What is a starting lineup in volleyball? (Answered)

A starting lineup is the players that stand on the court when the match starts. In volleyball, there are six players on the field. You also have players on the bench. There are typically six players as well. This means that it is possible to replace the players that started the game. It is not because you started a game that you will be able to play the whole time.

Teams typically start with their best players so that they can impress the other team. The goal is to make sure that you don’t lose too many points at the beginning of the game as this could be demotivating. In some tournaments, teams might play with a weaker lineup as they might want to let the best players rest for the competition.

The lineup does not have to be the same for every match. If the coach notices that one of the players is not putting in a lot of effort, they can change the lineup and other players can start. The lineup often has to be given on a piece of paper before the match starts so that officials know who will be part of the starting team. 

How the starting lineup is selected

Coaches often let players perform certain drills at the end of each training. It is also possible that they organize a small match to see who is performing well. The coaches then check which players are performing well and this is taken into consideration when selecting players for the team.

Often it is not possible to take every player on the team to each match as you need some additional players to compensate for injuries and players that can’t attend a match. This will make sure that you can take twelve players to each game.

Once these twelve players are chosen, the coach still has to decide who will start. Some coaches prefer to use the same six players throughout the whole season so that they can get to know each other well. Volleyball is a team sport and you will play better when you know the preferences of the other players. This can only be done by playing together a lot. 

Other coaches just pick the players that have performed the best during the last training and select these for the lineup.  

It is also possible that coaches take a look at the other team and decide the lineup based on that. For example, if the other team is really good at spiking (a certain type of attack where the ball is pushed over the net with a lot of power), the coach might consider selecting a player that is great at digging (a type of defense that helps to keep the ball in the air after the other team has attacked).

This can only be done if the coach spends a lot of time analyzing the other team. This is mainly done by professional teams and less so in junior leagues.

In junior leagues, the coaches sometimes want to give players equal chances and everyone gets a chance to be on the starting lineup. The focus is more on learning and having fun than winning at all costs. This depends on the team and coach as some trainers don’t want to do this as they want to win the championship. 

Impact of the lineup on team dynamics

The coach often has to talk to players that haven’t been selected as they might feel that they deserve a spot in the team. This could lead to tension between players as well. Therefore it is important that the team talks about this and makes sure that everyone is feeling ok with the decision that has been made. The coach sometimes has data or figures to show his reasoning.

If players really are having a hard time with not being part of the starting line-up, they might switch teams and get a starting position there. It is not always possible to switch teams when the competition is running as sometimes this is prohibited to keep it fair for the teams. Otherwise, teams could change completely during the competition. 

Rotation over the court. Made with Canva.com

It is also important to find a balance between skills. For example, you need both offensive and defensive players. Players rotate over the court so it is essential that there are multiple players with the same skills. If all the players are good at attacking but none are good at defending, your team is not going to work out well. Therefore the coach has to find a good combination of skill levels so that the team is great at all types of defense and attack.

Doing so is not an easy task as you might have to leave great players on the bench. It is also important that the team is playing well during the whole game so you also need to take this into consideration as players get tired and need to be substituted. This is why professional teams have two or more players with similar skills so that it is possible to substitute a player if they get tired. 

In beach volleyball, fewer players are active on the field so the starting lineup is smaller. Only two players are on each side of the net during this game. The teams are a lot smaller and therefore picking a starting lineup is a lot easier as there are not that many options. 

To conclude we can state that a starting lineup is a team that starts out on the field when the match starts. In volleyball, this is six players and typically these are the best players on the team. This is done to make sure that you don’t lose a lot of points at the beginning of the game. You can use another group of players after halftime to restart the game again.

The coach decides this based on several criteria such as performance during the training, the team of the opponent, how tired players are, team dynamics, and so on. This is often a hard decision to make and can lead to a lot of discussions. Therefore the coach often spends a lot of time thinking about this. Since players can be changed quite easily in volleyball, it doesn’t matter that much but a lot of players find this important.