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History of Volleyball


Born in 1870 at Lockport, New York, William G. Morgan spent his childhood years
attending public school and working at his father's boat yard on the banks of the Old
Erie Canal. In 1891 Morgan entered Mt. Hermon Preparatory School in Northfield,
Massachusetts, and it was there he developed a friendship with James A. Naismith,
who was destined to be the originator of basketball. Naismith was impressed with
young Morgan's athletic skills and encouraged Morgan to continue his education at
the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School in Springfield,
Massachusetts (now called Springfield College). While at Springfield, Morgan
participated on the college's famous football team which played championship ball
under the leadership of Alonzo A. Stagg, one of the "Grand Old Men of Football".
In 1894, after graduation, Morgan accepted the position of physical director of the
Auburn, Maine YMCA. The following year he accepted a similar post in Holyoke,
Massachusetts, and it was here the story of Volleyball began.


The year was 1895 and physical director William G. Morgan had a problem. The
newly created game of basketball, while popular with the kids, was proving to be too
strenuous for the local businessmen. He needed an alternative - something these
older gentlemen could play - something without too much "bumping" or "jolting".

It had to be physical - playing a game, after work and at lunch time, should provide
exercise, but it also had to relax the participants - it couldn't be too aggressive.

It had to be a sport, Morgan said, "with a strong athletic impulse, but no physical

So, he borrowed. From basketball, he took the ball. From tennis the net. The use of
hands and the ability to play off the walls and over hangs, he borrowed from
handball. And, from baseball, he took the concept of innings.

He termed this new game "Mintonette". And though admittedly incomplete, it

proved successful enough to win an audience at the YMCA Physical Director's
Conference held in Springfield, Massachusetts the next year.
It was at this conference that Dr. Alfred Halstead, a professor at Springfield College,
suggested a two-word version of its present name. "Volley Ball".

And it stuck.

The game of volleyball was quite a bit different from what we're used to. It was
played on a smaller 25'x50' court, with an unlimited number of players hitting the
ball an unlimited number of times, on either side of a 6'6" high net. Things tended to
get a little crowded.

Each game was broken up into nine innings, each inning made up of three outs, or
"serves". These serves could be helped over the net by a second player, if the server
didn't quite reach the net.

The basketball originally used proved to be a little too heavy, and the subsequent use
of a basketball bladder, too soft. Morgan remedied this by contacting A.G. Spalding,
a local sporting goods manufacturer who designed a special ball - a rubber bladder,
encased in leather, 25" or so in circumference. The "volleyball".

Though still in its infancy, the sport was slowly developing and with the YCMA taking
the reigns, Morgan was confident volleyball would continue to entertain and relax
the boys down at the "Y".

What he probably didn't realize was that he had just created what would become
the second most popular team sport in the world.

The physical education directors of the YMCA, encouraged particularly by two
professional schools of physical education, Springfield College in Massachusetts and
George Williams College in Chicago (now at Downers Grove, Illinois), adopted
volleyball in all its societies throughout the United States, Canada (in 1900 Canada
became the first foreign country to adopt the game), and also in many other
countries: Elwood S. Brown in the Philippines (1910), J. Howard Crocker in China,
Franklin H. Brown in Japan (1908), Dr. J.H. Gray in Burma, in China and in India, and
others in Mexico and South American, European and African countries.
By 1913 the development of volleyball on the Asian continent was assured as, in that
year, the game was included in the program of the first Far-Eastern Games,
organized in Manila. It should be noted that, for a long time, volleyball was played in
Asia according to the "Brown" rules which, among other things, used 16 players (to
enable a greater participation in matches).

An indication of the growth of volleyball in the United States is given in an article

published in 1916 in the Spalding Volleyball Guide and written by Robert C. Cubbon.
In that article Cubbon estimated that the number of players had reached a total
of 200,000 people subdivided in the following way: in the YMCA (boys, young men,
and older men) 70,000, in the YWCA (girls and women) 50,000, in schools (boys and
girls) 25,000 and in colleges (young men) 10,000.

In 1916, the YMCA managed to induce the powerful National Collegiate Athletic
Association (NCAA) to publish its rules and a series of articles, contributing to the
rapid growth of volleyball among young college students. In 1918 the number of
players per team was limited to six, and in 1922 the maximum number of authorized
contacts with the ball was fixed at three.

