Menu Close

Team composition

We should know what players form a volleyball team or we had better to ask what specialized positions there are in a volleyball team? Firstly, it is important to know we as a coach should develop all-round players up to puberty. It means we should develop the volleyball players who are master in all the basic techniques. After puberty we should talk to them and choose a specific position according to their physical conditions like height, agility, interest and also their decision-making abilities. We should tell them which position is more suitable for them and in which position they can be more successful with the special exercises for that position? But why do we need to develop all-round players? As you know, one of the unique features of volleyball is Rotation. It means that all players should be able to perform fundamental techniques very well in different situations. All of them should have good ball control, be able to pass the ball and perform the basic sets. After that we must focus on specialized positions for moderate up to top level volleyball because we need them for being successful in that level.

The first specialized position is setter. Setter is the play maker. He/she organizes the attack plans and run the attackers. He or she must play with accuracy and set as fast as possible with suitable height and rhythm. Setter should set the ball according to each player’s characteristics like his/her jump, height, rhythm and so on. Just as a waiter that should serve each customer’s favorite food, a setter should identify and send the special set to each player. This will strengthen the trust between setter and attackers and as a result he/ she will gradually be able to increase the speed of the game.

A good setter must have some particular traits such as good leadership and decision-making ability. Setter should consider the situation of his/her own team, the opponent team and be able to make the best decision at the moment. He/she must have very good ball control, especially when passing the ball with overhand, setter must be very skillful in jump set and also be able to set with one hand. He or she also must be very good and stable in underhand setting that is very useful when first ball doesn’t have enough height or is too much far from him or her. Setter also must be able to move very fast and have good agility.

Another significant feature of this position is mental ability. Setter should always keep himself/herself calm and be tough, courageous and grit simultaneously. Setter is the player who must never give up and should motivate all the team and sometimes even the coach. That is why setters are called play-makers, the motor and the heart of a team and is one of the most important positions in volleyball.

The next specialized position is Libero whose main duties are reception, digging and covering. He/she has good ball control when digging the ball and setting and he must be consistent in his or her performance. Libero is also in charge of organizing the receiving group which usually includes Libero and two outside hitters. He/she should have high reaction speed, movement speed, hardihood, courage, grit, consistency and self-confidence. Libero should always motivate the other players.

One of the prominent skills of a Libero is his/her ability to side reception by forearm because he/she should cover about 4-5 meters of the court when receiving. In many times and many teams, coaches want him/her to set the ball when the setter has dug, so his/her ball control must be perfect. Libero also plays a key role when covering attackers, especially when attackers face two or three opponent blockers.

 There is a very important difference between position Libero and the other positions. Libero is not supposed to score points for the team, so his/her faults may be more noticeable and these faults may result in his/her mental and psychological pressure. For this reason, coaches must always support liberoes and help them develop a psychological ability that called the power of again, in their mind. It means if they have a fault in reception, they have to be able to refresh their mind and focus on the next rally.

TABLE 1.1 Performance of liberoes from four different teams in men volleyball WCH 2022

  Number of Receptions per Set Efficiency of


Number of Digs per Set Efficiency of


Libero of Italy

 Rank 1









Libero of Poland

Rank 2









Libero of Brazil

Rank 3









Libero of Iran

Rank 13











FIGURE 1.8 Comparison of liberoes from four different teams in men volleyball WCH 2022 in serve reception.


The next specialized position is middle blocker that also called quick attacker. He/she is the player whose main duty is organizing block at the net. He/she should have good communication with coach about defensive and blocking strategies. Middle blocker must know all types of blocking footwork (such as side step, cross step, combination step, running step, half-cross step). He/she must have a good blocking technique and visual reaction towards opponent sets and identify the real attacker.

 He/she should be able to analyze the situation, choose the appropriate step to move, know when and where to jump and perform the blocking technique in the best way. One of the key points is pressing technique that helps him/her to be able to penetrate into the opponent’s space with fully contracted hands and perform blocking techniques as well as possible.

His/her next important task is jumping to execute quick attack just as the ball is about to be released from setter’s hand. Whether it is in the attack after reception or is in transition attack. One of the significant features of the high level middle blockers is that they always participate in attack, whether it is after reception or is a transition attack.

Another important task for them is to keep their focus on the game when the rally gets long. In addition, they should have good ball control in receiving free ball, short services and setting the ball when we are in defensive phase and the ball comes toward them quickly. In terms of height and body traits, the middle blockers need to have long hands, high-grown. In men’s volleyball they are usually over the 200 or 205 Cm. tall. In women’ volleyball they are over 185Cm and in high level teams even more than 192Cm. They also must have good agility, fast-twitch muscle fibers to be able to move sideways very well to block and also get back from the net to attack.

The next specific position is the opposite. The player who is placed opposite to the setter in team formation, often does not participate in reception, and must have high power and endurance in attacking, especially attacking from behind the 3-meter line. The opposite players should jump vertically and horizontally very well when attacking from behind 3-meter line and vertically when attacking from front zone. High power, height and variety in attacking, being scorer and aggressive are some important features of opposite players. Besides, they should have excellent skill in blocking and be able to execute jump serves at high speed. They also should be able to hit the high balls that are set to them from center or the end of the court with high quality.

