What is perimeter defense in volleyball? (answered)

In volleyball, you have two main types of defenses:

-You have a rotational defense: this is great if you have taller players that can block well or if the other team tips a lot (this is dropping the ball just behind the net by giving it a small nudge). The back row players are moving forward to cover potential tips.

– There is also Perimeter defense: this type of defense pushes the players in the back row further down and closer to the outside lines of the court. This is mainly used if the other team spikes a lot or if the block is not working very well. It allows players to focus on digging as they are standing farther down the court. 

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Not a single type of defense is perfect and you always have to leave some gaps that the other team can use to score. Let’s explore perimeter defense in further defense. 

How to perform a perimeter defense in volleyball: a step by step explanation

Let’s take an example if the attack is coming from the right side of the court:

1/ Two players are blocking the ball at the net. The goal is to stop the ball there if possible. Perimeter defense is often used when these players are often unable to block the ball (because they are shorter or the other team has great hitters). One of these players can try to turn around to cover a tip if the ball goes just behind them. This is not easy to do.

2/ The outside blocker goes to the 10-foot line. This player is responsible to cover tips in the front row. This is a weak point in this type of defense as this player has to cover a huge area. In rotational defense, this area of the court is better covered and tips can be intercepted more easily.

3/ The right-back goes to the line on the right. This is actually where this type of defense derives its name from as the players in the last row are standing on the lines (or perimeter) of the court. 

In rotational defense, this player would move forward and step closer to the 10-foot line.

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4/ Middle back: goes to the back of the court. This is quite similar to rotational defense but they don’t have to move forward. The goal is to cover the back of the court. This player has to move forward more often than in rotational defense because that area is less well covered by other players.

5/ Leftback: moves back to the line on the left-hand side but stays somewhat on the right of it. They are standing behind the 10-foot line. This player is standing closer to the line than they would in rotational defense. The goal is to cover tips as well as possible. 

Hitters often send the ball further down the court and in perimeter defense players are able to cover this area better. It is possible that the offense is going to react with a lot of tips in a row. Therefore it is necessary to react to how the other team is attacking. If a great hitter gets substituted, it might be a good idea to switch from perimeter to rotational defense. This makes sure that tips are better covered. 

Defense is all about compromises and perimeter defense leaves some areas open for the other team and fortifies other areas. Teams will generally start out with rotational defense as it allows them to cover a big part of the court and protects against tips and spikes. If the offense is using a lot of spikes and they are not being stopped well, a coach can consider trying a perimeter defense and see if this works better. They can also substitute a hitter on their team to add another defensive specialist. 

Another option is to decide to let only one player block so that another player is able to cover the tips as well. This then makes it easier for the hitter to find an open spot on the court. You can adjust your defense to how the other team is playing and try to find a solution. The team has to remain calm and the coach can ask for timeouts until they have found an answer to the attack of the other team. Generally, the team will experiment with different approaches during the first set to find a solution as soon as possible. 

Players have to keep the right foot movements and posture in mind and use the right technique so that they remain agile when they are defending. This allows them to switch to an attacking position if needed. A perimeter defense can make it harder to switch to an effective attack as players are standing farther from each other. Therefore they need to be able to control the ball very well and pass in the right direction. 

This type of defense is not often used on the high school levels as hitters are not that good yet. It is mainly used by college students and professional players as these hitters can use a lot of power and precision. Rotational defense can be an answer to these attacks. If the other team is attentive and they start using a lot of tips, you can get in trouble again. Therefore you can look at the setter and hitter and try to determine the best solution. 

To conclude, we can state that perimeter defense is a type of defense wherein the players in the last row are standing on the lines on the court. This means that they are taking a wider position so that they are able to recover more spikes. This makes it harder to recover tips but every type of defense has its pros and cons. Teams have to be able to react to how the other team is attacking and adjust their defense accordingly. This is more advanced technique and not a lot of high school teams are going to do this.