Rapids Volleyball

Wainuiomata Rapids Volleyball Inc.


Volleyball Terminology

This is some of the basic terminology that is used in New Zealand volleyball, but also has some American terms thrown in. Volleyball terminology is vast and it really is varied. It comes down to what expression is commonly used in your area, and what ends up being the label tagged to a certain maneovour or aspect of volleyball. But if you want to talk volleyball terms, then this is a good place to start.

Definition: A serve in volleyball that is not passable and immediately rewards the serving team with a point. Usually followed by a moment of celebration by the serving team.


Definition: The vertical rods at the end of the net, above the side lines.
Antenna are out of play and are normally red and white stripped.
Normally only used on indoor courts.


Definition: The path and method an attacker moves to the net before jumping to attack the ball.
You can also approach with a two step, three step or four step approach.


Definition: An assist is awarded to the player that passes or sets a ball to a player who successfully attacks the ball for a kill.


Definition: An offensive shot where a player returns the ball to the opponents court.
Normally, this is done in a manner where the attacker hits the ball above the height of the net in a downward direction towards the floor.


Attack Block:
Definition: Attempting to block an opponents attack by using a “penetrating block”.
Normally, both players are above the height of the net and the blocker(s) attempt with their hands to stop the ball from crossing the net.


Attack Error:
Definition: An unsuccessful attack where the ball either lands out of bounds, goes into the net,
is blocked or the attacker makes an infraction of the rules.


Attack Hit:
Definition: A hit of the ball from above the height of the net and goes over the net or is touched by a blocker.


Definition: The player that returns the ball to the opponents court.
Normally, the attacker attempts to hit the ball above the net and terminate the rally with one hit.


Attack Line:
Definition: The two lines parallel to the centre line and three meters back from the net.
These lines separate the front court from the back court. Back court players must jump to attack the ball from behind this line.


Back Court:
Definition: That area of the court between the sidelines, behind the attack line and in front of the end line.


Back Set:
Definition: When the setter sets in the direction opposite to which he or she is facing.


Back Row Attack:
Definition: Back row players are restricted in how they can attack a ball.
Any attack on the ball above the height of the net by a back row attack must be made behind the attack line. – If the backrow player steps on over the attack line its an illegal back row attack.


Backward Pass:
Definition: A pass made when the player has his/her back to the net and must return the ball directly over his/her head.


Ball Handling Error:
Definition: This is improper handling of the ball as restricted by the rule book.
Most common ball handling errors are double hits, throws, and lifts.


Base Position:
Definition: A place on the court a player would set themselves into for that particular spot of the court, for either serve recieve or service.
Also Known As: Starting position, home position


Beach Dig:
Definition: An open-handed pass often used by beach players.


Definition: Attempting to block (intercept) an opponents attack.
Normally, both players are above the height of the net. The receiving player(s) attempt with their hands to stop the ball from crossing the net, ideally, the blocker would try to direct the ball back in court or straight to the opponents floor.
Also Known As: Block, stuff, roof, wall.


Bump Pass:
Definition: A Pass with both arms together where the ball bumps off the forearms.
Also Known As: forearm pass, pass, bump pass, bump.


Definition: This is a term used when the ball falls to the ground between three or more players. It comes from the image of a bunch of players huddled around a campfire.


Centre Line:
Definition: The two inch line that runs down the centre of the court, under the net and divides the court into two equal halves.


Definition: A defensive system with a two-man block scheme, & where the off-blocker moves up to the middle (front) of the net and covers for tips. The left (or the right) back (depending on what side will be blocked) will defend hard spike with the middle back. Both back-court defenders (left or right back along with the middle back) will face the attacker. The extra defender will cover the line drive or tip.


Cross Court Shot:
Definition: An attack that is directed from a corner of the attacker’s net to the opposite sideline of the opponent’s court.


Cut Shot:
Definition: These attack shots travel over the net at extreme angles.
The balls often land in front of the attack line.


Definition: A decoy is any offensive play that attempts to disguise or hide which attacker will receive the set. Often, two or more hitters approach to the same area on the net.


Deep Set:
Definition: Attempting Deep sets are set away from the net and designed to be hit near the attack line. These sets are designed to defeat the timing of the blockers.


Definition: Passing a hard driven ball. Normally referring to a pass made close to the floor after a spike. A dig is also to play at balls that a fast and are speeding to the floor,
so sprawls and dives can be considered as digging too.
Also Known As: Pass, shovel, platform pass.


Definition: Attempting An American term. A soft hit ball, usually around or over the top of the blockers. A dink is also used effectively to direct the ball to an open hole in the defence.
More commonly known as a “tip” in New Zealand instead of “dink”.
Also Known As: Scabby shot, tipping, tip, power tip, tactical hit.


