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Back to Basics: Volleyball Player Positions

Blurred image of girls playing volleyball

There are six positions on a volleyball court, and each position serves a unique role in the success of the team. Just like other competitive teams, you need to depend on each player to not only do their job but do their job well. Volleyball is extremely fast-paced and requires serious athletic ability. Depending on your skill-set and which aspect of the game you excel in the most, you can determine which of these six positions you will play. In today’s blog, Hoover Met Complex will break down each of these volleyball play positions.

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The setter is the main contributor to the offense of the volleyball team. One of the requirements of the setter is having a delicate touch to set the ball perfectly for one of the attacking players. Communication is extremely important for the setter because they need to get the rest of the players on the same page. Without the setter, there wouldn’t be hard spikes or technical ball movement.

Outside Hitter

The outside hitter is also known as the left-side hitter and is the lead attacker in the offensive strategy. To be a successful outsider hitter, you must be able to jump high, be quick on your feet, and be ready to adapt to different situations. The volleyball won’t always be placed where the outsider hitter would like, so they need to be prepared for hits from a variety of places.

Opposite Hitter

Also known as the right-side hitter, these players need to be a perfect balance of both offense and defense. They will also get many opportunities to hit the volleyball, so similar to the outside hitter, jumping ability is vital. The main difference that sets the opposite hitter apart is their defensive responsibility. Being able to receive the serve from the opposing team is just one of the many requirements of this specialized position.

Middle Blocker

The middle blocker, sometimes known as the middle hitter, is the tallest player on the volleyball team. Their main role for the team is being the first line of defense against the opposing team’s hits. The middle blocker needs to read the other team’s attackers to quickly raise his or her arms above the net in a blocking attempt. However, this is not a defense-only position. The middle blocker will have chances for quick points throughout the set.


The libero can become confusing for non-volleyball players. They can only play on the back row of the court, and because of this, are the ideal person to receive a hit from the opposite team. There are set rules the libero needs to follow, such as not attacking the ball at the net, playing a set for an attacker from the front, and more. You can always tell a libero apart from the rest of the team because they wear a different colored jersey. 

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Defensive Specialist

The thing that sets the defensive specialist apart from other volleyball positions is their ability to substitute out any player on the court. This will count against the team’s total of 12 substitutions. The defensive specialist traditionally focuses on ball control and passing and works well with the libero.

Practice Your Skills at the Hoover Met Complex

Hoover Met Complex wants to help you improve your volleyball skills through tournaments, open gyms, and practices. Knowing these six volleyball positions will help you understand which you specialize in and how you can take the team to the next level. Hoover Met Complex has space in the Finley Center for 17 full-sized volleyball courts for even large scale tournaments. Contact us today or call 205-739-7364 for more information! 

140 thoughts on “Back to Basics: Volleyball Player Positions

  1. Pingback: 14 Drawbacks and Disadvantages of Playing Volleyball – Sportsver

  2. Xavier says:

    Most times I play middle blocker, how can I improve my jumps to be high? Is there anything I need to check out on?

    • Taryn Fink says:

      Hi Xavier. Thanks for your question. We would first recommend doing box jumps. Another helpful drill is to pick a spot on the wall (at a higher height than you) and jump up to hit it as many times as you can in one minute. These should help you work on your jump height.

    • Yumi Korehatsu says:

      I really am grateful to whoever made this website! I wanted to play volleyball but got quite confused about the positions -_-” I now understand what each position does and know more about the rules! I am aiming to create a volleyball club when I reach 7th grade. I have set my mind to be a setter! I am pretty good at it and know how to receive the ball. I’ll also be doing exercises to jump higher and be able to block well. Once again I thank you for this!

      – Yumi Korehatsu

    • Taryn Fink says:

      Hi Alaysia. Thanks so much for the feedback. Volleyball can definitely be a little confusing, and we are glad to know that this post helped you understand it better!

    • Maddie says:

      Hello Hunter. To make your spikes stronger you should try having the setter set a ball about a foot away from the net at the highest you can jump, and hit it with 100% of your power. This will help your jump AND your spike. Good luck!

  3. deanna says:

    so i just started 9 grade and i want to try out for volleyball but ive never played it before other then just passing the ball back and forth with my sister .. is there anything specifically i could do to get good before 2 semester so i have a chance ?