Until the early 1930s volleyball was for the most part a game of leisure and
recreation, and there were only a few international activities and competitions.
There were different rules of the game in the various parts of the world; however,
national championships were played in many countries (for instance, in Eastern
Europe where the level of play had reached a remarkable standard).

Volleyball thus became more of a competitive sport with high physical and technical

It has seen the start of two centuries and the dawn of a new millennium. Volleyball is
now one of the big five international sports, and the FIVB, with its 220 affiliated
national federations, is the largest international sporting federation in the world.

Volleyball has witnessed unprecedented growth over the last decade. With the great
success of world competitions such as the FIVB World Championships, the FIVB
World League, the FIVB World Grand Prix, the FIVB World Cup, and the FIVB Grand
Champions Cup as well as the Olympic Games, the level of participation at all levels
internationally continues to grow exponentially.

The beach volleyball phenomenon also continues to amaze. The overwhelming

spectator and television success of Beach Volleyball since its introduction to the
Olympic Games at Atlanta 1996 and the stunning success of the FIVB Swatch World
Tour and World Championships has opened up volleyball to a completely new
Court Dimensions

The game is played on a volleyball court 18 meters (59 feet) long and 9 meters
(29.5 feet) wide, divided into two 9 m × 9 m halves by a one-meter (40-inch) wide
net placed so that the top of the net is 2.43 meters (7 feet 11 5/8 inches) above the
center of the court for men's competition, and 2.24 meters (7 feet 4 1/8 inches) for
women's competition (these heights are varied for veterans and junior
Volleyball Net

The volleyball net is 9 meters long and 1 meters wide. It is about 2.43 meters high for
men and 2.24 meters for women from the ground to the top of the net. The net's
height over the two side lines must be exactly the same.

The volleyball is made of flexible leather or synthetic leather. The standard
circumference of the ball is 65 to 67 cm and weighs 260 to 280 g (grams).

6 Basic volleyball skills

The six basic volleyball skills are passing, setting, spiking, blocking, digging, and

Passing is often thought of as the most important skill in volleyball. If you can't pass
the serve, then you won't ever put your team in a position to score a point.

The importance of serving is often undervalued. Many coaches don't teach players to
serve aggressive and use this opportunity to give the team an advantage for scoring

Blocking is perhaps the least taught skill in volleyball. Players can get away with poor
blocking skills because not blocking isn't going to hurt the team as much as being
poor at executing other skills in volleyball.

Digging is another skill that isn't focused on quite as much as most skills in volleyball.

The setter position is considered to be the most important position in volleyball. The
setter basically runs the team offense.

Technical and tactical skills

Defensive Tactics in Volleyball

It’s no surprise that the success of a volleyball team depends a lot on its defence.
Obviously, a volleyball team should have defensive players, who must be able to
resist attacks of the opposite team successfully. You need to know that the defensive
tactic in volleyball is all about blocking as well as diving, rolling and sliding.

– Blocking. Now, it’s time to figure out what it takes to be a successful volleyball
blocker. It’s crucial for defensive volleyball players to choose the right moment for
blocking. On the other hand, blockers must be able to master the effective blocking

It goes without saying that a blocker must watch an attacker of the opposite team
carefully. This will help a defensive player prepare for an attack hit, choose the right
moment for blocking and, finally, resist an attack of the opposite team successfully.

Blockers are volleyball players who play near the net with arms out. There is no
question that a blocker should have a high vertical jump. When the need for blocking
an attack hit arises, a blocker should jump as high as possible. It’s important to note
that blockers need to position their hands downwards. When blocking the attack hit
of the opposite team, defensive volleyball players shouldn’t touch or cross the net.
That’s exactly what a defensive player needs to do for blocking an attack hit of the
opposite volleyball team.

It’s important to point out that a successful volleyball block oftentimes becomes a
successful attack hit. The reality is the ball may go in the unpredictable direction
after it’s blocked. Finally, the opposite team may find it hard to resist such an attack
hit. That means that if a blocker does a great job then his or her team has a good
chance to win a point.

– Diving, rolling and sliding. The job of a defensive volleyball player is not to let the
ball hit the ground. If this happens for some reasons the volleyball team will lose a
point. So, in order to prevent such a situation from happening, a volleyball player
must be able to dive, roll and slide.

