Set A Volleyball Correctly A Beginner Guide To Perfect Setting

Liberos, non-setters and normal people like you and me learn how to set a volleyball better. 

set-a-volleyball like a pro (Jaroslaw Popczyk)Volleyball Setter (Jaroslaw Popczyk)

How do you set a volleyball correctly?

Since my goal for you is to become a better setter,  I write articles in a way that on your own, you'll be able to check yourself to see whether you are setting the ball correctly.

Volleyball Setter Training
Watch Your Upper Body and Lower Body Positioning

In order to set a volleyball correctly, you want to check to be sure that your body parts are in the right position to deliver a hittable ball. 

Ideally you want your whole body to be lined up underneath the ball every time, before you get ready to set it.

Two things to avoid when setting...

Avoid leaning towards the ball, either to your right or to your left underneath the ball. 

Also avoid leaning forward stretching your torso so your butt sticks out in an effort to reach for the ball without moving your feet.

You want to line your whole body up underneath the ball starting with your forehead. 

So if you were to let the ball drop, it would drop on the flat part of your forehead and bounce right back up into the air.

Try that, its a great setting volleyball drill. 

Learn To Set A Volleyball Better 
Tip #2 Run Quickly To Get To The Ball

You want to run to position and place yourself underneath the ball, QUICKLY. 

Let me say it again... should not be leaning to the ball but

  • you should get to the ball quickly and 
  • be in a slight loaded position, with 
  • knees slightly bent in 
  • a shallow squat underneath the ball. 

The slightly squatted position will give you the power from your legs to help you push the ball to your intended target once your fingers make overhead contact with the ball. 

Wisconsin's Sydney Hilley getting setting reps in before the game!

Your body is erect and perpendicular while your legs are doing the work. To become a better setter, its best to use your forehead and your feet to guide you as you position your whole body underneath the ball.

set-a-volleyball: Michigan Volleyball Setter  Photo by Joy van BuhlerMichigan Volleyball Setter Photo by Joy van Buhler

Learn To Set A Volleyball Better
#3 Move Quickly To Get Into Position Before Setting The Ball

Here's something you should remember...when the ball has reached its highest height, it can only come straight down.

With this in mind, once you determine...

  • where the ball will come down and
  • the speed of how fast the ball will come down- -then you know that's where you, your forehead and your quick moving feet need to be, directly underneath its path.

Then, it's a matter of moving your legs quickly enough to get your forehead, followed by your shoulders, chest, hips and the rest of your body underneath the ball in order to get in the correct slightly squatted ready position for setting it.

There's one more thing for players to remember before making contact with the ball.

Learn To Set A Volleyball Correctly
#4 Square Your Body and Shoulders to Face Your Target

Once you've determined where you need to be in order to set the volleyball - you need to square your shoulders to the left side hitter position, or face whoever you are setting to before you contact the ball.

In the picture above, the setter is perpendicular to the net, which means she has positioned herself perfectly to be able to set to her middle hitter (#33), or her left front hitter because her shoulders and the rest of her entire body is facing in their direction.

If she wanted to back set, she is in great position as well because she isn't turning her shoulders or leaning to her right or her left.

If she chooses to, she will just set the ball within the plane of her body directly behind her to the right front hitter (#5).

How To Play Volleyball: Where Do You Go From Here?

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

  1. Learn more about Spiking
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page    Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the How to Play Volleyball section in the drop down menu at the top of the page to get started. 
  4. Before leaving this page Say "Hi" to Miss Ricci the Raccoon, wearing the #5 jersey below. She's the setter and team captain for the VolleyBragSwag All Beast team. 

Related Links: 

How to Play

Learn To Play








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