Fundamental Rules In Volleyball Defense

Volleyball Team Communication Is Vital

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Fundamental rules in volleyball for defense.

Once your team serves the ball over the net to the opposing

team you and your five players are officially on the defensive


Your defensive team must first either block the ball which

keeps the ball from crossing the net back into your court, or if

the ball does get past the block, then you must dig the ball or

play defense which means your three back row diggers will do 

what's possible to keep the ball of the floor.

Volleyball Defense: Communication Is Key!

Developing great communication skills while you're in defense in the

back court should be placed as a priority, some where near the top

of the list of fundamental rules in volleyball defense. 


Although some coaches and players may consider these suggestions as

"unofficial" rules for volleyball, they are excellent habits that college

and professional players adopt, so that means its never too early for

you to follow these rules too.

Here's the deal.

When your team is on defense, the defensive players at the net,

the blockers, should be calling out what they see the opposing

team's attackers are doing.

One of the important fundamental rules in volleyball is for

players to communicate with their teammates what play they see

developing as soon as they understand what they think the

other team is running. 

Fundamental Rules In Volleyball:
Secrecy On Offense

It's okay to keep secrets when your team is running an offense since

you don't want to tell the opposing team what attack your team is

about to run.

In fact, when the setter calls the play, she will do it in a low voice or by

indicating with her fingers what play she wants her attackers to run.

When she calls the play, she will hide her fingers or hide her hands,

behind the back of one of the players she is standing behind so that

only her attackers know what she wants them to do.

For teams that have their hitters call the play, the hitters will do

the same thing. They will call a play by hiding their fingers so

only the setter sees the call or they might mouth the words of

what they want to hit to the setter so she's the only one who will

understand what they are saying.

Either way, on offense, when a team is in serve receive, the

players will do what they can to hide or disguise the type of attack or

play the plan to run, in hopes of making it harder for the opposing

team's defense to stop them.

Fundamental Rules In Volleyball:
Communicate On Defense

But its an entirely different story when a team is on defense.

The unofficial but fundamental rules in volleyball state that players

shouldn't have secrets when their team is on defense.

Its on defense that players should be talking and

communicating with each other the most. 

The defensive players need to call out what play they see developing as

or before they see it developing.

Unfortunately a lot of volleyball players stay quiet when they

are on defense and they assume that everybody on their team is seeing

the same thing.

Here's the problem.

If you and five other people were eyewitnesses to a car accident, there

will inevitably be different versions from each of the eyewitnesses as to

what they think they saw cause the car accident.

Six people will give six different versions of their "eyewitness" account.

People will always interpret what they see differently. Some

interpretations will be similar but many will vary.

You don't have to ask me about this, just ask a cop.

One of the fundamental rules in volleyball is that players on the

same team need to be able to "see" or interpret the same things,

in the same way at pretty much the same time.

So now the question is, how do you get six players to do that?

To be sure members of your team are seeing the same thing, good

volleyball team communication skills are needed.

As players see a play developing they need to "call out the play" or talk

about the action out loud to their teammates so that everyone on the

squad knows and understands and can anticipate what moves or

adjustments they need to make to play defense against the

opposing team's impending attack.

Practicing Volleyball Team
Communication Skills

If there are three or four or five voices from players all calling out the

same thing that they see happening across the net, then everyone

knows that all the team members are seeing the same play.

When this happens, its easier to make adjustments as a whole team, as

opposed to just one person doing one thing in defense while

two or three others do something else.  

Using these fundamental rules in volleyball about always

communicating on defense will prevent players from having to guess

what is on each other's minds.

The more they talk to each other the more they know that each team

member is seeing the action in the very same way.

Fundamental Rules In Volleyball
What To Say And When To Say It
Call Out The Front Row Setter

These fundamental rules in volleyball are especially important when

the opposing team's setter has rotated to the front row.

Too many volleyball setters make too many easy points when they

are front row only because the opposing teams blockers didn't know

or didn't alert each other or their back row teammates by calling out

loud that the opposing team's setter rotated up to the front.

Once a setter rotates up to the front row, and the team is playing

something like a 4-2 offense, then that setter can attack the ball like

any one of her hitters.

An "attack" can come in the form of a hit, a spike or a tip which in the

setter's case is called a dump.

A dump is when the setter fakes like she is going to set one of her

two front row players, and instead she "dumps" the ball over the

net on the second contact into an empty space on her

opponent's court.

A setter can dump a ball by using one hand or she can use two

hands but either way, similar to a "hitter", if the setter doesn't have a

block in front of her to try and stop her from tipping or dumping the ball

over the net, then she is in great position to make extremely easy points. 

Important Volleyball Setter Information That Needs Repeating...

Let me repeat, the front row setter is in position to make ridiculously

easy points, by dumping the ball over the net especially if no one on the

opposing team's defense, particularly the front row blockers, are paying

attention enough to call out the fact that this setter is now in the front


Fundamental Rules In Volleyball

Left Handed Setters Love To Dump The Ball!

Oftentimes only one or two players, usually the middle blocker and

maybe one setter who's paying attention will call out "front row setter!"

in an effort to communicate to their team which hitters on the

opposing team are in zones 2, 3 and 4.

But since it's usually the back row defenders that have to dig the

setter's front row tip attack, it is really, really much more effective if

five or six voices talk about the fact that she has rotated up to the

front row.

This means everyone should be paying attention as to who the

opposing team's front row attackers are and where the setter is at all


A front row blocker usually the one playing on the left side

should take the responsibility of telling everyone on their team "Hey, I'll

stay with the setter, she's right here in the ____position."

She should say this at the net, before the referee whistles for the serve

and in a loud voice so all the members of her team can hear her. 

Headline Caption photo by Matt Van Winkle

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