When the attack hit is carried out, the ball usually goes fast. That’s the reason why
defensive players may find it difficult to resist attacks of the opposite team. That’s
exactly when such volleyball tactics as diving, rolling and sliding come into play.

If a defensive volleyball player is capable of diving, rolling and sliding then he/she will
be able to get low and prepare for resisting an attack successfully. The reality is if a
defensive player gets low, then he/she is likely to defend more area.

Without a doubt, such a defensive tactic makes it easier for volleyball players to
resist an attack of the opposite team. All of this means that defensive volleyball
players must work on diving, rolling and sliding technique regularly.

Passing Tactics in Volleyball

After the attack of the opposite team is resisted successfully, the next important
thing that a volleyball team has to do is to pass the ball and start preparing for
carrying out an attack hit. According to the rules of volleyball sport, a team has to
make no more than 3 shots to setup an attack (dig, set and spike). That means that
volleyball players need to get focused on developing volleyball passing skills. It’s
important to know that a passing tactic in volleyball is all about digging and setting.

– Digging. The preparation for a volleyball attack starts with a dig. Actually, a dig is an
accurate and controlled volleyball shot. A dig is also known as the first shot after an
attack of the opposite team is resisted. As previously mentioned, a volleyball team
has the right to make 3 shots only. So, dig is the first of 3 shots.

The question is – how to dig the ball? Now, it’s time to find the correct answer to this
important question. First of all, an athlete needs to put hands together and arms
straight. By doing this, a volleyball player will be able to prepare for a dig
successfully. Finally, a volleyball player needs to hit the ball. The ball should be hit on
the player’s forearms.

– Setting. As it was mentioned above, dig is the first of 3 shots. However, the second
passing shot is known to be set. In other words, setting is the final stage of preparing
for an attack hit. You need to know that there are two types of volleyball sets – an
overhand shot as well as overhead shot. Setting involves hitting the ball with palms.
Obviously, a setter shouldn’t hit the ball forcefully. Actually, the job of a setter is to
make it easy for an attacker to carry out the final third shot (an attack hit). That’s
why it’s fair to say that the success of an attacker depends a lot on setter’s job. 

Attacking Tactics in Volleyball

The goal of every volleyball team is to carry out a successful attack hit and get a
point. It’s worth noting that there are two types of attacking hits in the sport of
volleyball – serve as well as spike. That means that an attacking volleyball tactic is all
about serving and carrying out attack hits. Now, we’ll give you some insights into
attacking tactics in volleyball.

– Serving. Serve is considered to be one of the most important shots in volleyball.

There are different types of serves in volleyball – float serve, jump serve as well as
topspin serve. Obviously, a server should aim to make it difficult for the opposite
team to dig and pass the ball. It’s important to keep in mind that if a server does
great job then he/she will be able to put a lot of pressure on the opposite team.

– Spiking. A spike is another type of an attack hit in volleyball. After the ball is digged
and set, it’s time for an attacker to carry out the attack hit. And of course, an attacker
should aim to land the ball on the opposite side of the court to win a score for
his/her team. So, if an attacker does great job then he/she will be able either to win
a point for his/her team or create a lot of difficulties for the opposite team.

As you can see, there are different volleyball tactics and techniques. On the other
hand, it’s essential for you to know that there are different types of volleyball players
– right side hitter, outside hitter, opposite hitter as well as middle blocker, libero and
setter. Each of 6 volleyball players occupies his/her position on the court and has
his/her roles and responsibilities.
Attackers (also known as right side hitter, outside hitter and opposite hitter) are
responsible for organizing attacks of a volleyball team and carrying out attack hits.
Obviously, attackers need to focus on mastering serving as well as spiking skills.

Defensive players (also known as middle blocker and libero) need to block the
attacks of the opposite team. There is no doubt that it’s crucial for defensive players
to work hard on developing blocking skills.

The job of a setter is to set the ball and help his/her team to prepare for carrying out
the attack hit. And of course, developing setting skills has to be a key part of a
setter’s training program.


