There are six positions on a volleyball court, and they are all as important as each other. Every position serves a purpose which we will explain in detail below. Volleyball is a highly skilled and fast-paced sport, and knowing the strengths required for each position will help you to determine which one works best for your skillset.
Outside Hitter (Left Side)
Mostly leading the offensive strategies, the outside hitter will quite often get the most sets because they are the lead attacker. This position requires someone who can jump high, is quick over 5 to 10 yards, and is adaptable. The latter requirement is because the volleyball will not always land where the outside hitter would like, so they will have to switch positions a lot and adjust their game accordingly.
Opposite Hitter (Right Side)
Much like the outside hitter, this position requires an ability to jump high, as they will receive the volleyball quite often. It will involve a heavy mix of defense and offense, so they will have to play all the way around with a lot of hitting out of the back row. Some of the important responsibilities in this position will involve covering right-back defensive positions, swinging from the front and back row, and blocking the opponents’ hitter.
Without the setter, the offensive play doesn’t happen, which makes it one of the most important positions on a volleyball court. A delicate touch is a must, as the setter will need to “cushion” or “set up” the volleyball for their teammates. This often involves taking the sting out of a hard spike. Being confident enough to communicate loudly and forcefully with your teammates is vital for a setter, as they control the general shape of the team.
Middle Blocker (Middle Hitter)
The main defensive line against the opponents’ hits, the middle blocker needs to be tall, nimble, and sharp. Although one of their main jobs is to read the other teams’ movements and be ready to block their hits from the net, they will also be vitally important in offensive play in volleyball, as their ability to reach high will help to score quickly points during the set.
This is the position that stands out—not only because they wear a different color jersey from the rest, but because the rules differ for them in volleyball. Being unable to attack the ball at the net or playing a set at the front for an attacker may seem restricting, but take nothing away from this position on the court. Their ways of coming into the set for important defensive plays can change a game. They need to be extremely quick—mentally and physically—and be able to receive plenty of serves well.
As the name suggests, this is another defensive position, much like the libero. However, where the libero position doesn’t have to abide by the regular substitution rules, the defensive specialist does, which means that they will only ever be active for three of the six rotations. This means that they must stay sharp, even when they are not in action, which is a very specialized skill to have. They also need to be quick, nimble, and strong.
Every Position Matters
Remember that every position on a volleyball court matters. Without one, the other doesn’t work. If you are trying to decide what position on a volleyball court suits you the best, then the explanations above will help you in doing so.
Something else to note is that all sports are subjective in terms of who can play where, so if you still feel that you are more suited to a position that doesn’t suit your skillset on paper, then give it a go regardless.
Volleyball is a wonderful game to play, both for a challenge and enjoyment. Knowing each position on the court and how they interact with each other will be the first step in your volleyball experience, so go out there and give it you’re all!