Four Terms Used in Volleyball Hitting, Attack and Spiking Terminology

The offensive terms used in volleyball hitting attacking and spiking terminology includes the terms kill, cobra, tip and spike which are words players know. 


This four terms used in volleyball hitting and spike attack terminology are the words and lingo used for hitters who attack, spike or hit a ball on the court during a volleyball rally in an attempt to score a point. 

  • the kill
  • the tip
  • the attack 
  • the cobra




Four Terms Used in Volleyball
What's An Attack?


An 'attack hit' is an attempt by a player on the offensive team, to get the ball into the opponent's court either with an aggressive volleyball spike, an off speed shot or a slower but strategic touch on the ball called  a tip.

A kill can be a hard driven spike, an off speed lob hit or a soft touch tip, but as long as it gets past the block and hits the floor without the opposing team being able to play or pick it up, then the "attack hit" is called a "kill,"


Four Terms Used in Volleyball
What's a Kill?


In a rally, when a player successfully attack hits a ball that passes over the net from their court into the opponent's court without the opposing side successfully counterattacking the ball back over the net for a point or a sideout then that action is marked on the stat sheet as a "kill".


Four Terms Used in Volleyball
What's a Tip?


A spiker doesn't always have to hit a ball hard to make a kill or score a point or sideout for their team.

You have the option of tipping the ball into the opponent's court.

In indoor volleyball, a female player can open their hand and contact the ball with the pads of their fingertips to push it over or past the block.



Before contacting the ball, use your normal spike approach and armswing before attacking the ball.

During your armswing, your arm rotation slows down just before contacting the ball with the pads of your fingertips, since you don't plan on hitting the ball hard. 

Push the ball over the net and the block without letting the ball come to a rest in your hands. Used in indoor volleyball this is called "the tip."



The beach volleyball version of the tip is done slightly different and is called 'the cobra."


Four Terms Used in Volleyball
What's a Cobra?


Used by beach players, who use their knuckles to do a closed fist tip, either short in the court or deep, that directs the ball into an open area in the opposing team's court.

The spike approach and armswing rotation is the same as a normal spike approach but just before contacting the ball, instead of using the pads of the fingertips you close your fist and use your knuckles to contact the ball, pushing it over the net and over the block into an empty space on the court. 




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Read more about volleyball terms on these pages. 




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