Common Types Of Hits In Volleyball

Common Types Of Hits In Volleyball

Volleyball players are continuously using all types of hits as they play the game. It is important that all of the players on a volleyball team know how to pass, set, hit, and serve since each one of them will be put in the position to use these skills.

While passing, setting, and hitting are the desired three types of hits a team wants to accomplish during the time the ball is on their side of the net, there are other types of hits that must be done in order to win.

What Are The Most Common Hits in Volleyball?

The three main hits in volleyball are the pass, set, and hit (also known as spike). Each team is allowed three hits on their side of the net. Using the three hits maximizes a team’s chance to score.  Another important hit is the serve which is needed to start any volleyball action.

In this article we will discuss the different types of hits in depth and how to use them on the volleyball court effectively. While we could go into more detail, we will try to keep this more basic for those new to the game.

The Pass In Volleyball

The Pass In Volleyball

Passing the volleyball is the most important skill in the game. Every player on the court will have to pass during a game. This is the first skill many coaches teach players because they know no matter what position you are playing; you will have to pass.  

After the ball comes over the net, players use their forearms to make a platform then pass the ball up to the setter. It is best if the ball travels smoothly to the setter a little above their head.

To have a smooth pass, players should be low to receive the ball, and feet and forearms should be facing the target while passing. Following through with their arms will also allow the ball to be more controlled. rather than passing it too quickly by bringing your arms down right away. 

There are four main types of passes that we will discuss below.

  • Regular (Traditional) Pass
  • Dig
  • Overhead
  • Pancake

They are regular, dig, overhead, and pancake passes. The traditional pass is most common, but you will occasionally see the others as well. 

Regular (Traditional) Pass

A regular pass is when the ball is landing above the waist and does not require a significant change in stance. Having your knees bent and arms out along with moving your legs will help you have a controlled pass to the setter. If the pass is good, it allows the setter to make a good set-up to the hitter.

This is the type of pass you traditionally see after a serve, and the best type of pass you can give to your teammates. The Libero and Defensive Specialist use this pass often.


A dig pass occurs below the waist and requires the player to pass from a lower position. Sometimes the player may have to go to the ground to save a ball from hitting the court. This is called a dig and usually occurs after the ball has been hit by a hitter on the other team. 


This pass is used when the ball is over the players head but is not going out of bounds. It is like a set in that the player uses their fingertips to hit the ball. The goal is still to get the ball to the setter in a controlled manner.  


The pancake pass is used when the ball is coming over as a strong hit or tip. The player lays their hand flat on the court, so the ball bounces up from the hand. Normally the player lays their body flat as well. This pass is a last resort to keep the ball from hitting the court. 

The Set In Volleyball

The Set In Volleyball

The set in volleyball is the second hit after the pass. The set is used to set-up the ball above the net to the hitter. There are usually 1-2 setters on the team that are responsible for getting the second ball or calling for help if they can’t get to it. Everyone on the team should know how to set since they may have to get the second ball when it is passed. 

When a player is setting the ball, their hands should be up by their forehead with thumbs and index fingers forming a triangle. They open up the rest of their hands, so a volleyball fits nicely into them. Then they push the ball up to the target while extending their arms and wrists. The set should go a little above the net for the hitter to hit it.

Below we will discuss the three common sets used in volleyball: front set, back set, and quick set.

  • Front Set
  • Back Set
  • Quick Set

All three of these are commonly used while playing volleyball. However, when you think of a set, normally you think of the front set. The other two types of sets take a little more practice to learn.

Front Set

A front set is the traditional set. The setter is setting the ball to a hitter in the front or back row by keeping the ball in front of them. This set is most used for beginners and younger players with less experience.

Back Set

A back set is when the setter sets the ball behind them. This type of set is usually going to the opposite or right-side hitter. When doing this set, the setter needs to make sure they arch their back and push the ball behind them. 

Quick Set

A quick set is a low set that is hit while the ball is still going up or has just peaked. There are different variations of the quick set that a setter must know. For example, a quick 1 or A is a quick set in front of the setter whereas a back 1 or B is a quick set behind the setter.

The Hit In Volleyball

The Hit (Spike) In Volleyball

The hit (spike) in volleyball is the third hit after the set. Sometimes, the hit is referred to as a spike, but in volleyball coaches and players call it a hit. The hit is used to get the ball over the net quickly and toward the ground, therefore making it hard for the other team to return. Hitters are usually the players that are scoring after receiving a set.

A hitter can be anyone on the team, so it is important for every player to know how to hit. When a player is getting ready to hit a ball, they first take specific steps called the approach. After the approach, they then jump and swing to hit the ball to the other side of the court. Hopefully, they just made a kill which means it was unable to get passed up by a player.

Below are some common hits that you will see in volleyball.

  • Hard-Driven Hit (Spike)
  • Tip
  • Standing Hit

There are many versions of each of these hits, but for this article we will talk about them in a general sense. When you think of a “spike” in volleyball, it is the hard-driven hit.

Hard-Driven Hit (Spike)

This hit is exactly what it says. Hard and driven down to the floor. When doing this hit, a hitter will drive the ball as hard as they can onto the other side of the net. The other side better be down and ready for this one. There are other versions of this hit where the hitter attempts to hit this off of the fingers of the opponent as well.


A tip is when a hitter uses one open hand to control the ball when sending it over the net. Tipping is a softer attack that can send the ball short or long. It is used to catch the other team off guard or get over blockers at the net. This is a great way to keep the other team guessing.

Standing Hit

The standing hit is often used by the players in the back row, and they do not jump to attack the ball. It is also called a down ball. The player hitting the ball can decide to hit it short or long depending on where they see the holes on the other side.

The Serve In Volleyball

The Serve In Volleyball

A serve is how the volleyball game gets started and is another way to hit the ball over the net. If the serve goes over and that teams wins the volley, they get a point. If the serve does not go over the net or the serving team does not win the volley, the other team gets a point and then takes over the serving.

When a player is serving, they must stand behind the back out of bounds line. If they go over the line while serving, the other team gets the ball back. The server can stand anywhere on the back line to get the ball over. It is important to have a good toss, focus on the ball, and follow through with your swing. 

Below we will discuss three different types serves in volleyball.

  • Underhand Serve
  • Overhand Serve
  • Jump Serve

Like above, there are also many versions of these serves as well, but this is a general description. At the more advanced levels, you tend to only see overhand and jump serves.

Underhand Serve

The underhand is commonly used by beginner players in volleyball. For this serve, a player will hit the ball with their dominant hand while holding the ball low in their other hand. With a fist with their non-dominant hand, they will swing through the ball. It should go over the net as they follow through. 

Overhand Serve

The overhand serve is the most common serve in volleyball. This is when a player tosses the ball with one hand and strikes it above their head with their other hand. There are two main overhand serves. One is the floater serve where it looks like the ball is floating over the net. The other one is the topspin serve. This serve is easier to serve deep and into specific spots on the court.

Jump Serve

The jump serve is an advanced serve that players use to give more power to the ball and intimidate the other team. This serve is also used to give a better angle on the ball because as the player is jumping in the air, they can bring the ball sharply down on the other side of the net.


Volleyball is a sport that requires all the players to know and perform many kinds of hits. It is essential that the team works together well, and that each player knows their role in the game. If players use each of these hits effectively they will have a successful time playing the game of volleyball.

The next time you are on the court, try to practice the three main hits…traditional pass, front set, and hard hit (spike). Once you get these three down, it is time to expand your skills.

Similar Posts