  4. Zachary says:

    I would like to start playing vollyball, but i dont know what position to play. I am 5 ft 9in but i can jump all the way to 8ft 7in but with a running start 9 ft 1 in. I think i am fast. But my ball controlle suck. So what possition Should i play.

  5. amber says:

    i am trying out for the volleyball team i have 6 days to improve being an outside hitter what can i do to get better? and also are team is small so i might have to play all around what can i do with that , i would also like to point out this is my 1st time playing volleyball competitively and i have been training for 2 months.

  6. rebeccaa says:

    i am trying out for the volleyball team i have 6 days to improve being an outside hitter what can i do to get better? and also are team is small so i might have to play all around what can i do with that , i would also like to point out this is my 1st time playing volleyball competitively and i have been training for 2 months.

    • Emelia Dsolo says:

      If you don’t know how to set at all, I would suggest watching a YouTube video! For some exercises, try bumping the ball high a few times so your right under the ball then get your hands “ball-shaped” and set it gently. Or you can get a friend or family member to toss the ball high (be sure to get under the ball!) and set it like that. Make sure you don’t hear a hitting noise. Setting is done with the finger-tips, not the palm!

  7. Chanel says:

    👋 hello
    I’m going to be soon joining a volleyball team in middle school. I have practiced volley ball for a little while. But my issues are : setting & spiking
    Do you have any tips so I can make those better ?
    Thank you for your time. 🙂✨

  8. Chic n says:

    I want to try be on a volleyball team in high school or maybe next year in 8th. I actually never did a sport. Any tips of how I can improve in volleyball and `which position is easier to play?

  9. Sara says:

    This was really helpful because after watching Haikyuu I really got interested but didn’t know that much about the positions .

  10. Alex says:

    I haven’t had much experience with volleyball but I want to learn how to play, I don’t know which position would suit me best though

  11. Emilie says:

    Hi. I want to start playing Volleyball and i watch Haikyuu!! so i understand some parts. Im 5 ‘2 so im not really tall so i dont know what position would be good for me to practice.

    • MinaAshido says:

      yeah me too i feel that libero is an obvious option because you don’t have to be really tall like you’d want to be with a middle blocker

  12. Ava says:

    I am in 7th grade and I want to start to train for volleyball. I believe I am 5’5 and want to play an outside hitter! I would like to work on jumping higher, anything related to spiking (I have just started and am not that good at it), serving, and endurance tips if anyone has any. I am really excited and am hoping I can improve with any help I receive!

    • Anna says:

      i’m joining my schools volleyball team next year ,so iv been practicing with my brothers in the street. Try having a sibling or parent set a ball up high for you, higher than you can jump. Then keep doing that and every time you hit the ball with your full palm have them set the ball higher. Do that repeatedly and your jump will slowly get higher if you do that for awhile each day. iv gotten my jump from like a 7’10 to a 8 in about a few weeks to a month. Also try doing jump squats do make your legs stronger. For endurance try doing wall sits start with 30 seconds then when that get easier go for a minute then keep going higher.

  13. Destiny says:

    Hi, I’m Destiny
    I love volleyball and I have a school volleyball match with other school’s on Friday on the 30th I’m having trouble with my set’s. This one girl said that I wasn’t doing it right is there anyway I can improve?. I’ve seen professional setters set and thought I was doing it right. I’m always open to improve anywhere I can it a sport that I can do. It’s fun and I always want any excuse to play volleyball I hope someone can help me out.

    • Morgan says:

      First of all, if your coach doesn’t tell you that you’re doing it wrong, you probably aren’t! I think that trusting yourself is the most important part of learning volleyball because you need to develop your own technique that works for you. Second, try to watch youtube videos about HOW to set instead of just trying to copy a professional’s set because it is important to learn how to set instead of just doing it if that makes sense. For example, when you’re practicing, you may have the ball come straight to you, which is definitely easier, but in a real game, the ball will NOT come straight to you (it may be fast/slow, angled, or even have a spin), so you have to learn how to really set and what goes into a good set to have good sets. Unfortunately, skill doesn’t come overnight; you have to work at it, so from now on, I would practice high-passing the ball to a wall and then getting under the ball and setting it straight up. Again, this will not be easy but if you work at it, you WILL get there. Remember that some important tips for setting are having your hands in the rounded-triangle shape and having them HIGH, and NOT around your chest. You’ll do great-believe in yourself!

