Volleyball Plays
Offensive plays in volleyball

The following are common volleyball plays to run in volleyball.

Basic Combinations of Sets


  • High ball outside, 2 ball to the middle, high ball backset. This is the most basic of plays. Usually the higher the set and slower the attack, the easier it is for the offense to stay "in system". In system means the setter is able to set an attacker a good set to hit. For example, a high set will likely be easier to attack. Even if the set comes from far off the net, set a high ball and the attacker will have a chance to get a kill.

  • High ball outside, quick 1 ball to the middle, backset 2 ball. This is a much faster combination of attack. This combination is much more difficult to execute because to run a quick play, the ball must be passed good.

  • Shoot to the outside, 31 ball to the middle, backset 1 to the right side. This combination is usually run only in free ball situations because the pass must be good. For example, if you try to run this combination in serve receive and the pass is poor, then it will be difficult for the setter make a good set. A really good set is important if you're going to go fast.
Volleyball plays for executing an offense. Does your team want to go fast or go slow? There are different advantages to a fast offense vs a slower offense. The following are combination plays...

Combinations for a faster offense...

  • Shoot to the outside, 31 slide to the middle, backslide for the right side. This combination is very fast. The outlet for a bad pass is usually the right side hitter or a back row 10 ball attack. The advantage to going fast with this combination is it can be effective even if the pass is poor. Especially with slides, it's often easier for the attacker to make adjustments during the slide approach. This is much different than going for quick 1 attack to the middle. For a quick 1 attack to the middle, the attacker must commit early. With slides, you don't have to commit early. Instead, you chase the ball down and attack it.

  • High ball outside, "double quick" to the middle. The "double quick" is when the middle hitter goes for a front 1, and the right side attacker goes for a back 1. This play can be very effective because when the middle blocker commits to staying with the middle hitter, then the outside hitter is one-on-one with the outside blocker.

So how do you know what combinations of volleyball plays to run?

The first thing you need to do is decide what kind of attackers you have on your team.

Define the team identity. If your team is mostly small and fast, then a faster offense may be better.

On the other hand, if your team is taller and you have a couple outside hitters that can really bang the ball, then a slower, high ball offense is likely better.


Important Tips for Running Volleyball Plays

  • If you're small, fast, and jump high, then focus on running a faster offense. The goal with a faster offense is to pass low and fast, set quick, and have your attackers beat the blockers. Beat the blockers means you go quick and attack fast, beating the blocker with speed.

    To be successful at running a fast offense, the passing needs to be real good. You got to pass the ball on the money. Keep the passes low, fast, and on target.

  • If your team is kind of tall, then run a slower, high setting offensive system. With a slower offense, beating the blockers with your speed isn't so important. What's important is getting your big attackers good sets to attack.

Volleyball plays to win in volleyball

› Volleyball Plays



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