Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball Player Positions (2024)

Explore volleyball positions - from Libero toOppositeHitter.

Learn tounderstand the basics of volleyball court positions- from position 1to position 6.

Rotationalsix positions of Volleyball

Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (1)

On this page we present volleyballplayingpositions (libero, outside hitter etc).

If you were lookingforrotational positions of volleyball(position 4,position 6 etc) and how players should line up, go to "6 positions ofvolleyball" page. The link is in the end of this page.

Rotational VolleyballPositions

Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (2)
Volleyball court divides into attack zone (front row) and defense zone(backrow).

Basics of volleyball positions on the court

  • There are three players on each of the zone.

  • Front row players are players who are allowedto block the opponent and attack the ball in the attack zone.

  • Back row players are players who play defenseby digging opponent’s attacks and attack the ball behind attack line (3meter line, 10 feet line).

  • Players are rotating clockwise on the courtafter winning the rally after the opponent’s serve.

Players have rotational positions (position 5,position 2 etc.) on thecourt from which they are allowed to move to their playingpositions(opposite, middle hitter etc.) after the serve when appropriate.

Volleyball positions on the court can also becalledzones.Position 4 being calledzone 4 etc.

PlayingPositions in Volleyball

Volleyball positions in a team:Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (3)

  • Outside hitter (also called wing spiker, leftside)
  • Right side hitter (wingspiker, right side)
  • Opposite Hitter (attacker)
  • Setter
  • Middle Blocker (center, middle hitter)
  • Libero
  • Defensive Specialist

OutsideHitter(also called wing spiker, left side)

Outside Hitter is the player who carries the serve receiveresponsibility along with the libero.

Outside hitter most often attacksthe balls which setter sets to the antenna to the left side of thecourt. Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (4)Therefore after the serveoutside hitters place themselves tothe left front position. Sometimes setters run offensive plays in whichoutside hitters run to hit balls “inside” around the middle blockers.

Outside hitters play both the front row and the back row. In modernhigh level volleyball outside hitters are responsible for hitting the 3meter or 10 feet line attacks, usually from the middle back positionwhen playing in the back row.

Playing on the outside hitter’s positionrequires great all around skills because they play through the frontrow and the back row. Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (5)

Wing spikers have to have the skills to pass,attack, block, serve and play defense.

Wing spikers along with theopposites are often players who score the most points in the game.

Outside hitter’s passing responsibility makes them extremely importantplayer for the team.

Rightside hitter(also called wing spiker)

Right side hitter has the similar role than outside hitter, they playfront row and back row and are carrying pass, attack, block, serve anddefense responsibilities. Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (6)

Right side hitters aim to place themselves tothe right front playing position.

When playing top level internationalvolleyball on the back court right side hitters often have 3 meter or10 feet attack responsibility from the middle back position.

Right sidehitter can be also called a wing spiker.


The opposite hitter is the player who most often scores the most pointsin theteam.

Opposite hitters don’t have the passing responsibilities. Theystand behind the passers on the rotation while libero and outsidehitters pass the ball and place themselves to the left front, rightfront or right back playing position. Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (7)

The opposite usually get the mostsets in the game.

Often counter attack sets after the defensive play goto the opposite hitters - they carry the responsibility of hitting theball against a solid block when the pass is off the net.

Opposites need to have great blocking skills since they play againstthe opposite hitter of the opponent or opponent's outside hitter whenin the front row.

Oppositesalso need to have defensive skills because they also play the back rowwhere they are responsible of hitting 3 meter or 10 feet balls from theright back position.

In professional volleyball opposites along with setters havetraditionally been the highest paid individuals - those are volleyballpositions in most demand.


The setter is the playmaker, point guard or the quarterback of thevolleyball team. Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (8)A setter’s responsibility is to run the team’soffenseand build up offensive scoring opportunities for the team.

The setterplays both front row and back row, therefore s/heneedsto be able to block,serve and play defense.
The setter needs to have good blocking skillsbecause in front row position s/he plays against the opponent’s outsidehitter who often carries big load of the attacking responsibility forthe team.

The setter plays the right front or the right back position

MiddleBlocker(Center, Middle, Middle Hitter)

Middle blockers main responsibility is to stop the opponent’s offense.Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (9)

The middle blocker builds a block which stops the ball, or allows theteamto dig the ball up.

Middle blockers' job is to stop the opponent’smiddle hitters or wing hitters in co-operation with teammates.

Middle blockers need to have great blocking, attacking and servingskills.

MiddleBlockers in the Back Row:
In competitive volleyball middle blockers usually play defenseonly on one rotation - after an own serve. After losing the rally afteran ownserving turn, a libero usually comes in and replaces the middleblocker.

The middle blocker usually don’t master in defense because they hardlyplayany of it. However, at junior level practicing defense and even passingis very recommended for the middles. Junior coachesshouldallowplayers to practice all the skills equally to ensure their overallskill development. This improves their athleticismandprepares players to play otherpositions - i.e. they may not be tall enough to play middle in thefuture.


The libero is fairly new position in volleyball. The libero is a backrowspecialist who is allowed to play back court only. Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (10)

The libero wears adifferent color shirt in the team and is allowed to enter and exit thegame without substitution request.

The libero can replace any player on thecourt and most often replaces middle blockers.

The libero is not allowed toserve the ball. (Some leagues in US allow liberos to serve.)

Sinceplaying in the back court only, the libero needs to have the bestpassingand defensive skills in the team.The libero need to haveexceptional serve receive skills because often they pass a larger areathan other serve receiversin the team.

Libero most often plays the left back position.

DefensiveSpecialistMost leagues in United States allow unlimited substitutions; thereforevery often in the team there are defensive specialists. Volleyball Positions - Understanding Volleyball PlayerPositions (11)

Defensivespecialists in US enter thegame to replace players who in international volleyball would beplayingboth the front and the back row.

Defensive specialists carry a servereceive and defense responsibility in the back row.

Defensivespecialists are allowed to serve and often play the full back rowrotation before giving the spot in the front row to the offensiveplayer again.

Check out six volleyball positions page to findout how players shouldline up on the court.

6positions of volleyball

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