Is it ok to be short and play volleyball? (SURPRISING Answer)

It is a myth that you have to be tall to be a great volleyball player. A lot of fantastic volleyball professionals are not that tall. Debbie Green, for example, is 5’4″ and she won a lot of trophies, even an Olympic medal. This shows that height is not the only thing that matters in volleyball.

Ball handling, communication, and strategy are among the things that are far more important than the size of a player. There is no magic way to get taller so you have to focus on your strengths. Debby, for example, became a great setter and was able to score a lot of points for her team that way. Let’s discuss this in more detail to clear up some confusion around this subject.

Can short people play volleyball?

In volleyball, you only score points when you hit the ball over the net. Some people mistakenly think that short players would not be able to do this. This is completely wrong as this depends on ball-handling technique and also on leg and arm strength. All of these can be trained so you can get a great volleyball player even if you have never played it before. 

There is one defensive volleyball maneuver that might be harder to pull off for smaller players. Blocking, where you jump just behind the net with your arms in the air to send the ball back to the opponent, might not be possible for smaller players. In the Olympic games, the top of the net is 8 feet high for men and 7 feet, 4 inches for women.

This means that all the players have to jump if they want to create a block. Smaller players might not be able to jump high enough for this so they might be at a disadvantage here. In volleyball, you have to rotate so everyone has to stand close to the net. During that part of the game, you are probably at a disadvantage as a smaller player but we have to note that blocks are not always possible as you can’t predict what the opponent is going to do all the time. Therefore the disadvantage of not being able to block is not that big. 

What does the short person in volleyball do? Why being short can be an advantage.

Bigger players are often less nimble and can’t start running as fast. This is an advantage for shorter players as these often can move in smaller areas and can start running faster. A lot of this obviously depends on the player but having shorter legs can have its advantage in volleyball. Your hands are smaller as well and this can improve your ball control.

Ball control is essential in volleyball. Touching the ball at a slightly different angle can have an enormous impact on where the ball lands. If you have smaller hands, you have more options to touch the ball in different ways and at different angles. This can result in more ball control and more precise movements.

There is a reason why a volleyball team is diverse and has different types of players. You need to be able to respond to different attacks and also be able to use several strategies to surprise your opponent. If all the players on your team have the same playing style, things get very predictable. Therefore it is great to have some shorter and some bigger players so that you can create different types of attacks and use several strategies. 

The libero is often a smaller player. Let’s look at some of their actions:

If you look at professional teams, they have players of multiple sizes. This shows that smaller players can also reach the highest levels of the sport. 

Is it better to be tall or short for volleyball? Minimum height for volleyball player

There are no minimum heights for volleyball players. You should just be able to get the ball over the net but this can be trained by using the right technique. Professional players tend to be larger but everyone can play the game.

Smaller and taller players both have their unique advantages. Smaller players are often more agile so you can train your reaction speed and go to the ball a lot earlier than other players can so that you can score a lot of points. This will make sure that you help the team defend a lot better. You can decide to specialize on this or also try to get better at offense.

Taller players are often better at blocking and spiking as these skills are easier if you can touch the ball higher in the air. You have to work with the strengths that you have and have to accept the rest. There is no magical way to change certain aspects and these you just have to accept. Try to leverage what you have and work with this. It is not possible to grow a few inches all of a sudden so you have to play with the things that you have.

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

For example, you can become great at serving (starting the game by standing behind your field and throwing the ball over the net) or setting (giving an assist) if your ball handling is great. There are also several drills to improve this part of your game.

This means that both in offense and defense you will be able to add unique strengths that can take your team to the next level. You might not be able to do everything you want to but every player has their strengths and weaknesses. You can work on some of these and will have to accept others. 

To conclude, we can say that both bigger and shorter players can play volleyball. Both have their unique advantages and disadvantages but a team needs to have diversity to make sure that they don’t get too predictable. If the opponent already knows where the ball is going to land, it will make it very easy for them to defend.

Bigger players might be able to block better but smaller people might be more agile and have better ball handling. If you play together, you can both use your strengths. Volleyball is a team sport and you can’t get anything done alone. The net is quite high in volleyball so you will need to have some strength as a smaller player to get the ball over the net but this can be trained and shouldn’t be an issue.

Therefore it is a myth that only tall players can play volleyball and that it is not something that short people should consider. Just look at professional players and you can see that shorter people also have had tremendous successes in this sport.