5-1 Volleyball Offense
What Players and Coaches Like And Dont Like

The 5 -1 volleyball offense means a team has one setter and 5 players who depending on the rotation has four or five (not the libero) hitters who can attack.

What's the 5-1 Volleyball Offense?

Usually teams with one strong setter play a 5 - 1 volleyball offense. That's one setter and five other players on the offensive team. (Al Case)Usually teams with one strong setter play a 5 - 1 volleyball offense. That's one setter and five other players on the offensive team. (Al Case)

Usually teams with one strong setter play a 5 - 1 volleyball offense.

That's one setter and five other players on the offensive team.

Of the five players on the team depending on the rotation the team is in they potentially have 4 or 5 eligible hitters on the court.  

Don't forget when teams play with a libero that reduces the amount of hitters a team can have attack the ball. 

If there are no liberos on the court then all five players can potentially be attackers on offense.   

Don't forget many teams play with a libero and sometimes two so that reduces the amount of hitters a team can have attack the ball. 

If there are no liberos on the court then all five players can potentially be attackers on offense.   


5-1 Offense: The Setter

In a 5 -1 volleyball offense when the setter is front row she has two other front row hitters she can set a ball to.
(Tennessee Journalist)In a 5 -1 volleyball offense when the setter is front row she has two other front row hitters she can set a ball to. (Tennessee Journalist)

In a 5-1 offense, the lone setter runs the entire offense... all the time.... whether he or she is front row or backrow they are in charge of setting EVERY second ball. 

In a 5 -1 offense when the setter is front row she has two other front row hitters she can set a ball to.  

He/She can also jump and attack hit or dump the ball over as an attack to score.  


In a 5-1 volleyball offense when front row the setter can also jump and attack hit or dump the ball over as an attack to score. (Matt Pendleton)In a 5-1 volleyball offense when front row the setter can also jump and attack hit or dump the ball over as an attack to score. (Matt Pendleton)


In a 5-1 offense when the setter is backrow he/she has three other front row (and possibly one backrow if the libero is in) hitters she/he can set a ball to ...to hit.

He/She cannot attack hit or dump the ball over as an attempt to score when in the backrow.  

As you can see in a 5-1 volleyball offense the setter is called on ..to just set, block, serve, and play defense.

But in a 6-2 offense where there are two setters on the court at the same time one setter runs the offense when they are in the backrow while the other hits and attacks while they are in the front row. 


Why Do Hitters Like The 5-1 Volleyball Offense?


Hitters like the 5-1 Volleyball Offense because...

With the 5-1 offense, hitters tend to prefer the fact that one setter runs the attack. 

When two setters are on the court running the offense sometimes hitters have to get used to two different setting styles. 

One setter may set you the same set but completely different (faster or lower) than the other setter. 


Also with a 5-1 volleyball offense, when the setter is front row it opens up more offensive possibilities (Ralph Aversen)Also with a 5-1 volleyball offense, when the setter is front row it opens up more offensive possibilities (Ralph Aversen)

They can attack from many different areas along the net. 

Also with a 5-1 volleyball offense, when the setter is front row it opens up more offensive possibilities so both the left side hitter and/or the middle hitters can run more plays either closer to or further behind the setter so that basically they arent stuck only attacking from their designated zones on the net.



Middle hitters can run slides, which is a type of an attack thats run behind the setter where the hitters takes off on one foot.

This type of hit is meant to spread the opposing team's defense so the middle attacker can be one-on-one against the opposing middle blocker (instead of against possibly two blockers) which usually gives the advantage to the hitter. 


Coaches like the 5-1 Volleyball Offense Because...


Most volleyball coaches tend to like the 5-1 volleyball offense for the same reason football players like to play one quarterback at a time. 

Its easier to have one player run your team offense and strategize with during a match as opposed to talking to two different players. 


Its easier to have one player run your team offense and strategize with during a match as opposed to talking to two different players. (Jon Fravel)Its easier to have one player run your team offense and strategize with during a match as opposed to talking to two different players. (Jon Fravel)

When a coach creates their starting lineup for their 5 - 1 offense the following players always play opposite of each other: 

  • The setter plays opposite the right side attacker (also known as 'the opposite').
  • Middle blockers are opposite middles or liberos who come in for them when they rotate to the backrow. 
  • Left side hitters (also known as left sides or wing spiker) play opposite each other. 

As seen in the diagram below...the opposite is front row so the setter has to be backrow. The middle blockers are opposite each other and so are wing spikers. 

If a libero came in the backrow to replace the middle blocker that rotated to the back, the libero needs to stay opposite the middle blocker in the front row. 


To be clear, "playing opposite" of someone means that


Watch this animated guide of how the 5-1 offense works in serve receive and on defense. 

Do You Follow Me on Instagram?


Follow me on Instagram @coach_apchap to improve your game even faster!

I share alot of individual, partner and easy-to-do volleyball serving drills we do in class with my followers.

Many of these volleyball practice drills you can do at home by yourself or try at your next practice with your teammates.

If you're a B team or JV player trying to make varsity next year...your goal should be to complete 1000 reps a day of at least three of the basic skills on your own...volleyball passing, serving and setting should be at the top of the list. 


Read more information on Volleyball Plays and Offenses


  1. IImprove Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
  2.  ›
  3. Volleyball Plays Why A Setters Sets Vary In Speed, Height And Location
  4.  ›
  5. 5-1 Volleyball Offense What Players and Coaches Like And Dont Like
  6.  ›




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