It is very important for them to be mentally stable and not have emotional fluctuations. Avoiding emotionalism should be one of the characteristics of all volleyball players, especially of opposite, outside hitters and setters. Additionally, they should defense at position 1 and block at position 2 and have good ball control like other players. They need to be perfect in digging the tips and defense in position 1. Besides, if they have good technique they can also add to the receiving group when we need to receive the opponent’s serves with four receivers.

The last specialized position that we want to talk about is the outside hitter. Outside hitter is a player who plays key role when we need to play stable, have consistency in executing tactics and keep the performance level of our team high.

 As mentioned before, if we want to play well, we need to have good performance in Complex 1 or Side out that begins with reception. One of the players who, along with libero, participate in receiving is outside hitter. It is his/her responsibility to receive the serves whether with overhand or underhand. As a result, outside hitters should have a good performance in reception, attacking after reception and hitting second tempo sets (at high speed). He/she also should be able to make the best decision at high ball sets. On the other hand, he/she needs to have good performance in blocking by using cross step in position 4 and also help middle blocker to stop A quick.

His/her defense at position six plays very important role because he/ she has tactical performance there. He /she must be able to move right and left or turn back and run for defense.  His/her two most important traits are excellent ball control and risk control. When he can’t score a point use the best option to confront the opponent with problem and when he faces one or two unstable block, be able to increase the power of scoring of the team. There is little difference between responsibilities of two out-side hitters of the team, one of them play near to the setter (out-side hitter 1 or OH1) and the other one play far from the setter (out-side hitter 2 or OH2). In reception, OH1 should receive two times in position one, two times in position six and two times in position 5. On the other hand, OH2 should receive one time in position one, one time in position six and four times in position 5. In attack after reception, OH1 should attack two times from position four and one time from position two. However, OH2 should attack three times from position four. We think that in choosing players and also training them we should consider these points.

TABLE 1.2 Comparison of best players in Men World Championship 2022 that have been chosen in dream team.

Name of Player Giannelli










Position S





Out-side Hitter





Middle Blocker

Height 198 cm


205 cm 202 cm 195 cm 210 cm
Serve per set 5


3.3 3.4 3.7 3.85
Serve Eff% 16%


6% 22% 15% 23%
Dig per  set 2.8


1.3 1.9 1.6 0.8
Dig Eff% 54%


63% 53% 65% 27%
Block per set

Kill block

0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.6
Block per set

Good block

0.4 0.35 0.4 0.52 0.7
Attack per set

after reception

0.3 4 3.7 2.7 1.96
Attack Eff%

after reception

75% 31% 44% 46% 49%
Attack per set

After defense

0.56 2.5 3.9 2.4 1
Attack Eff%

After defense

36% 36% 37% 38% 32%
Reception per set 0.25 6.3 4.2
Reception Eff% 29% 28% 23%


Scoring ways

. There are three scoring techniques in volleyball: attack, serve and block. It is very important and vital for players to be excellent and proficient in performing these techniques. We score the most points from the attack that can be divided to attack after reception and attack after defense or transition attack.

But each team can score the points through four ways. Three ways are the three techniques that we mentioned above and the fourth way is the opponent errors. As you remember we talked about this issue that players are always under pressure when they are playing because each error in volleyball will result in a point. They always think about possibility of fault and giving point to the opponent when they are performing a technique, specially, serve and attack. Therefore, risk control is one of the important decision-making skills of players. They should know how much risk to take in each situation and when the possibility of getting a point is low, don’t give a point to the opponent. In below table we show that first three teams in Men World Championship 2022 how took their points.

TABLE 1.3 The scoring ways of first three teams in men volleyball WCH 2022

  Attack after Reception Attack after Defense Block Serve Opponent


Italy 30% 23% 11% 4% 32%
Poland 35% 22% 9% 8% 26%
Brazil 32% 22.5% 10% 5.5% 30%

IN the chart on next page we also compare the champions team in women and men volleyball in World Championships 2022. As you can see in the chart, the main differences are in amount of errors and transition attacks. We can say that in women volleyball we have more real rallies and less mistakes in serve, and also the transition attack is more than men volleyball, so the concept of ball control is more important. As FIVB reported in its report: Picture of the Game, 2019, the average number of ball contacts in men high level volleyball (without pseudo) is almost 6.8 contacts per rally, on the other hand, it is almost 7.6 in women volleyball. And also the average of rally duration in men high level volleyball (without pseudo) is 7.10 seconds and only in 15% of the time of each set, the is flying. However, the average of rally duration in women high level volleyball (without pseudo) is 8.30 seconds and only in 19.5% of the time of each set, the is flying.

FIGURE 1.9 Comparing scoring ways between champion teams in WCH 2022, in men (Italy) and women (Serbia) volleyball.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *