Volleyball Player Positions

What are the different player positions in volleyball? What are they called and what is each position responsible for? Get ready to learn all about volleyball player positions. No prior knowledge is required.

Listed below are the six different player positions in volleyball, along with the responsibilities that are attributed to each position. It is important to note that since players rotate to a new spot after winning a point that the opponent served, player positions do not remain constant in a standard volleyball match.

What Are the Positions in Volleyball?


Setters are often viewed as the quarterback or point guard of a volleyball team. Not only do they need to have strong communication skills to relay instructions to teammates, they are also the primary passers on most teams. The name of this position is derived from setters' tendency to pop the ball into the air (known as a set pass), such that a nearby teammate can hit the ball over the net and onto the opponent's side of the court. Setters also perform digs, in which they make diving attempts to prevent well-hit, strategically placed shots from hitting the ground.


Liberos are perhaps the most active players on the court at any given time, adept at both passing and playing defense. They are often seen executing digs, which involves a diving attempt to prevent a well-hit, strategically placed shot from hitting the ground. Liberos are easy to spot on the court, as they wear different colored jerseys than the rest of their teammates.

Middle Blockers

Middle Blockers/Hitters tend to be the tallest players on the team. They work closely with the opposite and outside hitters, trying to block shots and catch the opposition off guard by quickly smashing the ball over the net.

Outside Hitters

The outside hitter occupies the left side of the court. When playing in the back row, outside hitters often receive the opponent's serve and attempt to hit the ball into the air to generate a scoring opportunity for a teammate. When playing in the front row, outside hitters need to be capable of either spiking the ball over the net or passing the ball to a nearby teammate for a spike. It is for this reason that outside hitters generally have good jumping ability.

Opposite Hitters

The opposite hitter patrols the right side of the court and carries many of the same responsibilities as the outside hitter. The main difference is that opposite hitters are key to any team's defensive success, as they work to block shots and prevent the opponent from scoring.

Defensive Specialists

No team would be complete without a defensive specialist. As evidenced by the name, these players are all about playing defense and stopping the opposition from scoring. Defensive specialists tend to have good speed and reaction times, which comes in handy when trying to cover a lot of ground and save the ball from hitting the ground at all costs.

List of Volleyball Positions


What Is the Best Position to Play in Volleyball?

The best position to play volleyball differs based on each individual player's skill set. Players that excel defensively are best suited for the role of defensive specialist or libero, while players that are extremely athletic and have a keen sense for finding open spots to attack on the opponent's side of the court are more likely to be outside/opposite hitters. Moreover, skilled passers are often the setters on each volleyball team.

Which volleyball position should I play?

Physical attributes also play a major part in dictating the most effective position for each player. For instance, players with a tall and lanky physical build are able to take advantage of those characteristics by attacking the front of the net as middle blockers/hitters.

What are the most important volleyball positions?

There are, however, volleyball positions that are considered the most important and integral parts of a team. Both the setter and libero are vocal players that advise teammates of their responsibilities and visible weaknesses in the opponent's alignment throughout the course of a match. Without a solid setter to relay instructions and execute good passes or a talented libero to dig out difficult shots, it is nearly impossible for a team to enjoy long-term success.

How Many Players Are in a Volleyball Game?

Standard volleyball games require each team to have six players occupying the court at any given time (total of 12 players between the two teams). Of the six players assigned to a team, three occupy the front row near the net, while the other three players stand in the back row directly behind the corresponding member of the front row.

Teams generally carry an additional 4-6 players that serve as potential substitutions should a member of the original six underperform or suffer an injury. Substitution limits vary depending on the league and level that presides over each volleyball match. Some leagues allow multiple substitutions over the course of a match, while others (namely professional leagues) limit each team to just three or four player changes. The one exception to this rule is for substitutions involving the libero, as the libero can be exchanged for any position an unlimited number of times.

How Many Positions Are There in Volleyball?

There are six different player positions in volleyball, each with a unique set of responsibilities. It is important to note that since players rotate to a new spot after winning a point that the opponent served, player positions do not remain constant in a standard volleyball match. Nonetheless, starters are assigned a position to occupy at the beginning of each match based on the position that best aligns with their attributes and tendencies.