Volleyball Hand Signals: How A Setter Calls Offensive Volleyball Plays

Setters use volleyball hand signals to call the volleyball plays which are sets delivered at different speeds and locations to hitters to hit along the net. 


The setter is responsible for running her team's offense. 

When her team is in service receive, at the beginning of each rally, its her job to tell her hitters what type of set each of them are going to get if

a) she gets a good pass and/or

b) she doesn't get a good pass



Volleyball Offensive Plays 
Plays Hand Signals


How does a setter "call a play."  

After a rally is finished, when the receiving team is setting up in their receiving pattern the setter uses hand signals to "communicate to each eligible hitter" which type of set they will be getting after the whistle blows and the opposing team has served the ball.

Most hand signals are not complicated. Each hitter knows that each signal is related to the type of set they are going to get because this is something they train for in volleyball practices. 

So if a setter shows her left side hitter the number four, then the left side hitter knows she will be getting  high ball to Zone 4.


If the middle blocker is shown a hand signal for the number one, then the middle blocker knows she will be getting a quick or a "one" ball in Zone 3.



If the opposite or right side hitter is given a hand signal for the number five then the right side knows she will be getting a high ball set to Zone 2 after the whistle blows and once her team has passed the ball to the setter. 




Why Are Hand Signals Used To Call Volleyball Plays? 


Hand signals are used to call volleyball plays because...

1. The setter can hide her hand signal behind a players back so the opposing teams blockers can't see what she is calling

2. In noisy gyms its impossible for the setter to talk to her hitters that may be in the back row or on the opposite side of the court. If she uses hand signals then they can run their offensive play without saying a word. 


Volleyball Hand Signals: 


A setter can "run a play" with a series of slow or fast sets. 

While fast sets are lower to the net, slow sets are higher sets pushed 8 - 10 feet well above the top of the net.

Each player on offense will get a hand signal as to the type of set they will get.

When all the hitters are each given a different set to run at various locations along the net and they run the play together that's called a "combination play." 


Easy Volleyball Offensive Plays: The Four Set, The One Set, The Five Set


The "4 - 1 - 5" play is the volleyball 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 that's 1-2 feet in the air right in front of the setter in Zone 3. 



The hand signal for the 4-1-5 is easy to learn and understand.

In serve receive, before the server serves the setter holds up four fingers to the left side hitter, then one forefinger to her middle hitter then all five fingers they'll hold up to her right side hitter to call the play. 


In serve receive, before the server serves the setter holds up 4 fingers to the left side hitter,1 forefinger to middle hitter 5 fingers to her right side hitter to call the play
In serve receive, before the server serves the setter holds up 4 fingers to the left side hitter,1 forefinger to middle hitter 5 fingers to her right side hitter to call the play
In serve receive, before the server serves the setter holds up 4 fingers to the left side hitter,1 forefinger to middle hitter 5 fingers to her right side hitter to call the play

The setter holds up four fingers to the left side hitter, then one forefinger to her middle hitter then all five fingers they'll hold up to her right side hitter to call the 4-1-5 offensive volleyball play. 





Read more about volleyball plays on these pages.

  • Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
  •  ›
  • Volleyball Plays Why A Setters Sets Vary In Speed, Height And Location
  •  ›
  • Volleyball Hand Signals: How A Setter Calls Offensive Volleyball Plays
  •  ›




    New! Comments

    Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

    What Are You Looking For?

    Follow me on Instagram @coach_apchap to improve your game even faster!


    MY PASSING EBOOK QUICKLY HELPS YOU IMPROVE YOUR PASSING SKILLS.   
Learn how to perform one of the most important skills you need to know to gain more playing time on the court!MY PASSING EBOOK QUICKLY HELPS YOU IMPROVE YOUR PASSING SKILLS. Learn how to perform one of the most important skills you need to know to gain more playing time on the court!

      Coach April Chapple's Volleyball Passing Tips For Youth Volleyball Players


    SuperHero Volleyball Mom
    Shirts in time for Xmas!

    Click to Shop!

    The Volleyball Mom Super Hero Shirts On Sale Now!

    Recent Articles

    1. 3 Dig Volleyball Definition Terms For Liberos and Defensive Players

      Jul 31, 21 05:49 PM

      The dig volleyball definition for four terms including explanations for "up" "tagged" "touch" and "lip" which all describe what happens in defense in backrow.

      Read More

    2. Volleyball Partner Passing Drills You Can Do To Improve Ball Control

      Jul 30, 21 12:40 AM

      These volleyball partner passing drills we do in Boot Camp classes are drills you can do at home in order to improve your consistency and ball control skills.

      Read More

    3. Overhead Pass in Volleyball Strategy To Speed Up Your Team's Offense

      Jul 29, 21 10:43 PM

      You can change the pace or control the speed of the game using an overhead pass in volleyball technique which is a way your team can run a faster team offense.

      Read More