Are you curious about volleyball? Would you like to play the game? Or perhaps you want to understand why the players on TV act the way that they do on the court? Just like other team sports, there is a division of labor within a volleyball team. Each person is assigned a role that they try to fulfill to the best of their abilities. They try to work together as the ball moves from one to the other. Everything flows smoothly from defense to offense. Below are the basic volleyball positions and roles:
There are six players on each side of the court at any time. Two of them are outside hitters, otherwise known as spikers. These are the most reliable scoring machines in the team. They have a high percentage of conversion so they tend to get the ball more often than others. They are positioned on the left side of the net where go against the other team’s opposite hitter. When plays are broken, the setter will usually toss the ball to this player. The outside hitter must also be a good floor defender.
The opposite hitter is another leading scorer in the team. However, this position goes to the right side of the net where you have to go toe-to-toe with the other team’s ace spiker. Coaches often choose a tall player for defensive purposes as this spiker also has to work with the middle blocker to deny the ace. The opposite hitter defends more on the net than the floor. Many of them are lefties which provides them an advantage at their position.
The middle blocker is the central net defender. Since MBs have to block a lot, most coaches opt for taller players for this position. They can get to the ball faster and create an impenetrable wall of hands that can intimidate the spikers. The mere presence of a good blocker can make spikers change their shots which forces them outside of their comfort zone. The role requires constant jumping and lateral movement which can be hard on the knees. They are also involved in quick plays at the middle to draw the attention of the opposing team and free up the wing spikers.
The setter is the play maker. It requires a high level of volleyball IQ as you would need to read the situation on the court and make split second decisions. Setters must give the hitters the best chance to score by luring the blockers away from them through different strategies. If they find an opening, then they might try to score themselves usually through a dump.
The libero is the defensive ace of the team. It is possible for this player to come in and out at will so they use a different colored uniform to make them more visible to the officials. When the middle blocker rotates to the back, the libero often takes their spot to fortify the floor defense.