Two Volleyball Attacking Terms For Outside Middle and Opposite Hitters

The "down ball" and the "free ball" are two volleyball attacking terms used on the court in offense and outside, middle and opposite hitters need to learn.  


There are two volleyball attacking terms that describe how you can attack a ball over the net in a way to attempt to make a point for your team.

Both ways of attacking, whether you use the free ball or the down ball hitting techniques and strategies are ways you as a hitter can actually attack the ball for a point while keeping your feet on the ground and not jumping to contact the ball. 

Let me explain...


Volleyball Attacking Terms
The Down Ball


Down ball -

A down ball is an attack made by a player who spikes or hits the ball keeping both of their feet on the floor and uses the traditional arm swing to get a hard driven ball into the opposing team's court.

A down ball can be initiated during any of the three contacts a team is allotted to get the ball back into the opposing team's court.

For example, although rarely seen in indoor volleyball a beach volleyball player can hit an easy serve back into the serving team's court by attacking with a down ball.

A player usually chooses to hit a down ball because for some reason they don't have time to make a spike approach before hitting the ball.



When team B's blocker's see that Team A's spiker isn't using a spike approach to hit the ball over the net, the blockers usually call out to their team "down ball" and transition off the net to get ready to attack.

A "down ball" has been translated to mean that a hitter is "staying down on the ground" or is "keeping their feet on the ground" to hit or spike a ball.


Volleyball Attacking Terms
The Free Ball


Free ball -

A free ball is a ball that Team A has forearm passed into Team B's court.


An easy free ball is some times considered a "gift" since the team didn't attack with a hard driven ball, a tip or a deceptive off speed shot aimed for an open space on the opposing team's court.



When Team A gives Team B a free ball it's usually because there's a miscommunication between players, whether its between passers and hitters or more likely between setters and hitters.

When Team B receives a free ball they should do everything in their power to make a perfect pass in order to run a fast attack or get the ball to their go-to player who will definitely score a point since they didn't have to work hard to get an easy ball from Team A.


Volleyball Attacking Terms
The Wipe


The Wipe 

To "wipe the block" is the same as "tool the block."

Savvy outside hitters learn how to wipe the ball in such a way that it looks like they are intentionally going to hit the ball out of bounds, but what they are really doing are positioning themselves so that when they hit or tip the ball into the blockers hands, the ball will bounce back outside of the sidelines, scoring their team a point or a sideout.



Where To Go From Two Volleyball Attacking Terms For Outside, Middle and Opposite Hitters


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

  1. Learn more about Volleyball Words by checking the links in Related Links section.
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page  (Sitemap)
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You might like these
pages on terms, slang, jargon and lingo in the pages below!



  • Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
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  • What's This Volleyball Word? Basic Terms, Slang and Volleyball Lingo
  • Two Volleyball Attacking Terms For Outside Middle and Opposite Hitters
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