  14. Victoria says:

    Hey! Your weight does not matter, as long as you are fit and able to move around, you should be fine. Your stamina is important, not weight.

      • Morgan says:

        SAME!! I’m 4’11 too, but my parents are tall, so hopefully, I will get there. If you are a girl and younger than 15, you’ll probably sprout up. If not, try being a setter or libero (if you have good ball control). I’m short, though, and I am still an opposite hitter. It really depends on what you’re good at… and, hey-If you don’t grow, as long as you can jump, you’ll be fine.

  15. I love Haikyuu says:

    I really want to be a libero. Is there any tips of how to get better and I don’t know my height I think i am somewhere between 5’2 and 5’6. Is that a good height for a Libero?

  16. Ava says:

    hey guys i wanted to say this is my 2 months playing vollyball and it’s really good and i want to say that i really want to be libero >-<

  17. Jose says:

    Hey, I play volleyball but I’m really short.
    Is there any way that I can improve my jumps for spiking or blocking.
    Is there a way to be a defensive player but still attack as well

  18. Anabel says:

    Hi my name is Anabel and im going to become a volleyball player soon and im wondering what are the basic steps to becoming a good volleyball player and how can i improve my jumps, hitting and blocking?

    • Morgan says:

      Hey, Anabel!
      JUMPING- For jumping, when you are jumping to hit/spike the ball, make sure you squat as low to the ground as you can on your last step and bring your arms back and swing them up when you are jumping up. This was SO awkward for me when I was first learning to play, but now I am a hitter and this has helped me so much, as I am only 4’11 but I can jump to 8’1. To practice jumping, do wall sits for 30 seconds, then a minute, then a minute and 30 seconds… (so on), and practice low squats and burpees. (For the burpees, try to squat as low as you can and bring your arms back with you when you jump, jumping as high as you can). If you have a trampoline with a net, try low squat-jumping and keep doing that until you can easily reach the top of the guarding net. It may seem impossible, but with anything in volleyball, you just have to work at it and your skills will improve. In addition, when jumping you DO NOT want to touch the net, so face a wall and squat-jump and keep getting closer and closer to the wall, but try to never touch it. In volleyball, your setter will try to set good balls that are not too close to the net, but in reality, there will be some balls that come close, and no matter what, you must save those balls, so just get good at staying away from the net.
      HITTING- This is my personal favorite thing to do in volleyball, but I know a lot of people dread it. What makes a good hitter is someone that has a strong arm and can get any ball over the net. It helps to be taller, but I’m 4’11 and I am our team’s hitter (we’re undefeated), so as long as you can jump, you’ll be good. To strengthen your hitting arm, when you are reading or watching T.V., you can make a game out of holding your arm up (not resting on anything) for as long as you can. If you have to put your arm down, that is understandable, but after practicing this for a while, you should be able to hold your arm in place for 10-20 minutes. Also, have a parent/sibling/friend throw you balls and have you hit them over their head. Again, you won’t be able to do this at first, but it will REALLY strengthen your arm.
      BLOCKING- Personally, I hate blocking because I’m short and not really good at it. But, when blocking, you will need to hold both arms above your head for a long time. So, when watching T.V. or reading, hold both hands above your head and keep them there as long as you can. You will also have to be very close to the net when blocking, so try the wall exercise mentioned in the JUMPING portion, just don’t squat-jump from standing up.
      BUMPING (PASSING)- You didn’t ask for this, but passing is the MOST IMPORTANT part of volleyball, and everyone has to do it and everyone can improve. For passing, you want to find a good way to hold your hands (you can either lay your hand on top of your other hand (palms up) and bring in your thumbs so that they are parallel or you can make a fist with one hand and wrap your other hand around it with your thumbs parallel). You also have to hold your platform out straight and keep your body low (you need to get UNDER the ball). To practice, work on wall squats and free squats (not against a wall). Ball control is super important, too, so work on passing to the ball and angling.
      SETTING- Again-you didn’t ask for this but it is also very important in volleyball. For setting, hold a volleyball so that both of your pointer fingers and thumbs come together to make a triangle. Now, let go of the ball and maintain the shape of your hands that you had while holding the ball. Put your hands over your head and look up at them. BOOM. Now, you’re in setting position. When setting, it is crucial that you are under the ball and you get the ball high enough in your sets that the hitter can spike the ball or just hit it over the net. Practice bumping the ball against a wall and then getting under the ball and setting it straight up to practice. It will hurt your fingers at first (if you’re doing it right) but in time it will get better!
      That’s it! In volleyball, it is all about the TEAM so really connect with your team. Remember, NO DRAMA, be respectful, and be confident and trust yourself, but be open to criticism. And, at the end of practice, thank your coach and ask them what you can do to improve and practice at home-they will love your initiative! Other than the technical stuff, just try your best and make sure to practice. Remember, YOU GOT THIS! Get out there and play some volleyball!

