Offensive Plays For Volleyball: Different Types Of Sets Setters Call

Learn different types of sets and the basic offensive plays for volleyball players first learning how to attack more advanced hits in volleyball. 


Fast sets are used to beat the blocker with speed.

A setter sets an attacker in volleyball quicker paced balls that are harder for the middle blocker to track, chase or get in front of the hitter to block against. 


Slower sets are used to beat the block with power and vertical jumping ability.

Setters with high jumping attackers in volleyball are outside hitters and/or powerful strong hitters for whom they may slow down their sets and rely on their hitters ability to

  • jump and reach higher than the block,
  • aim for the seam of the block and
  • power through the block to score a point with their spike. 

What are volleyball hand signals setters use to communicate to hitters?


Each player on offense will get a hand signal as to the type of set they will get.

When all the hitters run the play together that's called a "combination play." 


Easy Volleyball Offensive Plays: The Four Set, The One Set, The Five Set


The "4 - 1 - 5" play is the play most commonly run by setters and is the easiest offensive play to learn.

This a high ball set to each of the front row hitters, except the middle blocker. 




The only person who gets a quicker lower set in this offensive combination play is the middle blocker, who on a good pass, will approach the setter with a three-step spike approach and attempt to a hit a quick and low set that's 1-2 feet in the air right in front of the setter in Zone 3. 



The "Four" is a very high ball delivered to the player in Zone 4.

This is the type of set that setters use the most . With an imperfect pass, they can still get to the ball and deliver it to Zone 4 easier than they can to the middle (Zone 3) or right side (Zone 2) position. 

After the pass, the setter gets to the ball, then squares her hips to face Zone Four.

With her body under the ball and hands outstretched above her forehead the setter pushes the ball high to the ceiling towards Zone Four so once the ball peaks 8 - 10 feet in the air, it comes down just inside the antenna closest to the first referee and 1-2 feet off the net.  

The "Five" is a high ball set delivered to Zone 2. 

The setter contacts the ball with all ten fingers above her forehead, but then she pushes it behind her, high towards the ceiling so that it drops just inside the antenna closest to the second referee, inside the court and a foot off the net.



Offensive Plays For Volleyball and Positions For Front Row Hitters


Volleyball Plays To Zone 4:

Fast Sets To The Outside Hitter


The most common volleyball offensive plays set to the left side:

  • The "Hut" - a medium high/medium speed rainbow shaped set that fails inside the left antenna after peaking 5-6 feet above the net
  • The "Go" - a fast speed/low set with little-to-no-arc that falls inside the left antenna after peaking 3-5 feet above the net




Offensive Plays For Volleyball

To Zone 3:

Quick Sets To The Middle Blocker

The middle blocker hits a quick and low set that's 1-2 feet in the air right in front of the setter in Zone 3. (Ralph Aversen)The middle blocker hits a quick and low set that's 1-2 feet in the air right in front of the setter in Zone 3. (Ralph Aversen)


  • The "A" set is a high speed set 1-2 feet high that falls just behind the setter's back
  • The "31" set is a high speed set that falls just 4-5 feet away from the setter between Zone 3 and Zone 4 after peaking one foot above the top of the net
  • The "slide" set is a flat high speed back set that falls just 4 - 5 feet away from the setter between Zone 3 and Zone 2 after peaking 1-3 feet above the top of the net. 

Its called the slide because the middle hitter takes a one footed takeoff spike approach and glides/slides to the ball before hitting it at the peak of her jump. 


The The "slide" set is a flat high speed back set that falls just 4 - 5 feet away from the setter between Zone 3 and Zone 2 after peaking 1-3 feet above the top of the net.

Offensive Plays For Volleyball To Zone 2:

Fast Sets To The Opposite/Right Side Hitter


The "Red" set is a medium high speed back set  that falls just 3-4 feet away from the setter to Zone 2 after peaking 1-3 feet above the top of the net and falling just inside the antenna closest to the second referee.  

The Red set is also known as a back shoot set. 


Read more about tactics and offensive plays for volleyball on these pages.

  • Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
  •  ›
  • Two Smart Volleyball Tactics and Strategies To Improve Your Game
  •  ›
  • Offensive Plays For Volleyball: Different Types Of Sets Setters Call
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