Volleyball Setting Terminology:
Six Terms Every Setter Needs To Know

Players in the setter position need to know and include these six setting

terms in their volleyball vocabulary. 

  • -assist
  • -held ball
  • -lift
  • -back set
  • -over set
  • -setter dump

Volleyball Setting Terminology: What is an Assist?

The "assist" is specific setter terminology used when

recording stats on a stat sheet during a game.

Volleyball Setting Terminology: What is a held ball?

A referee will call this violation on a player when she tries to set

the volleyball and lets the ball come to a stop or lets it rest in her

hands, causing the ball to stop moving before pushing it back up into

the air.

When setting, the ball shouldn't come to a complete stop in your

hands, if it does the ref will say that you "held" the ball too long.

Volleyball Setting Terminology: What is a lift?

According to basic volleyball rules, a lift is a violation usually

committed while setting a ball.

This happens when a player makes illegal contact by using a "lifting"

action with one or two of her hands staying too long in contact with a


A lift can be called on a defensive action but it's most often committed

when a player is setting the ball.

Volleyball Setting Terminology: What is a Back Set?

A back set is the type of set a setter delivers to a player that is behind


Because the starting setter position has the player

perpendicular to the net, which positions them to have their back to their

offside (right side) hitter, that right front attacker will receive a lot of back

sets because the setter doesn't have time to turn around and face them.

Instead, the volleyball setter will set the ball behind her.

A back set comes in all forms, such as a back high ball, a back

shoot, a fake X, a slide, a back quick and a "red" set.

Volleyball Setting Terminology: What is an Over Set?

An "over set" happens when a setter runs a fast attack and in

their attempt to deliver a ball to a specific hitter, she sets the ball too far

past the area where the hitter was supposed to make contact with the

ball and the ball gets "set over" the net.

Another example occurs when a ball is set in a way that it

misses its intended target area for a spiker which keeps her from

hitting the ball.

This would be counted as a setting error, since the spiker wasn't able to

make contact with the ball.

What is a dump ball or setter dump?

A "dump" is when a setter 'dumps' or pushes the ball into the opposing

team's volleyball court instead of setting the ball to one of her


Often done by a front row setter as an attack,  in an attempt to catch the

other team's blockers and defense off guard.

When the setter is front row she can attack the ball to confuse

the opposing blockers.  

She will mix up her sets to her hitters every now and

then with attempts to hit or dump the ball into the other team's court.

One deceptive style used to dump a ball effectively happens when a

setter decides to jump set as if she's about to set the ball to one of

her middle players.

Volleyball Setting Terminology: The Setter DumpVolleyball Setting Terminology: The Setter Dump

Then instead of setting the ball, she uses her hand to 'assist', "push"

or dump the ball into the other team's court.

If done correctly, she contacts the ball at the height of her jump aiming

for the ball to travel over her shoulder and over the outstretching

blocking hands and shoulders of the opposing players in front of

her, toan empty space on the floor inside the ten foot line.

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