What are the Volleyball Positions? - The Dig Episode 009

setter t-shirt

Hey guys!! Hope everyone is enjoying the new school year. :) Today we will talk about all the volleyball positions. I wouldn't be surprised if you know all the positions already, but stay tuned anyway, because maybe you didn't know all the different names for positions. Let's get started!

The Volleyball Positions:


volleyball positions setter







Let's start out with the best position. :) Ok, maybe it's not the best, but it's my favorite! Setters are the ones who set the ball to the hitters, who can then attack and score. Setters are often referred to as the quarterback of the volleyball team, but I think of them more as the point guard of the volleyball team. You see, quarterbacks tend to get a lot of attention. At the end of the game, reporters love talking to quarterbacks. Reporters don't seek out setters after volleyball matches, reporters usually seek out hitters. Setters should not be overlooked though. They are often one of the top athletes on the team and counted on to be leaders on the court. The offense travels through the setter, so it's important that they have a solid knowledge of the game.

Setter Skill Set

Back Row Setters: Setting, Serving, Defense, Communication, Leadership Front Row Setters: Setting, Blocking, dumping/tipping/hitting the 2nd ball, defense


Outside Hitters

Outside The Dig Outside hitters can also be referred to as left side hitters or strong side hitters. They are usually well rounded athletes who play in the front row and the back row. This position tends to get a lot of glory. Outside hitters tend to get the most sets during the game, and they often rack up the second most digs (behind the libero). They are involved in a lot of the action, especially the really exciting action, so they get noticed right away. Some of the biggest digs come from outside hitters, as well assume of the best hits. It's not wonder that outsides are more often ego-driven than the other positions. It isn't all glory for outsides though, they will likely do most of the serve receive passing, and that is no easy task. They are expected to begin the play with a good pass, and the team counts on them for this.

Outside Skill Set

Serving, Serve Receive Passing, Hitting, Digging, Blocking


Middle Blocker

Middle The Dig

Middle blockers can be called middle hitters interchangeably. Middles primarily play front row, although it's not unheard of to have a middle play all the way around. They are usually taller players, or good jumpers, with the ability to block well. Middle hitters usually have the highest hitting percentages on the team. This is because in order to set them, the pass must be good, which gives the setter the opportunity to give middles a good and timely set, resulting in more kills and less errors. Middles also lead the team in blocks. They are responsible for blocking the entire length of the net. Meaning anytime the opponent is attacking, the middle is blocking. Good, quick feet, are a major help when it comes to this because they need to travel about 20 feet side to side in an instant. Being able to jump up and reach up and over the net is essential to a good block as well. Middles are usually replaced by liberos in the back row, although 1 middle per team will get to serve and play back row on defense for that rotation.

Middle Skill Set

Blocking, hitting, sometimes serving and defense



Libero - the dig

Before we talk about the libero position, let's talk about the many ways you can say libero: lee-bro lee-BEAR-oh LEE-bah-roh luh-bear-oh I'm sure there are even more variations to how this word is said. Karch (Kiraly) says LEE-bah-roh, and at the international level, that's the way it is said, so I figure if that's what Karch says, that's the correct way. However, I say luh-bear-oh and you'll hear me say it that way on the podcast because that's what is common in my neck of the woods.

On to the position of libero.

A libero is player who runs in and out of the game, wearing the wrong colored jersey. This jersey distinguishes her as the libero and allows referees, umpires and score keepers to keep track of her more easily. There are special rules for liberos. For one, they may not attack a ball above the height of the net. They may not play front row. At the international level, they may not serve. (At other levels they can serve for 1 player on the team.) They cannot set the ball in front of the 10' line, and have it result in an attack above the top of the net. So, what can a libero do? They can pass and dig like no other.

The libero is the core of your serve receive and defense. They are the leaders in this department. Usually they are the best on the team in both of these areas. Liberos are often short girls who wind up getting moved out of the front row, but spend ample amounts of time honing their back court skills.

I swear liberos turn into the feisty players on the team, and can sometimes even be a bit hot headed. They usually take it personally if the opposing team scores on them, and they will work even harder to not let it happen again.

 We should also note the defensive specialists. These players don't get to wear the libero jersey (only 1 libero per team) but a defensive specialist does the same thing, except they can only go in for 1 player, where the libero can run in and out for any back row player on the team.

Libero Skill Set

Serve receive passing, digging, serving, sometimes setting



Opposite The dig

If liberos have the most widely accepted number of pronunciations, opposites win for the largest number of acceptable names. Opposites are commonly called Right Sides, and just as commonly, Weaksides.

No matter what you call them, these players are primarily blockers and attackers who play on the right side of the court. (The right side as you stand looking towards the net.) They are matched up against the opposing teams outside hitter, in an attempt to put up a larger block against one of the better opposing hitters. Right sides are also strong hitters. A lot of left handed players play on this side of the court, because it's easier for a left handed hitter to hit from that angle, than a right handed hitter, just like it's easier for a right handed hitter to hit on the left side of the court.

Opposite's Skill Set

Blocking, hitting, defense, sometimes serving

That's all the volleyball positions

Before you go, take the volleyball positions test to see what position you should be playing. (For fun only! Please don't go tell your coach you need to change positions because of a quiz on the internet.)

If you have a question for The Dig, you can leave a voicemail by clicking right here:

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Or email me: jayme@straightfromdehart.com As always, enjoy your season and your team! Talk to you all again soon!


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