6 Positions of Volleyball Rotational Positions and Zones on the Court

On an indoor court, there are 6 positions of volleyball also called zones that players rotate in and out of depending on the offense that their team runs. 


Here's an explanation of the 6 positions of volleyball, specifically the rotational positions that players rotate in and out of, on an indoor court, regardless of the positions they play, during a match.

Let's get started. 

There are six positions, also called zones on an indoor court. 

With all the lines on a court you would think that these six zones would be outlined and visible to the naked eye, but they aren't.



They are invisible and they form the key elements of each rotation, which is a part of the game you should familiarize yourself before you start to seriously learn how to play volleyball. 

These are areas invisibly divided into six sections on the court that you just have to know about as a player.


6 Positions of Volleyball
Front Row and Back Row


As I was saying, there are six positions on a court, three are in the back court also referred to as the back row.  

Three zones or positions are in the front court which is more commonly called the front row.

Also, remember the front row and the back row are divided by the ten foot line, which is clearly visible on the court. 



When you rotate in volleyball you move clockwise, each player moving into one rotational position to their left when they're in the backrow and one rotational position to their right when they're in the front row, after their team has won a rally and the right to serve.


6 Positions of Volleyball
Locations and Abbreviations


There are 6 rotational positions on the court that each player rotates in and out of regardless of what role or position they play.

Here is the list of rotational positions in clockwise order, starting with Position 1, RB, Right Back. 

Backrow Rotational Positions

  • Position 1 is Right Back - RB
  • Position 6 is Middle Back - MB
  • Position 5 is Left Back - LB

Front Row Rotational Positions

  • Position 4 is Left Front - LF
  • Position 3 is Middle Front - MF
  • Position 2 is Right Front - RF


6 Positions of Volleyball
Player Positions


There are specialized areas that each player position plays in.


Setters and Opposites 

  • Position 2 when they're in the front row 
  • Position 1 when they are on defense in the backrow



Middles/Liberos

  • Position 3 when they're in the front row
  • Position 6 if they stay in the backrow but if they're rotated out and replaced by a libero, the libero then plays defense in middle back
  • On more teams now the libero plays left back in Position 5 so the left side/wing spiker can play defense in Position 6 and hit from the backrow from there as well. 



Left Sides/Wing Spikers

  • Position 4 when they're in the front row
  • Position 5/6 when they're in the backrow. This depends on the coach and whether he wants the wing spiker to attack from the middle back position 6 on the court, when they are backrow 



When your team is on defense, at the start of each rally, each player starts in their rotational position on the court.

Once the whistle blows and the server has served the ball, then each player from their rotational position on the court switches to play in their specialized position on the court for the duration of the rally.



So when the whistle blows and the server serves then setters go to the right side of the court, if they are front row they switch to Position 2, if back row they switch with whoever is in rotational Position 1 to play in their specialized position on the right side.

Left side players will switch to play on the left sides of the court.

Middles and liberos switch to play in the middle positions on the court (with some exceptions for liberos.)

Once the rally ends they go back to their rotational position on the court. 

If they won the rally they rotate one position.

If they lost the rally they go back to their serve receive offense pattern and receive serve again. 



In the photo above Illinois State Redbirds Blockers On Defense Ready To Switch After Their Server Serves The Ball

#2 Will Go To Position 4 on the court, switching from her rotational position on the court to her specialized volleyball position because she's the left side hitter.

The Player Behind Her Will Go To Zone 2 because she is the setter or the right side hitter;

#21 The Middle Blocker Will Stay In Zone 3 because she's already in her rotational position on the court (MF) and doesn't need to switch with anybody after her server serves.  

(photo by Bill Shaner)


The more you play, the more you will become familiar with what happens in each position and where you need to be on the court. 


Volleyball Positions: 
Where Do I Go From Here?


Good times! Where do you need to go now? Here are three options: 

  1. Learn more about the various Rotations.  
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page  Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the Volleyball Positions section in the drop down menu at the top of the page


You might like these basic skills pages. 

  1. Improve Your Volleyball
  2.  ›
  3. Positions: What Are They On The Court?
  4.  ›
  5. Volleyball Basics: Six Essential Skills Varsity Players Have To Know
  6. 6 Positions of Volleyball, Rotational Positions and Zones on the Court


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