Definition: Lunging forward to save that ball often landing on the stomach.
There are other forms such as the Dolphin dive, roll and sprawling.
It is the ultimate dig.


Double Block:
Definition: Two front row players working in unison attempt to block an opponent.
Usually the inside hand of both blockers should be aiming to block the ball.
Also Known As: Wall.


Double Hit:
Definition: Attempting Two or more successive hits or contacts with a ball by the same player.
Situation dictates whether it is a legal play or not.


Double Quick:
Definition: Attempting Like the quick, except two hitters approach the setter for a quick.
Also Known As: Stack, stack attack.


End Line:
Definition: The lines that extends along the two short sides of the court.
Also Known As: Service line.


Five-One (5-1):
Definition: A volleyball strategy where five of the players are hitters and one is a full time setter.


Definition: A hitter hides behind the quick hitter and makes an inside-out approach.


Definition: A method of serving which has no spin on the ball.
The ball’s path is erratic and very difficult to pass.
Also Known As: Float serve.


Four-Two (4-2):
Definition: A six-player format using four hitters and two setters. The setters play in opposite positions to each other on the court, so when one of them rotates to the front court, they become the setter. It is a formation that has the team always playing with a front court hitter.


Free Ball:
Definition: A ball returned by a pass rather than a spike. The receiving team calls out, “free-ball” to denote all players to back up to serve receive positions, ready to pass and attack quickly. It is an equivalent to the sport of Basketball’s “fast-break”.


Held Ball:
Definition 1: A ball that comes to rest during contact. A prolonged touch of the ball.

Definition 2: A ball not released from the hand when serving the ball.
Also Known As: Carried ball, Lift.


Definition: A hit on the ball that makes the ball playable either to their team mates
or to their opposition.
Also Known As: Pass, save, spike.


Definition: The player making the hit.
Also Known As: Attacker, spiker.


Hitters Coverage:
Definition: This is where you have as many diggers as you can around your spiker to cover for any ball that deflects off the blockers and back to your side, usually the ball deflects quite low majority of the time.


Husband & Wife:
Definition: An attack that lands between two players.
Both players expected the other player to dig the ball.


Jump Block:
Definition: A blocking technique to give the spiker false security. The trick is to jump into the spiked ball so the attacker won’t see the blocker in front of them, when they hit, the blocker jumps into the path of the spike.


Jump Serve:
Definition: A serve where the server tosses the ball into the air and then jumps up and hits the ball as it descends. Its an attack, but from very far-out. It is the only part of the game where an individual can help his/her team score points without the assitance of team-mates.


Jungle Ball:
Definition: A serve where the server tosses the ball into the air
and then jumps up and hits the ball as it descends.
Also Known As: Picnic volleyball.


Definition: Two opposing players simultaneously make contact with the ball above the height of the net.


Definition: A spike that results in an immediate point.


Definition: A defensive player who wears a different colour shirt and is restricted from hand setting the ball in front of the attack line to be attacked above the height of the net from a spiker. Also they can’t serve the ball, and attacking the ball. Libero means “free” in Itallian.


Definition: Illegally holding a ball during a contact. Illegal contact.


Definition: The method used to mark the edge of the court. All lines are in.


Line Shot:
Definition: A ball attacked down the sideline on the opponents court, closest to the hitter, and around the outside the block.


Middle Back:
Definition: A defense strategy that uses the middle back player to cover deep shots.
Also Known As: Perimeter defence.


Middle Up:
Definition: A defense strategy that uses the middle back player to come up shallow to cover dinks or short shots, most teams use the setter when in backcourt to be the middle-back player.


Definition: The original name of volleyball. Volleyball was created by William Morgan of the YMCA.


Multiple Offense:
Definition: A system that employs a variety of sets other than setting only to the outside hitters.
Having many decoys.


Definition: A Defensive front row player who is away from the action.
Usually the outside blockers are either the blocker or the off-blocker.


Off-Speed Hit:
Definition: A ball spiked with less than maximum force. Normally the ball has a lot of spin.


Outside Hitter:
Definition: The left(4) or right(2) front player that hits a ball with an approach
normally coming from the outside of the court.


Definition: When players are out of rotation or in the wrong position during indoor six-man volleyball.


Definition: A one-handed pass technique where the hand is extended and palm slid along the floor in a diving play on the ball. When executed correctly, the ball will bounce of the back of the hand.


Definition: Reaching across the net with your hands and breaking the plane of the net & above the height of the net, in an effort to block an attack. It can also mean a backcourt setter who penetrates to the front court.


