Varsity Volleyball Player Positions Are Roles Players Have On A Team 

The outside hitter, the libero, the middle blocker, the opposite hitter, the setter and defensive specialist are volleyball player positions that make up a team

The most well known volleyball player positions that players usually specialize in are

Volleyball Player Positions

Of the 5 volleyball positions setter is important because they run the offense like a quarterback on a football team only they deliver sets to their hitters. 

The setter on a volleyball team is a playmaker who like a point guard on a basketball team runs the offense and calls the offensive plays that their hitter needs to run. 

As the playmakers, setters are in charge of getting the second ball contacted in a rally to one of her hitters and she gets to choose which hitter gets the ball.  

The volleyball setter's goal is to exploit the weaknesses in the opposing team's block and defense. 

The setter's job is to outsmart the opposing team's block so that her hitters hit the ball with the least number of opposing blockers trying to block their spike attempts.

Volleyball Player Positions

The volleyball defensive player known as the libero specializes in playing defense in any of the three zones in the back court.

I would compare the libero position to the pinch hitter in baseball, or a point guard in basketball.

The libero volleyball position calls for them to be the one back row player to go in for a front row player when the front row player rotates to the back row.

The libero goes in and out of the game without being substituted in so to differentiate them from the other players they wear a contrasting color jersey. 

Volleyball Player Positions 
Middle Blocker

The middle blocker is the primary blocker stationed in the middle of the net where they attack the ball and block and play defense from Zone 3.

On each team there are two middle blocking/hitting players, one that plays in the front row while the other plays opposite them in the back row.

If a team is in the correct rotation, then one middle blocker rotates up to their front row, when the other one is rotating back to the back row to

Volleyball Player Positions
Outside Hitter

Since the setter is often compared to the quarterback in football or point guard in basketball, then the outside hitter would be compared to the wide receiver in football or power forward in basketball.

I'm partial to this volleyball player position, because it's been my favorite of the two positions on the court I've specialized in throughout my career as a high school, collegiate and professional player.

Players who play in this position are also known by another volleyball term as "left side hitters".

In some slang terms left side hitters are referred to as "cannons".

Left sides are called the "cannons" because even though they play their offensive position the furthest away from the setter, they are quite often the hardest hitters on the team.

The "outside hitter," the "spiker" or the cannon "receives the ball" or gets set the ball in many different occasions, usually as the third and last contact allowed for a team.

The outside hitter has a selection of ways to attack the ball which include

An outside hitter can kick the ball over if need be because kicking a ball is a legal contact. 

Volleyball Player Positions
Opposite Hitter

Opposite hitters specialize in playing on the right side of the court. 

Opposites have the same responsibilities as left side hitters only they do it on the right side of the net in Zone 2 when they're blocking and hitting in the front row and usually in Zone 1 in the back row where they serve, attack from the back row and play defense. 

In recent years opposite hitters have become some of the tallest players on the team because on defense at the net as blockers they most often have to face the opposing team's best hitters. 

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Be sure to check out more of my volleyball articles by clicking one of the links below!  (April Chapple)

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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 Player Positions
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Read more about volleyball positions on these pages. 

  1. Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
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  3. What's This Volleyball Word? Basic Terms, Slang and Volleyball Lingo
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