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Girls Volleyball Terms + Rules For Beginners

If you’re new to girls volleyball, there are a lot of terms being thrown around on the court that you might not be familiar to you. Read on for a list of volleyball terms that will help you better understand the game.

You’ll be “speaking the language of volleyball” in no time, and we hope you’ll stick around to check out our top gear recommendations as well as our tips for volleyball training at home!

Common Volleyball Terms For Beginners

First, some volleyball basics…

an ideal play in volleyball is when the team contacts the ball 3 times, in the following order: first, a defensive player passes (or bumps/digs) the ball to the setter. The setter then sets the ball (high and near the net) to an offensive player (hitter). Finally, the hitter hits (or attacks/spikes) the ball over the net. The goal of each play is that the opposing team is unable to return the ball.

Girls Volleyball Terms: Positions + Abbreviations


The setter in girls volleyball is the player who is generally taking the 2nd ball of the play. Depending on the age and team dynamics, teams may operate with a primary setter (in a 5-1 format), or with 2 different setters (in a 6-2 format) who alternate playing as setter depending on the position of the rotations on the court.

Libero – What Is A Libero In Volleyball?

The libero is a critical player on the volleyball court, and they typically only play in the back row. This player will wear a different colored jersey than the rest of the team, visually designating them in their role. The libero’s main job is to be the primary passer on serve receive, and also to take the setter’s 2nd ball when the setter is “out” or cannot get to the ball in time. Liberos typically play primarily in the middle back position, but will sometimes also be a left back. The libero is a ring leader on the court and is allowed to substitute for any back row player on the court.

Defensive Specialist (DS)

A defensive specialist is a back row player, who specializes in serve receive and digging balls when the opposing team attacks.

Middle Blocker (MB or MH)

A middle blocker is a front row player whose primary position at the net is in the middle. They will primarily attack from the middle front position, and they are critical net players, since they are expected to join both the right side and the outside hitters to block attacks from the opposing team. The middle blocker is often among the tallest (if not the tallest) player on the court.

Outside Hitter (OH)

An outside hitter is a front row player whose primary position is at the left side of the net. They are also expected to cover for other front row players (dig balls that come over short or off the block) when other front row players are blocking or attaching. The outside hitter is often among the strongest offensive players on the court, and may see a larger share of sets than middle and right side hitters.

Right Side Hitter (Also Called Opposite / OPP)

A right side hitter is just that; a front row player on the right side of the team’s net. A right side hitter is an attacker, but will also have a primary role in blocking, since they block the opposing team’s Outside Hitter. This player is expected to cover defense for balls that drop short, and also to help cover for the setter (to avoid having the setter take the first ball in a play).

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