Volleyball Terms

Volleyball Terms

Ace – A serve that results in an immediate point without the receiving team making contact or having an errant first touch.
Antenna – Vertical rods located at the edge of the net and are considered to be not-in-play.
Approach – The strides toward the volleyball taken by a player before they jump to hit the ball.
Assist – A successful pass or set to a teammate that results in a point for the passing or setting player’s team.
Attack – The offensive action of hitting the ball over the net with the intent to score a point for the hitting player’s team.
Attack Error – An attack that does not result in a point for the hitting player’s team either due to:

The volleyball landing out of bounds

The volleyball is hit into the net and does not make it to the opponent’s side of the court

The ball is blocked by the defending team landing back in the attacking team’s side of the court

The hitting player is called for a foul during the attack

Attacker – Also known as “hitter” is the player who attempts to hit a ball with the purpose of earning their team a point.
Attack Line – The line located three meters away from the net that is also referred to as the ten foot line.
Backcourt – The area from the endline to the attack line.
Back Set – A volleyball that is set in the opposite direction than the setting player is facing.
Back Row Attack – An attack is considered a back row attack if the hitting player jumps from behind the attack line before hitting the ball.
Block – A defensive play by one or more players meant to deflect an attacked ball back to the hitter’s court. It may be a combination of one, two or three players jumping in front of the opposing attacker and contacting the spiked ball with the hands.
Bump – another term referring to a volleyball pass.
Center Line – The invisible barrier created by the net that runs directly under the net and serves as the separating line on the court between the two teams.
Cross Court Shot – An attack that involves a hitter hitting the volleyball at an angle from one end of the offensive team’s side of the net to the opposite sideline of the defensive team’s court.
Cut Shot – An attack from the hitter’s strong side that is hit at a sharp angle across the net.
Decoy – An offensive play meant to disguise which hitter will receive the volleyball to attack.
Deep Set – A set that is hit away from the net causing the blocking players timing to be thrown off.
Dig – The act of passing rapidly hit ball, usually an attack that requires the digging player to get close to the floor to keep the ball in play.
Dink – A gentle push of the volleyball around or over blocking players.
Double Block– Occurs when two players jump together to prevent an attacking player from scoring a point.
Double Hit – The illegal act of making contact with the volleyball twice by the same player.
Down Ball – A volleyball that blockers elect not to attempt to block and usually is hit overhand while the attacking player remains on their feet.
Floater – A serve that is hit in such a way that causes it to have no spin making it move in unpredictable ways.
Foul – A violation of the rules.
Free Ball– When the volleyball is hit over the net by passing rather than a spike or forceful attack.
Held Ball -When a volleyball comes to rest or stops moving when a player is attempting to make contact, usually during a set.
Hit – The act of a player striking the volleyball with a lot of force, usually occurring after a set when a player jumps to make contact.
Hitter – Also known as the”attacker”is the player that hits the volleyball with force over the net in an attempt to score a point for their team.
Hitting Percentage – the number of kills divided by the number of attempts to score a point.
Isolation Play – Designed to isolate the attacker on a specific defender, normally to exploit a weakness or give a hitter a chance to hit against a single block.
Jump Serve – A serve that is started by the server tossing the ball into the air and jumping into and hitting the ball in its downward motion.
Key – To predict a team’s next play by observation of patterns or habits.
Kill – An attack that results in an immediate point or side out.
Line Shot – A ball spiked down an opponent’s sideline, closest to the hitter and outside the block.
Let – A serve that contacts the net. If the ball dribbles over, it’s playable just like any other ball that contacts the net on the way over. If the ball fails to clear the net, it will become dead when it either hits the serving team’s court, or is contacted by a player on the serving team.
Offside Block – Player at the net, which is on the side away from the opponent’s attack.
Off-Speed Hit – Any ball spiked with less than maximum force but with spin.
Outside Hitter – a left-front or right-front attacker normally taking an approach which starts from outside the court
Overhand Pass – A pass executed with both hands open, controlled by the fingers and thumbs, played just above the forehead.
Overhand Serve – Serving the ball and striking it with the hand above the shoulder.
Pass – Join your arms from the elbows to the wrists and strike the ball with the fleshy part of your forearms in an underhand motion.
Penetration – The act of reaching across and breaking the plane of the net during blocking.
Point of Service – A serve that results in a point (an ace by NCAA standards) as the serve is not returnable due to a bad pass by the receiver, this number includes aces.
Quick Set – a set (usually 2’ above the net) in which the hitter is approaching the setter, and may even be in the air, before the setter delivers the ball. This type of set requires precise timing between the setter and hitter.
Ready Position – The flexed, yet comfortable, posture a player assumes before moving to contact the ball.
Reception Error – A serve that a player should have been able to return, but results in an ace (and only in the case of an ace). If it is a “husband/wife” play (where the ball splits the two receivers), the receiving team is given the reception error instead of an individual.
Red Card – a severe penalty in which an official displays a red card. The result of a red card may be a player is disqualified, the team loses the serve, or the team loses a point. A red card may be given with or without a prior yellow card as a warning; it is up to the official’s discretion.
Roll – a certain way to pass a ball in which the digger, or passer lays out an arm, passes the ball, and rolls over the shoulder (over the shoulder roll) or back (barrel roll) after passing the ball. This is a quick way to return to action after the play.
Rotation – The clockwise movement of players around the court and through the serving position following a side out.
Serve – One of the six basic skills; used to put the ball into play. It is the only skill controlled exclusively by one player.
Server – The player who puts the ball into play.
Service Error – An unsuccessful serve in which one or more of the following occurs: 1) the ball hits the net or fails to clear the net, 2) the ball lands out of bounds, or 3) the server commits a foot fault.
Service Error – A point the serving team scores when this player has served the ball. The point can be an immediate (in the case of an ace) or delayed (a kill or opponent attack error after a long rally). Therefore, the sum of the team’s service winners equals their score.
Set – The tactical skill in which a ball is directed to a point where a player can spike it into the opponent’s court.
Setter – the player who has the 2nd of 3 contacts of the ball who “sets” the ball with an “Overhand Pass” for a teammate to hit. The setter normally runs the offense.
Side Line – The lines on the court perpendicular to the net.                  Side Out – Occurs when the receiving team successfully puts the ball away against the serving team, or when the serving team commits an unforced error, and the receiving team thus gains the right to serve.
Spike – Also hit or attack. A ball contacted with force by a player on the offensive team who intends to terminate the ball on the opponent’s floor or off the opponent’s blocker.
Strong Side – When a right-handed hitter is hitting from the left-front position or when a left-handed hitter is hitting from the right-front position.
Turning In – the act of an outside blocker turning his/her body into the court so as to ensure the blocked ball is deflected into the court and lands in-bounds.
Underhand Serve – a serve in which the ball is given a slight under-hand toss from about waist high and then struck with the opposite closed fist in an “underhand pitching” motion.
Weak Side – When a right-handed player is hitting from right-front position or when a left-handed player is hitting from the left-front position.
Yellow Card – a warning from an official indicated by the display of a yellow card. Any player or coach who receives two yellow cards in a match is disqualified. A single yellow card does not result in loss of point or serve.