Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Advanced Volleyball Plays, Part 1

Published on July 2, 2010 by   ·   2 Comments

When it’s time to move beyond the standard outside, middle and back sets, these plays can give you the variety you need to keep your opponent’s defense guessing. volleyball quick set

This week we’ll cover these from a setter’s point of view, and next week we’ll talk about the same plays from a hitter’s perspective.

Before we get into the exciting stuff and go over the different types of volleyball plays you can run, I have to put a prerequisite in place: you can’t run these plays without an impeccable passing game. If your setter is taking more than 1-2 steps away from the target area, many of these plays become impossible, so make sure you’ve got the pass down before you start trying these in a game.

Quick Set, aka “1”

This is probably the first “advanced” play that many volleyball players learn. It’s a very fast play that’s run with the middle hitter. Essentially, the middle hitter does his/her approach as the ball comes toward the setter, jumping about when the ball is in the setter’s hands. The setter then pushes the ball right into the hitter’s hand, allowing him/her to (hopefully) get a jump on the middle blocker and earn a kill.

For a setter, the main points to remember when setting a quick are:

  • Find your hitter’s hand. Try to put the ball into the hitter’s hand as s/he is jumping. You don’t want to set too high or you lose the quickness of the play and are likely to miss your hitter altogether.
  • Err on the side of height. Despite what I just said, if you’re learning to set a quick it’s better to set the ball too high than too low. A set that doesn’t ever clear the top of the net has a very low chance of getting over, while a set that’s too high might at least be hittable, if not ideal.
  • Don’t telegraph. This is a very short set compared to an outside or back set, so your legs aren’t very important. But don’t stand straight up when setting a quick, or the opponent’s middle blocker will know exactly what you’re going to do and just camp out waiting. Bend your knees and act like you’re preparing to push the ball farther away to give your hitter a better chance of fooling the blocker.

The quick is called a “1” because it’s only set about a foot above the net – this is important to keep in mind for some of the later plays we’ll discuss.

Slide Sets

Like a quick, slides are usually attacked by the middle hitter. But unlike a quick, these are set behind the setter. You can vary the height and distance on these sets depending on your hitter’s preferences and what kind of block they’re facing, but typically there are short, medium, and long slides.

Short slides are just behind the setter, almost like a backwards quick set but a little higher to give the hitter more time to approach.

Medium slides don’t make it all the way out to the antennae, but are higher and farther behind the setter than a short slide.

Long slides are essentially back sets that are attacked by the middle hitter. They should be a little lower than back sets, but this will need to be adjusted based on your middle hitter’s speed.

Because they involved the middle hitter coming around to the right side of the court to attack, slides are best run when the setter is on the front row in a 5-1 offense, or when the right side hitter will be running an attack in the middle position.

Shoot Sets

Shoots are probably the most difficult plays to run from a setter’s perspective because there’s very little room for error. You have to push the ball all or most of the way across the court very fast and right into your hitter’s hands. Timing and strength are both crucial here.

The two main kinds of shoots are 31 and 51 (number systems can vary from team to team, but this is a basic system used by lots of teams and coaches). A 31 is, like the quick set, one foot above the net, but it’s location is about halfway between the setter and the left side antenna.

Either the outside or middle hitter can attack this type of set. The hitter will begin his/her approach much earlier than s/he would on an outside attack; the hitter has to be in the air as the ball leaves the setter’s hands. The setter must be able to see the hitter jumping because s/he has to push the ball right into their hand so they can hit it.

The 51 is at a similar tempo, but the hitter contacts it all the way out at the antenna.

For both these attacks, it’s crucial that the setter not allow the ball to “die” on the way out to the hitter. If the hitter were not there, these sets would continue on at a similar height for several more feet. You’re going for a line drive, not an arc on these sets.

Tune in next week for advice on how to hit these sets!

Photo by David Baker (bakerdavid@gmail.com)

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Readers Comments (2)


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by VolleyballXtreme, Andrea Fryrear. Andrea Fryrear said: Same old sets not getting the job done? Try these more advanced plays: http://ow.ly/26wua #volleyball […]


  2. […] week we talked about advanced volleyball plays from a setter’s perspective; this week we’ll look at the same plays from a […]




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