .


Setters set the offense play for the team and their main responsibility is to play the ball into a position for attackers to spike or hit the ball.

Setters must communicate the play and the type of set to their team mates for each service. They wait for the opponent's serve to cross the net before moving into position to set up the pass. Often, they’ll have to make split-second decisions to set up the pass for hitters based on their positions, while considering the opponent's blockers and defence. They will also have to decide if scoring a point is feasible or to continue the rally.

Outside hitters / Left side hitters attack and block from the left side of the court. Outside hitters often get lots of contact with the ball during play because it is where the ball goes to when a pass is not perfect.

They set the block in the right place when in defence, and also takes note of hitters on the opponent's team. On offense, they will run the play that setter calls. They need to be ready to hit the ball over net and cover the hitters on their team if the play goes wrong.

Opposite hitters / Right side hitters attack and block on the right side of the court. They carry out defensive moves and are positioned in the front row. They usually form the 'wall' to block against the opponent’s hitters and serve as back-up setters.

Opposite hitters observe positions of opponent hitters, so they can be ready to block when needed. They must be prepared to 'dig' if the ball returns too quickly and the setter is unable to get to the ball.

Middle blockers / hitters are players who perform very fast attacks that happen near the setter. They specialise in blocking and must attempt to stop fast plays from opponents. They can work together to deflect the ball at the sides of the net by setting up double blocks.

When on defense, the middle blocker is positioned between the two outside blockers and is involved in blocking opponent hitters. On offense, the middle blocker will hit quick sets or serve as a decoy to confuse opponent blockers.

Liberos are defensive players who receive or serve. "Libero" means "free" in italian, and this is reflected in the Libero’s availability to substitute any other player during play. They need to wear a different coloured jersey from their teammates. Liberos must be able to dig well on defence. They have no specific attacking responsibility, so they should chase down any ball they can.

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