Descriptions of Volleyball Positions
Explore volleyball positions - from Libero to
understand the basics of volleyball court positions
- from position 1
to position 6.
six positions of Volleyball
On this page we present volleyball
positions (libero, outside hitter etc).
If you were looking
rotational positions of volleyball
position 6 etc) and how players should line up, go to "6 positions of
volleyball" page. The link is in the end of this page.
Volleyball court divides into attack zone (front row) and defense zone
Basics of volleyball positions on the court
- There are three players on each of the zone.
- Front row players are players who are allowed
to block the opponent and attack the ball in the attack zone.
- Back row players are players who play defense
by digging opponent’s attacks and attack the ball behind attack line (3
meter line, 10 feet line).
- Players are rotating clockwise on the court
after winning the rally after the opponent’s serve.
Players have rotational positions
position 2 etc.) on the
court from which they are allowed to move to their playing
(opposite, middle hitter etc.) after the serve when appropriate.
Volleyball positions on the court can also be
Position 4 being called
zone 4 etc.
Positions in Volleyball
Volleyball positions in a team:
- Outside hitter (also called wing spiker, left
- Right side hitter (wing
spiker, right side)
- Opposite Hitter (attacker)
- Middle Blocker (center, middle hitter)
- Defensive Specialist
(also called wing spiker, left side)
Outside Hitter is the player who carries the serve receive
responsibility along with the libero.
Outside hitter most often attacks
the balls which setter sets to the antenna to the left side of the
Therefore after the serve
outside hitters place themselves to
the left front position. Sometimes setters run offensive plays in which
outside hitters run to hit balls “inside” around the middle blockers.
Outside hitters play both the front row and the back row. In modern
high level volleyball outside hitters are responsible for hitting the 3
meter or 10 feet line attacks, usually from the middle back position
when playing in the back row.
Playing on the outside hitter’s position
requires great all around skills because they play through the front
row and the back row.
Wing spikers have to have the skills to pass,
attack, block, serve and play defense.
Wing spikers along with the
opposites are often players who score the most points in the game.
Outside hitter’s passing responsibility makes them extremely important
player for the team.
(also called wing spiker)
Right side hitter has the similar role than outside hitter, they play
front row and back row and are carrying pass, attack, block, serve and
Right side hitters aim to place themselves to
the right front playing position.
When playing top level international
volleyball on the back court right side hitters often have 3 meter or
10 feet attack responsibility from the middle back position.
hitter can be also called a wing spiker.
The opposite hitter is the player who most often scores the most points
Opposite hitters don’t have the passing responsibilities. They
stand behind the passers on the rotation while libero and outside
hitters pass the ball and place themselves to the left front, right
front or right back playing position.
The opposite usually get the most
sets in the game.
Often counter attack sets after the defensive play go
to the opposite hitters - they carry the responsibility of hitting the
ball against a solid block when the pass is off the net.
Opposites need to have great blocking skills since they play against
the opposite hitter of the opponent or opponent's outside hitter when
in the front row.
also need to have defensive skills because they also play the back row
where they are responsible of hitting 3 meter or 10 feet balls from the
right back position.
In professional volleyball opposites along with setters have
traditionally been the highest paid individuals - those are volleyball
positions in most demand.
The setter is the playmaker, point guard or the quarterback of the
A setter’s responsibility is to run the team’s
and build up offensive scoring opportunities for the team.
The setter plays both front row and back row, therefore s/he
to be able to block,
serve and play defense.
The setter needs to have good blocking skills
because in front row position s/he plays against the opponent’s outside
hitter who often carries big load of the attacking responsibility for
The setter plays the right front or the right back position
(Center, Middle, Middle Hitter)
Middle blockers main responsibility is to stop the opponent’s offense.
The middle blocker builds a block which stops the ball, or allows the
to dig the ball up.
Middle blockers' job is to stop the opponent’s
middle hitters or wing hitters in co-operation with teammates.
Middle blockers need to have great blocking, attacking and serving
Blockers in the Back Row:
In competitive volleyball middle blockers usually play defense
only on one rotation - after an own serve. After losing the rally after
serving turn, a libero usually comes in and replaces the middle
The middle blocker usually don’t master in defense because they hardly
any of it. However, at junior level practicing defense and even passing
is very recommended for the middles. Junior coaches
players to practice all the skills equally to ensure their overall
skill development. This improves their athleticism
and prepares players to play other
positions - i.e. they may not be tall enough to play middle in the
The libero is fairly new position in volleyball. The libero is a back
specialist who is allowed to play back court only.
The libero wears a
different color shirt in the team and is allowed to enter and exit the
game without substitution request.
The libero can replace any player on the
court and most often replaces middle blockers.
The libero is not allowed to
serve the ball. (Some leagues in US allow liberos to serve.)
playing in the back court only, the libero needs to have the best
and defensive skills in the team. The libero need to have
exceptional serve receive skills because often they pass a larger area
than other serve receivers
in the team.
Libero most often plays the left back position.
Most leagues in United States allow unlimited substitutions; therefore
very often in the team there are defensive specialists.
specialists in US enter the
game to replace players who in international volleyball would be
both the front and the back row.
Defensive specialists carry a serve
receive and defense responsibility in the back row.
specialists are allowed to serve and often play the full back row
rotation before giving the spot in the front row to the offensive
Check out six volleyball positions page to find
out how players should
line up on the court.
positions of volleyball