What are the six positions in volleyball? Overview for beginners

Volleyball is a team sport but each player has a unique role. There are six positions in volleyball: setter, outside hitter, opposite hitter, middle blocker, defensive specialist, and a libero. The setter and outside hitter are attackers. The opposite hitter needs to find a balance between offense and defense.

The middle blocker, libero, and defensive specialist are defending and have to make sure that the other team doesn’t score points. Each team can have multiple players that have the same position. This means that players have to compete to get a spot on the team. Each position requires unique capabilities and skills. We have discussed how you can pick what position would fit with your skills and preferences before. 

Position of each of the roles on a volleyball field in a

 What are the six positions in volleyball per team called? 

Let’s discuss each of these positions in more detail below. Every team has these positions and you will notice that the players perform the same actions over and over again during a match. 

  • Middle blocker:

 This is often for taller players as you have to be able to jump quite high so that your hands can go over the net. This makes sure that you can stop the ball there and it doesn’t go inside your part of the court. Your timing and jumping skills have to be excellent if you want to pull this off. Sometimes two players work together to create a block and this can be an effective defensive strategy. This is mainly done by more advanced and professional players as you need an excellent technique to get it right. 

  • Opposite hitter (or right side hitter):

These players have to defend and attack. This is a very intense position as you have to be able to dig but also to spike. This requires a wide skill set and not a lot of players are great at this. A lot of players start as a setter and only after gaining experience where they can become the opposite hitter.

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  • Setter:

The setter has to give the assist to the outside hitter. You have to receive the ball from another player (often the defensive specialist) and have to pass it to the player that is going to attack. It takes a lot of coordination and communication to get this right. You need to send the ball in the right position and with the right speed. Every outside hitter has his or her own preference when it comes down to receiving a ball. You will have to learn more about these and use them to perfect the pass. This is hard to train on your own and you will need to interact with your team members to get used to this.

  • Outside hitter (or left side hitter): 

This is the most important offensive position as the player in this location often has to push the ball over the net. This requires a lot of force, precision, and effect. Players that do this have to be able to jump high and be agile. Often the ball comes at you from an unexpected angle and you have to be able to be creative and use it for an attack anyway. 

  • Defensive specialist: 

This player has to make sure that the ball doesn’t land on the court after the other team has launched an attack. This is done by intercepting the ball to control it and then passing it to the setter in one fellow swoop. This can require a lot of practice as defensive specialists are often running and jumping so they have to be able to pass while they are not on stable footing.

If they are great at this, defensive specialists can save the team a ton of points. This is used in some systems that only use one setter. This allows the team to focus more on defense instead of offense. This is not the same as a libero as this player needs to be substituted before they can get on the court, a libero can just walk up.

  • Libero:

This position can be quite confusing. The player wears another colored shirt to make sure that the referee sees it when this player joins the game. This player can go off and on the court quite frequently. Some actions are not allowed by this player so it is necessary to see which player performs what action during the match. The goal of this position is mainly to defend. In the video below, you will learn more about this complex position. Often a lot of players want to be a libero but it is not an easy position as you have to make a lot of decisions on your own. 

What are the court position in volleyball?

Every player has a specific position on the field that he or she excels at. This can seem quite confusing as players have to rotate over the field during the game. How can players have a position? It is important to follow the rotation during the game so that the team doesn’t make an error. It is only after the serve has crossed the net and the rally has started that the players can move around and pick their position.

This can lead to some chaos if you are not used to doing this. Volleyball players, therefore, have a starting position that is based on the rotation but they also have a position during the game that is based on their skills. Some players have multiple positions but most players excel at one.

It is important to note that during the game you are restricted by the player next to you and the player behind (or in front of you). This makes sure that everyone stays in rotation and there is no position error that can result in a point for the other team.

There are also different systems in volleyball. In essence, these just show what type of players are on the court. For example, in a 4-2 system, you have 2 setters, 2 hitters, a middle blocker, and a setter. This keeps the team balanced as there are players with offensive and defensive skills.

In some instances, the coach wants to focus more on defense or offense. This can be done by adding a defensive specialist to the team (to defend) or another hitter (to attack). In volleyball, you need to defend and attack at the same time so you can’t play without a balanced team.

To conclude, we can state that the court position is really important for volleyball players. This allows each player to use his or her special skill set. Everyone has to work as a team but you need some players that defend, other players that pass, and also players that attack. You have to be flexible as a volleyball player and sometimes you have to do things that you don’t like but in most situations, you can pick the position and skill that you are best at. Once they have picked a position, most players keep that role for the rest of their careers. If you want to get really great at a certain role, you have to spend years repeating the same drills over and over again.