A coach has the responsibility of patiently and systematically explaining and drilling
the athletes on the basic skills that make up the game. These skills, called technical
skills, are the fundamentals that provide each player with the tools to execute the
physical requirements of the game. Each day at practice, you must also create
situations on the court in which players need to use their technical skills in a
gamelike situation, forcing them to make decisions that simulate the applications of
the skills and the choices they will have to make in a game. These skills, called
tactical skills, are the bridge between practice performance and game performance.
Although the proper execution of technical skills is necessary for success, the ability
of athletes to make appropriate decisions, known as tactical skills, is the key to
having everything come together when it counts—in the actual game.

Obviously, other types of skills, such as pure physical capacity, mental skills,
communication ability, and character traits, all contribute to athletic performance
(Rainer Martens, Successful Coaching, Third Edition, Champaign, IL: Human
Kinetics, 2004, p. 186-188). Although all these skills are important, effective teaching
of the technical and tactical skills of the game still provides the foundation for
successful volleyball coaching.

This book focuses on the essential basic to intermediate technical and tactical skills in
volleyball. The goal is to provide a resource that will help you improve your
understanding and instructional methods as you strive to teach your players this
exciting sport.

Technical skills are defined as “the specific procedures to move one's body to
perform the task that needs to be accomplished” (Martens, Successful Coaching,
p. 169). The proper execution of the technical skills in volleyball is, obviously, crucial
to successful performance. Most coaches, even those with little experience, know
what the basic technical skills of volleyball are: serving, passing, setting, attacking,
blocking, and digging. But the ability to teach athletes how to perform those skills
usually develops only over a long period, as a coach gains knowledge and experience.

The goal of this book is to speed up the timetable of teaching skills, improving your
ability to

clearly communicate the basic elements of each skill to the athletes,

construct drills and teaching situations to rehearse those skills in practice,
detect and correct errors in the athletes' performance of skills, and
help athletes transfer knowledge and ability from practice into games.
Effective coaches have the capacity to transfer their knowledge and understanding of
skills into improved performance of those skills by their athletes. This book outlines a
plan that will help you do just that by teaching you how to become a master of the
basic to intermediate technical skills of volleyball and assisting you in providing your
athletes with the resources necessary for success.

Mastery of the technical skills of volleyball is important, but athletes must also learn
the tactics of the game. Tactical skills are defined as “the decisions and actions of
players in the contest to gain an advantage over the opposing team or players”
(Martens, Successful Coaching, p. 170). Basic volleyball resources might focus on the
technical skills of the game and may overlook the tactical aspects. Coaches even omit
tactical considerations from practice because they focus so intently on teaching
technical skills. For volleyball players to develop better as overall players, they need
to learn techniques and tactics together. One way you can approach tactical skills is
by focusing on three critical aspects, “the tactical triangle”.
Volleyball tactics and techniques

There are different types of shots and skills in volleyball. The following shots involved
in volleyball are the serve, passing and attacking (dig, set and spike.)


Firstly the serve is the first shot to begin the game and a point. A good serve will
score you a point or put the opposition at a disadvantage position. A poor serve is
when the serve doesn’t go over the net or is not controlled and goes out of bounds.
Always serve to score points not just to get it over the net.

The 2 types of serving shots are a floater and top spin.

Floater is just tossing and hitting the ball with your palm through the centre of the

Topspin is a shot when you toss the ball and hit the ball with your palm but contact
with the ball below the centre of the ball making it have top spin. 


Passing involves a sequence of 3 shots in between you team. It’s a tactic to set up for
a strike attack. Therefore it is passing the ball by hitting it to set up to score points.


Usually in the passing sequences it begins with a dig. A dig is a shot that is the most
common shot it volleyball. It is an accurate shot that is controlled. The dig is usually
performed to keep the ball up and the first shot when the attacking team hits it over.
It involves having your hands together and arms straight and hitting the ball. The ball
is struck on the forearms. Therefore the dig shot is the first shot of the 3 passing


The following shot after the dig is called the setting or the set. It’s an overhand or
overhead shot. The shot is controlling the ball hitting in straight up above the net and
relatively close to the net. This is because the set shot is setting up for the last shot
out of the 3 shots. The set shot involves using your palms and hitting the ball
following through straight up. This shot is usually the 2nd shot and is a tactic for
setting up the 3rd shot.


Lastly the final shot of the 3 is to attack the opposition. Once the setting shot us in
the air and performed. The player would perform the spike shot. A spike shot is fast
direct shot to the opposition’s side of the net. It involves a player to jump up for the
ball once the ball is in the air from the controlled set shot. Due to the set shot being
above the net and close. The player who jumped for the spike can angle the spike
shot in a downwards angle in the opponents side of the court. A spike is a lethal
attacking move that usually scores you the points. A spike involves using your palm
and angling your wrist downwards on the ball to create topspin.

