Basic Volleyball Terminology
A Short Glossary of Terms For Passers

This short list of basic volleyball terminology explains techniques used to pass a ball and includes descriptions of common passing and serve receive errors. 


I've created a mini glossary of basic volleyball terminology that describes three different types of common volleyball violations and fouls committed either in serve receive or while passing a ball during a rally. 



Basic Volleyball Terminology
What is a shank?


What does "shank the ball" mean?

The "shank" is volleyball lingo used to describe the action of a player who miscontacts a hard serve or hard hit sending the ball ricocheting off your arms out of bounds instead of to the setter or the intended targeted player. 



The "shank" is a slang word that commonly appears in a phrase used by a player, coach or fan like "Wow, you really shanked that ball" or "Hey did you see how far he shanked that ball?"

When you "shank" a ball because of your inability to

  • pass it to another teammate or over the net, and
  • it lands out of bounds before a teammate can help recover it and
  • if the opposing team doesn't touch it on its the way out

the result is a direct point awarded to the opposing team.


Basic Volleyball Terminology: 
What is an overpass?


In basic volleyball terminology, if you commit an "overpass", it means that while passing a ball up to your setter, usually during an attempt to receive the serve, you contact the ball with too much forward momentum.

So the ball, instead of going to your setter at the net, goes over the head of the setter and directly over the net into the opposing team's court.


Basic Volleyball Terminology
What is a reception error?


A "reception error" is a fancy way of saying that on the first contact of the ball in serve receive you either "shanked" the ball, "overpassed" the ball or contacted the ball in a way that it hit the floor or went out of bounds before another teammate or setter could touch it to make a second contact.


Basic Volleyball Terminology
What does "passing on a dime" mean?


The term "passing on a dime" does not describe any volleyball passing errors. 

In fact its quite the opposite. 

This is one of the terms that celebrates an excellent execution of a player passing the ball to the target. 

Ever hear someone say "Oh that's right on the money" if so you are headed in the right direction toward understanding this phrase. 



Passing dimes, or setting dimes means you are passing or setting balls right to the intended target!

So yes, this actually is a good thing!

If a player uses the word 'dime" for example in a phrase like "She passed the ball on a dime" then they are describing a situation where you made a perfect forearm pass or bumped the ball right to the intended target.

In almost all cases the target is the setter, or the setter's hands if she's on the move or to the setter's area if she's coming from her starting position in serve receive.

Basically, its the latest, greatest coolest way of complimenting someone for making  a perfect pass!


This has been an important message by your favorite volleyball coach! That's me!!

Thanks for visiting.

Be sure to check out more of my volleyball articles by clicking one of the links below!  (April Chapple)

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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. 



The Volleyball Word
Where do you need to go now? 


Here are three options: 

  1. Learn more about the volleyball words, terms and terminology in the Related Links below.  
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page  Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the Information section in the drop down menu at the top of the page



  1. Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
  2.  ›
  3. What's This Volleyball Word? Basic Terms, Slang and Volleyball Lingo
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  5. Basic Volleyball Terminology A Short Glossary of Terms For Passers
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