Volleyball Terms Every Fan Should Know: A Handy Glossary

Volleyball Terms Every Fan Should Know: A Handy Glossary

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on volleyball terms that every fan should know. Whether you are a new fan trying to understand the game or a seasoned enthusiast looking to deepen your knowledge, this handy glossary is here to help you. Volleyball is an exciting and fast-paced sport filled with unique terminology that can sometimes be confusing. In this article, we will break down the essential terms used in volleyball, providing clear explanations and examples to ensure you have a solid understanding of the game. So, let’s dive in and enhance your volleyball vocabulary!

Basic Volleyball Terms


An ‘Ace’ is a term used in volleyball to describe a serve that is so well-executed that it lands directly on the opponent’s court without being touched by any player from the opposing team. When a player serves an ace, it results in an immediate point for their team.


In volleyball, a ‘Block’ refers to the defensive technique used by players to intercept the ball at the net when the opposing team is attempting to spike or attack. A successful block occurs when the ball is redirected back to the attacker’s side of the court, either resulting in a point for the blocking team or leading to a subsequent rally.


‘Dig’ is a term used to describe a defensive move in volleyball where a player uses their forearm or fists to prevent the ball from hitting the ground after an opponent has hit a powerful attack or spike. The goal of a dig is to keep the ball in play and allow the team to set up an offensive play. A well-executed dig can be a crucial defensive move in the game.

Volleyball Positions


The setter is a crucial position in volleyball. This player is responsible for orchestrating the team’s offense by setting the ball for their teammates to attack. Setters possess excellent decision-making skills, quick reflexes, and precise hand-eye coordination. Their main objective is to accurately deliver the ball to the hitters, considering the timing, location, and speed of the set. Setters often act as the team’s playmaker, reading the opposition’s defense and adjusting the offensive strategy accordingly.


The libero is a specialized defensive player in volleyball. This position was introduced to enhance the team’s defensive capabilities. The libero wears a different colored jersey and is allowed to replace any back-row player without counting as a substitution. Liberos excel in their defensive skills, reading the opponent’s attacks, and making accurate passes to set up their teammates for an offensive play. They possess exceptional agility, quickness, and anticipation, making them crucial in maintaining a strong defensive presence on the court.

Outside Hitter

The outside hitter, also known as the left-side hitter, is one of the primary offensive weapons in volleyball. Positioned on the left side of the court, the outside hitter is responsible for attacking and scoring points. They often receive sets from the setter and aim to spike the ball past the opponent’s blockers. Outside hitters need to possess a combination of power, agility, and precision to effectively execute their attacks. They are versatile players who can contribute to both the frontline offense and the backline defense, making them key players in a team’s overall strategy.

Understanding the roles and responsibilities of volleyball positions, such as the setter, libero, and outside hitter, is essential for every fan. Each position contributes differently to the team’s success, and knowing their unique skills and attributes adds depth to one’s appreciation for the game.

Volleyball Skills and Techniques


The serve is the first skill that initiates a volleyball play. It involves a player hitting the ball over the net to start the rally. There are different types of serves that players can utilize, including the float serve, jump serve, and topspin serve.

The float serve is a serve where the ball does not spin or rotate. Instead, it moves unpredictably through the air, making it difficult for the receiving team to pass. This type of serve requires a player to hit the ball with a flat hand, creating minimal spin.

On the other hand, the jump serve is a more advanced type of serve that requires the player to jump and strike the ball in mid-air. This serve can generate a lot of power and speed, making it challenging for the opposing team to handle.

Lastly, the topspin serve involves hitting the ball with a strong topspin, causing it to dive down quickly after clearing the net. This serve can be particularly effective when trying to disrupt the opposing team’s reception.


Passing, also known as the forearm pass or bump, is the act of receiving the serve or attack from the opposing team. It is typically performed using the forearms, with the goal of directing the ball to the setter for a successful attack.

To execute a proper pass, a player must position themselves in a ready stance, with their feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. The arms should be held together, creating a flat surface with the forearms. As the ball approaches, the player should move their hips forward and extend their arms to meet the ball, cushioning its impact.

Accurate passing requires good hand-eye coordination, as well as the ability to judge the speed and trajectory of the incoming ball. It is crucial for players to maintain control and precision in their passes to enable effective offensive plays.


The attack, also known as the spike or hit, is the offensive action of hitting the ball over the net towards the opposing team’s court. It is a crucial skill that requires power, accuracy, and timing.

When executing an attack, a player approaches the net and jumps to strike the ball with a forceful downward motion. The objective is to aim for an open spot on the opposing team’s court, making it difficult for them to defend or return the ball.

Timing is crucial in a successful attack, as players must coordinate their jump and swing to connect with the ball at the highest point of their vertical leap. This allows for maximum power and control over the direction of the hit.

Different types of attacks include the cross-court attack, line shot, tip, and roll shot. Each type of attack serves a different purpose and can be used strategically based on the positioning of the opposing team’s defense.

Overall, mastering the serve, pass, and attack skills in volleyball is essential for players to contribute effectively to their team’s success. Developing these techniques requires practice, coordination, and a deep understanding of the game.

In conclusion, having a good understanding of volleyball terms is essential for any fan of the sport. Whether you are watching a game on television or cheering from the stands, knowing the terminology will not only enhance your overall viewing experience but also allow you to better appreciate the strategies and skills employed by the players. This handy glossary serves as a valuable resource for both new and seasoned volleyball enthusiasts, providing a comprehensive list of terms that cover various aspects of the game. So, the next time you find yourself engrossed in a volleyball match, you can impress your friends with your knowledge of the sport’s terminology and truly immerse yourself in the excitement of the game.