Therefore all shots the dig, set and spike come into the passing categories. They all
are a consistent sequence when being performed and are great attacking tactics. All
shots work together to perform a strike attack. 

Defensive Tactics


A well timed and effective block will diffuse an attack. Players near the net when
defending will jump up with their arms out and attempt to block the shot coming
over the net. This is a defensive tactic that blocks a spike. Blockers would jump up
and just before the net because they cannot touch the net or cross it. Hands when
blocking should be positions downwards and open this is because it could be a great
attacking tactic to. This is because when the ball is block it may return in the
opponents side of the court and they might not be able to react quickly enough and
score you a point. Therefore a block is a great tactic for defence and attack.

Diving, rolling and sliding

Clearly instead of just letting the ball hit the ground and let the other team score the
point be brave and dive, slide or roll instead. It’s a great tactic to defend a spike
because the spike is coming fast and is hard to defend. When you dive, slide or roll
you are getting low and are covering more area of defence around the court rather
than just standing there. 

Attacking tactics


Serve is an important shot because it’s the first shot that begins the point. Therefore
if you do a good serve it puts the other team under pressure so your team have an
advantage. Whereas if you do a poor serve which is easier for the other team the
pressure will be on your team. Don’t just serve the ball to just get it over the net.
Serve the ball to score the point or dominate the start of the point.


The spike is a great attacking tactic. A spike is a lethal fast shot in a downwards
motion that would score you most of your points and if it doesn’t score you a point it
still scrambles your opponent and puts pressure on them.

Setting shot

The set shot is great for controlling the ball and setting up for an attack. It’s a great
tactic for your team to set up and score points.


Communication is a huge tactic in all codes of sport. Communication plays an

important role in volleyball. In volleyball communication is a great tactic for attacking
and defending. This is because your team is communicating to each other who are
taking the shot and whose ball it is. Therefore it makes the game much easier.

Basic Volleyball Rules

6 players on the floor at any one time - 3 in the front row and 3 in the back row
Maximum of 3 hits per side
Points are made on every serve for wining team of rally (rally-point scoring).
Player may not hit the ball twice in succession. (A block is not considered a hit.)
Ball may be played off the net during a volley and on a serve.
A ball hitting a boundary line is in.
A ball is out if it hits an antennae, the floor completely outside the court, any of the
net or cables outside the antennae, the referee stand or pole, the ceiling above a
non-playable area.
It is legal to contact the ball with any part of a player’s body.
It is illegal to catch, hold or throw the ball.
A player cannot block or attack a serve from on or inside the 10-foot line.
After the serve, front-line players may switch positions at the net.
Matches are made up of sets; the number depends on level of play. 3-set matches
are 2 sets to 25 points and a third set to 15. Each set must be won by two points. The
winner is the first team to win 2 sets. 5-set matches are 4 sets to 25 points and fifth
set to 15. The team must win by 2 unless tournament rules dictate otherwise. The
winner is the first team to win three sets.
Basic Volleyball Rule Violations
Rule violations that result in a point for the opponent
When serving, the player steps on or across the service line as while making contact
with the ball.
Failure to serve the ball over the net successfully.
Ball-handling errors. Contacting the ball illegally (double touching, lifting, carrying,
throwing, etc.)
Touching the net with any part of the body while the ball is in play.
When blocking a ball coming from the opponent’s court, it’s illegal to contact the ball
when reaching over the net if both your opponent has not used 3 contacts AND they
have a player there to make a play on the ball.
When attacking a ball coming from the opponent’s court, contacting the ball when
reaching over the net is a violation if the ball has not yet broken the vertical plane of
the net.
Crossing the court centerline with any part of your body is a violation. Exception: if it
is the hand or foot. In this case, the entire hand or entire foot must cross for it to be
a violation.
Serving out of rotation/order.
Back-row player blocking (deflecting a ball coming from the opponent) when, at the
moment of contact, the back-row player is near the net and has part of his/her body
above the top of the net. This is an illegal block.
Back-row player attacking a ball inside the front zone (the area inside the 3M/10-foot
line) when, at the moment of contact, the ball is completely above the net. This is an
illegal attack.