Perimeter Defense:
Definition: This employs four players to be hugging the sidelines to defend the outsides, especially good against hard hitting teams, weakness is against tips to the middle. Like the other defenses, it is a two man block system, and the off-blocker will go back deep to be a foot or two off the side line & infront of or on the attack line, while the middle-back takes up the centre-back position on the endline. The left and right back will be on their respective sidelines, but will be about two or thee foot off the endline.


Power Alley:
Definition: A cross court shot, it travels from one corner to the farthest opposite point of the court, which is the opposite corner in the opposing team side of the court.


Power Dink:
Definition: An attack where the attacker pushes or directs the ball with force.
Also Known As: Power tip.


Definition: A play where the middle hitter approaches the setter for a super quick set.
Also Known As: 51, A-quick, quick set, one-set.


Ready Position:
Definition: The correct posture a player should be in when preparing to receive and pass a serve or attack.
Also Known As: Ready.


Read Position:
Definition: A type of defence in the front row, where the blocker will read the setter before reacting. Or can also be a transition from “base position” to “read position”. From the read position, a player can see through the net what the opposition is doing and be in the best position to react.


Reception Error:
Definition: A reception error occurs when a player should have been able to pass a serve but makes an error resulting in an ace. Errors are given to individuals except in the case of husband/wife, where the team is given the error.


Red Card:
Definition: A severe penalty given by the official to a player, coach or anyone on the team bench.
When the penalty occurs, the official will display a red card which, depending on the rule set, may result in a player being disqualified.


Roll Shot:
Definition: A ball hit overhand and driven over the net with topspin while the player normally remains on the ground.
Also Known As: Down Ball, roll.


Rotate Defence:
Definition: This defensive scheme is also based on a two-man blocking system. Here an off-blocker will rotate back into the backcourt, just hugging the sideline and getting just behind the attack-line. When this is done, it shuffles the bacourt around. This allows the middle back to swing around and cover line drives. Depending on what side the blockers need to block, the back wing players will either be defending for the hard spike or be the one to cover tips having a read position that is a bit closer. The middle back can be the sweeper, and they move with the ball, and cover behind the two man block.


Definition: Players move clockwise from position to position. Rotations begin with the serve and the player moves to the middle back after the subsequent side out.


Definition: First hit of the game. The initiating hit of each rally.
The serving team must put the ball into play from behind the endline. The serve must land in the opponents court.
Also Known As: Service.


Definition 1: A tough skill in which a volleyball is directed towards the attacker so that it may be spiked into the opponent’s court.

Definition 2: The term used outside of the United States for a single game.
Normally a match will consist of best 2 out of 3 sets (games) per match.


Definition: The player whose primary responsibility is to get to the ball on the second contact and deliver it to a teammate for the attack.


Shoot Set:
Definition: This is a particular type of set, its a set where the setter shoots their set with no arcs.
Its a quick and straight set which is directed to the spot where a hitter will spike it.


Six Pack:
Definition: Occurs when a blocker get hit in the head or face by a spiked ball, an American term. Also could be called falcon, after popular refrences from rugby-league terms for a player being hit on the head with a ball.


Six-Six (6-6):
Definition: This is a stratergy formation which is the simplest,
and makes things more social. You have everyone become the setter once they rotate to a designated position in the front court. This formation allows you to have two front row hitters for the entire match.


Six-Two (6-2):
Definition: A 6-player offense that uses four hitters and two setters.
The setters are also hitters while in the front row and setters while in the back row.


Definition: An attack that is normally performed above the height of the net by a player who intends to hit the ball straight to the opponent’s floor or off the hands of the opposing block.
Also Known As: Attack, hit, kill, nail, point.


Strong Side:
Definition: For the right-handed hitter, the strong side is the left front position.
For the left-handed hitter, it is the right front position on the net.
Also Known As: Open-side, outside, position-4.


Suicide Shoot:
Definition: This set is a shoot set out to the outside hitter.
Also Known As: Eleven.


Definition: More common term used in New Zealand for the dink.
Trying to softly touch the ball over the net or over the block(s).
Also Known As: Dink, power tip, tactical hit.


Definition: Changing the direction of a volleyball by grabbing it and throwing it.
Also Known As: Catch and throw, lift, held ball, grab.


Topspin Serve:
Definition: A method of serving that puts a large amount of forward spin on the volleyball causing it to dive suddenly.


Weak Side:
Definition: The right-front position of the net for a right-handed person and the left-front for a left-handed person.
Also Known As: Positon-2, opposite, blind-side.


Definition: The term is used when spike is deflected off a blocker and goes out of play.
Also Known As: Tool.


Yellow Card:
Definition: A card the official will pull out to give a warning to a player or coach.
Subsequent yellow cards given to a single player or coach can result in disqualification from the match.

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