Setter Volleyball Player Roles, Rules and Responsibilities Explained

The setter in volleyball calls the volleyball plays and leads the offense like quarterbacks do in football and like point guards do in basketball.


The setter volleyball player responsibilities include calling the offensive plays and getting to every second ball in order to run the team's offense by setting the hitter most likely to score a point or sideout.



When we say "the setter runs the offense" it means they call the offensive plays either verbally or with pre-determined hand signals which communicates to each hitter in the front row and sometimes the backrow, what set she is going to set them.

This is how the hitters know what type of ball they will be expected to hit.

If you're a setter just learning easy volleyball plays and understanding what types of sets your hitters are most effective hitting, you will more than likely run a slow offense with high sets to your hitters. 

As you become a more experienced setter, you will give faster sets that are lower to the net to your hitters, who will speed up their approach steps to the net so they can hit a faster paced ball.

Depending on how fast the setter wants to run their offense, they learn to deliver different kinds of sets (fast, slow, high, low) to their different hitters along pre-determined areas on the net.  


The Setter Volleyball Player Directs and Runs The Offensive Plays


The setter volleyball player, on a team of six players, is the leader on the court. 

Their responsibilities are to

  • call the plays to each of their eligible hitters
  • get to every second ball served to their side during a rally and 
  • to run the team's offense by setting the hitter most likely to score a point or sideout.  

The setter has a role or a job description that can be compared to the responsibilities of a quarterback on a football team or the point guard on a basketball team.


Like the point guard or the quarterback, the setter volleyball player delivers or "sets" the ball to a teammate who's responsible for scoring or attempting to score the actual points. 

This is called running the offense. 


Does The Setter Run Slow and Easy Offensive Plays or Fast and Harder Offensive Plays 


Slow and Easy Offensive Plays 

When learning or practicing basic volleyball skills the setter will usually call the following types of sets which are parts of the offense they choose to run with their hitters.



Their outside hitters will practice hitting high balls delivered to them outside and near the antenna to either zone 4 for the left side hitters or to zone 2 for the opposites or right side hitters. 

While the middle hitters work with their setter on getting quick sets that are about a foot or more above the net and delivered to them at a faster pace in the center of the net which is called zone 3.

Let's compare this to what happens in football.


The Setter Volleyball Player and the Middle Hitter


If you've seen a football game, the quarterback hands off the ball quickly to a running back. 

I would compare this to what the setter delivers in the middle to the middle blocker. 

He/she gives a quick set to the middle blocker, in the middle of the net, or anywhere in zone 3 along the net.



After the quarterback gives her/him the ball, the bigger, stronger player uses speed and strength to push the ball or hit it quickly pass the defense.


The Setter Volleyball Player and
Outside Hitters


Still using the football analogy, if the quarterback chooses to throw a long pass down the field the expectation is that their wide receiver will outrun or outjump, the opposing defensive players in order to get the ball into the end zone.

I would compare the "long pass" scenario to when a setter sets the ball much further away from her base position, to one of her outside hitters in the hope that they do the same thing.

They outjump and outhit the opposing team's defensive players, better known as outside blockers, in order to score a point for their team.



Watch as five-time Olympian Danielle Scott Arruda, the special guest coach at my Dear Volleyball High School camp demonstrates what its like for a setter to backset a high ball to her right outside hitter. 


Like wide receivers and cornerbacks the outside hitters are usually the most athletic players on the team. 

Instead of relying on just using speed and strength to beat the opposing defense, the outside hitters use their speed combined with their high vertical jumping ability to score points against the defense. 



As you can see there are a lot of similarities between football and volleyball, one of the biggest ones is the role of the setter volleyball player. 



Do You Follow Me on Instagram?


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. 


Volleyball Positions:
Where Should You Go From Here?


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

  1. Learn more about the Volleyball Setter Position by exploring 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 Volleyball Positions section in the drop down menu at the top of the page
  4. Reintroduce yourself to Miss Ricci the Raccoon, #5 , the setter and team captain for the All Beast VolleyBragSwag All Star Team. 

Learn more from these setter volleyball pages!



  • Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
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  • Volleyball Game Rules: Serving, Score, Skill, Rotation and Regulations
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  • What're The Setter Volleyball Player Roles, Rules and Responsibilities


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