Offensive Volleyball Tactics: Strategies and Plays That Setters Run 

Offensive Volleyball Plays: Strategies That Setters Run in Offense


A setter can "run a play" with a series of slow or fast sets. 

While fast sets are lower to the net, slow sets are higher sets pushed 8 - 10 feet well above the top of the net.

Fast sets are used to beat the blocker with speed. A setter sets 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 outside hitters and/or powerful strong hitters 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. 

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 called a "one" that's 1-2 feet in the air right in front of the setter in Zone 3. 


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


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. 


Easy Volleyball Offensive Plays:  The back setEasy Volleyball Offensive Plays: The back set



Volleyball Plays and Positions For Front Row Hitters


Offensive Volleyball Tactics
Fast Sets To The Outside Hitter


Offensive Volleyball Tactics

Fast Sets To The Outside Hitter


The most common 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 Volleyball Tactics
Quick Sets To The Middle Blocker


  • 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. 


Offensive Volleyball Tactics 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. 


Related Links: 


Two Smart Volleyball Tactics and Strategies To Improve Your Game 

Offensive Volleyball Tactics: Strategies and Plays That Setters Run 

Three Serve Tactics and Strategies For The Short Serve

Offensive Plays: Set Combinations Setters Use in Offense



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