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 often used to beat the block with powerful hitters with great vertical jumping ability.
Setters with high jumping outside hitters and/or powerful strong hitters may choose to 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.
When all the hitters run the play together that's called a "combination play."
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 "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.
Volleyball Plays and Positions For Front Row Hitters
The most common offensive plays set to the left side:
The most common offensive plays set to the middle:
It's called the slide because the middle hitter takes a four-step one-footed takeoff spike approach and glides/slides to the ball before hitting it at the peak of her jump and at the highest point of the set.