How to officiate sport the sport

Volleyball Officials and Their Duties
Hemera Technologies/ Images

As in most sporting competitions, volleyball employs referees in order to control the

flow of the game and enforce the rules. The volleyball referee team includes the first
referee, the second referee, the scorer and two line judges. Without the referee
team, the fast-paced game could easily get out of hand if disputes regarding rules
were to arise.

The official scorer keeps track of the score throughout the volleyball game. Before
the game begins the scorer notes the starting lineup of each team and notifies the
referees if the lineup wasn't received on time.

If a dispute or irregularity arises regarding the score, the scorer uses a buzzer to
notify the first and second referees. Additionally, when a substitution request arises,
the scorer notifies the referees.

Line Judges
At least two, and as many as four, line judges monitor each game. The line judges
stand at the corners of the court watching the lines to indicate whether a ball in play
falls in or out of the court.

If a server steps on the line during a serve, the line judge watching the given line
notifies the referees using a flag. When a player touches an out-of-play ball or if the
ball hits an antenna, the designated line judge also indicates the interference.

First Referee
The first referee stands on the referee stand and controls the play of the entire
game. Whatever issues arise during the game, the first referee determines the call
and the has the final say. After making a call, no player or other referee can argue
the call, although a formal protest can be placed with the scorer.

Before the match begins, the first referee inspects the equipment and the
players' uniforms. The warm-ups and the coin toss also fall under the
jurisdiction of the first referee.

Throughout the match, the first referee makes calls regarding faults and scoring
issues. Following the match, the first referee notes the score and signs the official

Second Referee
The second referee works to assist the first referee throughout the game. If for some
reason the first referee can't finish her duties, the second referee may take
the place of the first referee.

The second referee stands next to the post opposite the first referee. In addition to
assisting the first referee with determining faults throughout the game, the second
referee is in charge of all substitutions, timeouts and the actions of the
scorer's table.
Basic Volleyball Skills
Developing fundamentals are key to success in volleyball
Developing basic volleyball skills for success.

I'm sure you have often heard the key to success in sports is focusing on
fundamentals. This statement is perhaps more true in volleyball than any other

The best teams are always the most highly skilled teams.

The most fundamentally sound teams have the best skills and are very confident.
These highly skilled players have the ability to focus better than anyone else.

Basic Volleyball Terminology

Ace: A serve that results directly in a point, usually when the ball hits the floor
untouched on the receiving team’s side of the court.
Assist: Helping a teammate set up for a kill.
Attack: The offensive action of hitting the ball.
Attacker: Also “hitter” and “spiker.” A player who attempts to hit a ball offensively
with the purpose of terminating play.
Attack Block: The defensive team’s attempt to block a spiked ball.
Attack Error: An attack botched in one of 5 ways: ball lands out of bounds; ball goes
into net; attacker commits center line or net violation or attacker illegally contacts
Attack Line: A line 3 meters/10 feet away from, and parallel to, the net. Separates
the front-row players from the back-row players. A back-row player cannot legally
attack the ball above the net unless he takes off from behind this line.

Back row/court: Space from baseline (endline) to attack line. There are 3 players
whose court positions are in this area (positions 1, 6 & 5 on court)
Back Row Attack: When a back-row player takes off from behind the attack line (10-
foot/3-meter) line and attacks the ball. Various terms A-B-C-D-PIPE-BIC.
Back set: Set delivered behind the setter.
Baseline: The back boundary of the court. Also called the end line
Block: One of the 6 basic skills. A defensive play by one or more front-row players
meant to intercept a spiked ball. The combination of one, 2 or 3 players jumping in
front of the opposing spiker and contacting the spiked ball with the hands.
Blocking Error: Touching the net, crossing the centerline, blocking a set or serve or
any other “local” violation that occurs while making a block attempt.

