There are several different positions in volleyball that all serve different purposes. They each take advantage of their individual strengths to contribute to the overall game-play not only in offense but also in defense.
Volleyball Positions explained
The libero (defensive specialist) is an integral part of the volleyball team. The player that takes on the role of “Libero” is usually one of the most talented defensive players on the team. This position requires special training.
The libero must develop skills that enable him/her to pass, dig, serve and attack in a very effective and efficient manner. On offense, he/she must be able to hit the ball over the 10-foot net and on defense they need to know how to dig balls that would be unreturnable by most players.
A libero is allowed to replace any player during a rally. He or she can enter and re-enter the game as many times as necessary. The only player that he/she is not allowed to replace is the team’s setter. He or she can be substituted for by any other player on the court, including the opposing side.
The libero has a different uniform from that of his teammates and must wear a contrasting jersey color. In high school, the libero must wear a jersey color that does not match any other player on his or her team.
In International play, the libero is allowed to wear a different-colored uniform provided it contrasts with all of the players on both teams.
The libero is intended to be almost exclusively an offensive player and his/her primary purpose is to be ready to receive the serve.
Be sure to check out Volleyball Gear Guide’s recent post on the most important position in the game, the Libero.
The middle-blockers are vertically aligned directly in front of the antennae on the opposing team’s side of the court. Their goal is to block attacks coming from their opponents’ outside hitters and prevent them from being successful at their attempt to spike the ball down-court.
The outside hitters, also known as the right side and left side hitters, are positioned in the front row directly opposite their respective middle blockers. Their role is to take shots at the opposing team’s court by spiking or setting up for an attack.
The opposite hitter is positioned on the left side of the court, as opposed to the right side of the court where the setter usually stands. This player is responsible for spiking or hitting shots down-court from a position adjacent to their outside hitters’ positions.
The setter stands behind the attack line and is vertically aligned with the middle hitter. Their role is to receive the serve, distribute it to an open player (usually the outside hitter) and put up a good shot for them to spike down onto their opponents’ side of the court.
The setter usually has this responsibility because he or she must constantly be aware of the location of every player on the court and where they are positioned. The setter also has a role to play at the net as well. Since their position is directly in front of the antenna, he or she can jump up to hit an offensive shot instead of passing it off to a teammate.
In high school, you must have two setters on your team.
If you are interested in this position, check out our guide on ways to become a Great Setter.
As the name implies, the middle hitter’s position is directly in front of the opposing team’s middle blocker. His or her role is to attack down-court and take shots at their opponents’ court. It is important for this individual to be able to hit in any direction since they are situated between two of their teammates.
The setter and the middle hitters tend to be some of the more skillful offensive players on a volleyball team and tend to be very athletic.
When playing volleyball, there are many different positions that all serve specific roles that work together in order for a player to successfully spike or dig during a rally.
If you just started to play volleyball, and you are short, you may be better suited for playing defense compared to being in the front row or an outside hitter.
Just learning the game? Visit our Volleyball drills for beginners page.
Maybe you have been blessed with good jumping ability, then you could find yourself as one of the opposite hitters, left side hitter, or outside hitter. It is not uncommon for a team’s offense to substitute defensive specialist who plays in the back row and has a main job of returning the serve and passing to the setter.
There are multiple volleyball player positions for you to choose from. We hope you find the best one for you.