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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! 

104 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.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Hi,I am a young soon to be volleyball player just joining a team and Im very nervous is there any tips I don’t know anything about volleyball sorry for bothering you

        • sally says:

          Do not be sorry just stay confident and bond with your team.. NO DRAMA its important to know your team so you can work as a team and good luck

        • amaya says:

          Hi, I have been playing volleyball for 5 years and some advice I’d offer is don’t be afraid or embarrassed to make mistakes. You will never learn if you don’t try. wishing you the best of luck!

        • Destiny says:

          Hey don’t fell nervous ya it’s a new team but that means a new bond can be made. You will always get nervous in a game, to meet new team mates. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you.

      • Volleyball 🏐 Fan🙂 says:

        Well I am joining a volleyball team in grade 6 or 7 (I am in grade 5 right now)
        And I love watching HIKYUU !!” And I found out that my classmate likes playing volleyball and we are planing to make a volleyball club !! (P.s I am so EXCITED!!!🙂)

    • 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.

  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.

  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?

  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.

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