Center line: The boundary that runs under the net and divides the court into two
equal halves.
Closing the block: The responsibility of the assisting blocker(s) to angle their body
relative to the first blocker.
“Cover”: Refers to the hitter having his/her teammates ready to retrieve rebounds
from the opposing blockers.
Cross-court attack: An attack directed diagonally from the point of attack. Also called
an angle hit.
Cut shot: A spike from the hitter’s strong side that travels at a sharp angle across the

Deep: Refers to sending the ball away from the net, toward the baseline of the
opponent’s court.
Defense: One of the 6 basic skills. The key skills used to receive the opponent's attack
are digging and sprawling. The dig resembles a forearm pass from a low ready
position and is used more for balls that are hit near the defender. The sprawl is a
result of an attempted dig for a ball hit farther away from the defender. It resembles
a dive.
Dig: Passing a spiked or rapidly hit ball and low to ground. Defensive play. Slang for
retrieving an attacked ball close to the floor. Statistically scored on a 3.0 point
Dink: A one-handed, soft hit into the opponent’s court using the fingertips. Also
called a tip.
Double block: Two players working in unison to intercept a ball at the net.
Double hit: Violation. Two successive hits by the same player.
Down Ball: Type of attack. “Down” refers to the blockers who neither jump, nor raise
their hands above the net.
Dump: Usually performed by the setter, who delivers the ball into the opponent’s
court on the second contact.

Five-One (5-1): An offensive system that uses five hitters and one setter.
Floater: A serve with no spin so the ball follows an erratic path.
Follow: To move with and block an attacker. Athletes may change positions with
another blocker in the process.
Forearm Pass: Sometimes referred to as the “pass,” “bump” or “dig”.
Four-Two (4-2): An offensive system using four hitters and two setters.
Free ball: Returning the ball to the opponent without the intent to get a kill. Usually a
slow, arcing pass or “roll” shot rather than a spike.
Front: Position of a blocker so that she/he can block the attacker.
Front-row: Three players whose court position is in front of the attack line (3M/10
Foot), near the net. These players are in positions 2, 3 & 4 on the court.

Game plan: Offensive and defensive emphasis for an opponent. Usually organized for
each rotation by the coaching staff.

Held ball: A ball that comes to rest during contact resulting in a violation.
Hit: One of the 6 basic skills. To jump and strike the ball with an overhand, forceful
Hitter: Also “spiker” or “attacker.” The player who is responsible for hitting the ball.
Hitting percentage: A statistic derived from total kills minus total attack errors,
divided by total attempts.

Joust: When 2 opposing players contact the ball simultaneously above the net
causing the ball to momentarily come to rest; the point is replayed if this is called by
the official.
Jump serve: The server uses an approach, toss, takeoff and serves the ball with a
spiking motion while in the air. There are two main types: jump float, jump spin.

Key player/play : To discern a team’s best player or probable next play by
observation of patterns or habits.
Kill: An attack that results directly in a point or sideout.

Libero: A player specialized in defensive skills. This player must wear a contrasting
jersey color from his or her teammates and cannot block or attack the ball when it is
entirely above net height. When the ball is not in play, the libero can replace any
back-row player without prior notice to the officials.
Lines: The marks that serve as boundaries of a court. 2 inches (5cm) wide.
Linesman: Officials located at the corners of the court; each linesman is responsible
for ruling if the ball is legally in play along the lines for which he or she is responsible.
For indicating touches and play outside of the antennae on their side of net.
Lineup: Players starting rotation and, therefore, serving order. Numbered 1,2,3,4,5,6.
Line serve: A straight-ahead serve landing near the opponent’s left sideline.
Line shot: A ball spiked along an opponent’s sideline, closest to the hitter and outside
the block.
Load: Body position for the blockers so that they are most effective.
Middle back: A defensive system that uses the middle back player in 6 to cover deep
spikes. Also called “6 back” defense.
Middle blocker: Usually plays in the middle of the net when in the front row and
moves laterally to her blocking assignments.
Middle Up: A defensive system that uses the middle-back player in 6 to cover tips or
short shots along the 3 meter/10 foot line. Also called a “6 up” defense
Mintonette: The original name of the game of volleyball, created by William Morgan.

Net Height: Women – 7 feet, 4-1/8 inches high (2.24m),
Men – 7 feet, 11-5/8 inches high (2.43m).