      • Neferu says:

        Hi i am Neferu Carmona and im starting to learn volleyball i am in 7th grade in middle school i am 5.2 in height and i want to ask in which position should you guys recommend me that’s all thanks

  19. Elijah says:

    Hi, my name is Elijah and I was wondering how I could improve my serves and spiking. I am good at receiving, but I could get better at that but it’s my strongest point. I’m in 8th grade you see and I’m planning on doing volleyball in high school so I was wondering ways to get better before I go to highschool.

  20. Lilly Willson says:

    hi, I’m just starting to play in a new team and I feel pretty good about it but I’m scared about what the team is gunna think of me. they play well but I’m scared that I’m going to be the one the messes it up for the whole team.

    • Aaliyah Irais says:

      It doesnt matter what they think it matters if you believe in yourself and feel good about it and prove anyone wrong

  21. Aaliyah Irais says:

    If i have a shunt on my head would i still be able to play either way. Im a girl going int the 6th grade and i really want to play volleyball but unfortionately we’ll have to get permission from the state. im hoping to join a good volleyball team in 6th grade and hope to win! – Aaliyah i.

  22. Liosi Eleni says:

    I wanna start playing volleyball but I am short. I am nervous to go (probably next year) any suggestions on how to stop stressing, anyone?

    • Morgan says:

      Hey, Liosi!
      Just remember, be confident in yourself and practice practice practice! I am 4’11 but I am my team’s outside hitter! If you are younger than 15, too, you will grow. Just work on building your skills for now.

    • Ney-Ney says:

      ok if you wanna play volleyball and your short I mean you can play as long as you know how to play and being short can be useful watch haikyu and a lot of tips can help you and if you already watched it well good job so that’s all good luck. 😉

  23. chicken tendou says:

    I have a problem I would like to talk about. I wanna start playing volleyball but I am short and when I was little I has told that this sport is only for tall people so I lost confidence but now I started to belive I might be able to go even so, but I am rlly nervous. Any siggestions on how to stop stressing?

  24. JayLynn says:

    So sorry for disturbing you i’m on the short side of people and I cant run really fast but..I cant jump high like others and I was wonder what tips can I do to Jump higher? (btw People call me Hinata)

  25. ~Weeb~ says:

    I literally wasted my whole class time reading these comments and I have a couple things to say..

    #1. Haikyuu!! Is the best & I love it!

    #2. Volleyball is awesome and me & my best friend play it and are on a team

    #3. If anyone sees this comment Hi! I hope you have a great rest of your day!

  26. Danzi says:

    Hey! I’m thinking of trying out for volleyball, and I’m really good at setting and receiving, just not spiking. On top of that, I’m only 5’2-5’3, so what position would I be best at? I usually play with my parents or friends and family, but they aren’t the best at volleyball, so I want to learn and grow with other people that have the same interest as me. (If you have any tips on how to make my endurance better or how to improve my skills, please tell me :D)

    • ozzy says:

      Hi Danzi! I think the best position for you would probably be a librero because height does not really matter! (Hope this helps ^_^!)

  27. Coleman Snead says:

    Hi I have a freind who I like who likes volleyball but is always worried that someone will make fun of her for how she plays. I also like her and want her to be my gf is there anyway I can help her get better and support her at the same time.

    • Connor says:

      Support her by helping her in practice drills and if you have that much dedication research about volleyball. No one will make fun of her at least as a volleyball player myself I have only been pushed to do my best by others. Good Luck on getting her to be your gf. 😉😏👌

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