Off-blocker: Outside blocker not included in the double block. Also called off-side
Off-Speed Shots: An attack that is intentionally slow. Ball spiked with less than
maximum force but with spin. Also called “roll” shot.
Opposite: Player who plays opposite the setter in the rotation. In some systems, this
player is also a setter. In other systems, this player is called a right-side.
Outside hitter: Usually plays at the ends of the net when in the front row. Also called
right-side (opposite) or left side (power).
Overhand pass: A pass with both hands open that is controlled by the fingers, with
the face below the ball. Both hands simultaneously contact the ball above the head
and direct it to the intended target.
Overhand serve: Serving the ball and striking it with the hand above the shoulder.
Float or spin.
Overlap: A violation called if a team is lined up out of rotation when the ball is
Overpass: A ball passed across the net.
Overset: An errant set that crosses the net without being touched by another
offensive player.

Pass: One of the 6 basic skills. Receiving a serve or the first contact of the ball with
the intent to control the ball to another player. Also called a “bump”.
Pancake: One-hand floor defensive technique where the hand is extended and slid
along the floor palm down while the player dives or extension rolls so the ball
bounces off the back of the hand and is considered legal.
Party ball: When the ball is passed across the net in front of attack line so the front-
row attacker can immediately hit the ball on the first contact.
Penetration: The blocker’s ability to reach over the net above the opponent’s court.
Perimeter: Backcourt defense where 4 players arrange themselves near the
boundaries of the court.
Pipe: A back-row attack from the middle of the court. Position 6.
Play: An attack with a planned fake, usually including 2 or more hitter.

Quick set: An extremely low vertical set used to beat the opponent’s block. Can be
set at any position on the net.

Rally scoring: Scoring method where points can be won by the serving or receiving
Ready position: The flexed, yet comfortable, posture a player assumes before moving
to the point of contact.
Red card: Given by the official to a player or coach for flagrant misconduct resulting
in a point/side out to the opponent. Results in automatic ejection and a point/side
out for the opponent.
Roof: To block a spike, usually straight down for a point.
Rotation: The clockwise movement of players around the court and through the
serving position following a side out. Players must retain their initial rotational order
throughout the entire game, but once the ball is contacted on serve they are allowed
to move anywhere.

Seam: The mid-point between 2 players.
Serve: One of the 6 basic skills. Used to put the ball into play. It is the only skill
controlled exclusively by one player.
Set: One of the 6 basic skills. The tactical skill in which a ball is directed to a point
where a player can spike it into the opponent’s court. Sets can be set at different
heights and different locations on the net and offensively there are names for each
of these. First number is location on net and second number height of set. (Example:
13.) Sets can also be named.
Set attack: When a setter attempts to score rather than set the ball to a setter. Also
called a shoot set. Setter: The second passer whose job it is to position a pass to the
Shallow: Near the net.
Shank: Severely misdirected pass.
Side out: Change of service when a serving team has failed to score a point. Occurs
when the receiving team successfully puts the ball away against the
serving team, or when the serving team commits an unforced error.
Six-pack: Being hit in the face with the ball.
Six-two (6-2): An offense with four spikers and two spiker/setters. Setter comes from
the back row.
Slide/step: A quick attack behind the setter.
Spike: Also called a hit or attack. A ball contacted with force by a player on the
offensive team who intends to terminate the ball on the opponent’s floor or off the
opponent’s blocker.
Split block: A double-block that leaves a space between the blockers.
Stuff: A ball deflected back to the attacking team’s floor by the opponent’s blockers.
Substitution: Allows one player to replace another player already on the court. Rules
dictate number of subs each team is allowed.
Switch: To change court positions after a ball is served to facilitate strongest player

Tandem: A combination in which one player attacks immediately behind another.
Tape: The top of the net.
Telegraph: To show one’s intention to the opponents.
Three-meter line: The line extended across the court to signify the point which a
back-row player must leave the ground behind to attack the ball. Also call “attack
line” and 10-foot line
Tip: A one-handed, soft hit into the opponent’s court using the fingertips. Also called
a dink.
Tool: When an attacker hits the ball off an opposing blocker’s arms out of bounds.
Also called a wipe.
Touch: A player contacting the ball on the defensive play.
Transition: To switch from offense to defense and vice versa.
Triple-block: Block formed by all 3 front-row players.

Underhand serve: A serve performed with an underhand striking action. The ball is
usually contacted with the heel of the hand.

W serve-receive formation: Three players in the front row, two in the back.
Wipe: To deliberately spike the ball off an opponent’s hands and out of bounds. Also
called a tool.

Yellow Card: Given by the official to a player or coach as a warning of misconduct.
Two yellow cards result in an automatic red card.