How To Set A Volleyball

How To Set A Volleyball – For Beginners

Setting a.k.a volleying is a crucial skill to master for volleyball. After all its is what the sport is named after. Setting a volleyball well involves multiple steps including positioning, movement, planning where to set the ball and the actual playing of the ball with the hands. We are going to break this answer up into two parts.

How To Set A Volleyball For Beginners

How To Set A Volleyball – Quick Step By Step Guide

In this short answer we are going to focus on the actual action of setting or volleying a ball and then extend the answer into how to do it well.

  1. Raise your arms up above your head.
  2. Position the hands so that your thumbs and forefingers form a triangle about four to six inches above your forehead through which you can see the ball.
  3. Position your feet about shoulder width apart, with the foot closest to the net slightly forward.
  4. Bend your knees, placing your weight onto the balls of your feet.
  5. Decide where you will set the ball. E.g. Which attacker are you going to set the ball for/to.
  6. Make contact
    • Contact with the ball should happen just above the center of your forehead.
    • Try to contact the ball with all of your fingers touching the ball. – The more contact you make with the ball, the more control you will have.
    • Do not let the ball touch your palms. ( Contacting the ball with your palms may be considered a catch – which is against the rules )
  7. Push upwards – As soon as your fingers touch the ball, straighten your arms and legs and push the ball upward in the direction of your decided on attacker.
  8. Follow through. – At the end of your set your arms should be fully extended and you should follow through with your hands by straightening your wrists.

Now that you know the basics of a set it is time to work on setting well.

How To Set A Volleyball – Detailed Guide

Setting a ball well with control depends on a lot more than just how you contact the ball and release your volley. Movement, positioning and having a plan are crucial in setting a volleyball well.


Be ready to move. While waiting for the ball to be passed, stand ready with the weight on your right foot, ready to take a step with the left. Setters usually find it easiest to wait in the back-right corner of the court and move toward the ball from there. Start from where you feel comfortable. This technique lets you face the optimal direction to set the ball to your side’s attackers.

Once you know the ball is coming to you, get there quickly so you have time to prepare for the set. Get under the ball in time to receive it in the best position possible. Remember to move to the ball, don’t wait for it to come to you. It is most efficient to run with your arms down and raise then when you are in position.

Get In Position

Once at the ball line up your feet, hips and shoulders so that they face in the direction that the ball is coming down. NB. Don’t face the direction from which the ball is coming from. Remember not to telegraph where you are going to set the ball as this makes it easy for the other teams defence to get ready. One way to do this is to orient yourself towards the left antennae while setting. This makes it difficult for your opposition to sense where you are going to set the ball by which way you may be facing.

Get Ready To Play The Ball

  • Raise your arms above your forehead with your elbows pointing to the sides.
  • Position your hands 4 – 6 inches above your forehead and make a triangular shape with your thumbs and fore fingers so you can see the ball through the triangle.
  • Relax your fingers before you make contact with the ball.
  • Spread your feet shoulder width apart with the foot closest to the net slightly forward. This will cause your hips and shoulders to rotate slightly into the court which reduces the chances of setting the ball over the net by mistake.
  • Bend your knees. Stay light on your feet so you can make subtle changes.

Set The Ball

Decide where you are going to set the ball. Which attackers are you going to aim for. Have a plan. It can be an advantage if you hide your intentions from your opponents, as this will make it harder to defend the attack.

  • Make contact – Play the ball just above the center of your forehead.
  • Make contact with all your fingers if possible. You will have more control the more contact you make with the ball.
  • Don’t let the ball touch your palms. This may be considered a catch.
  • Push upwards. As soon as you feel the ball touch your fingers, straighten your arms and legs to push the ball upward and in the direction of your attacker. Your whole body should be part of the push.
  • Try to contact the ball for as little time as possible.
  • Follow through – You should have your arms fully extended and continue to follow through with your wrists after releasing the ball. This helps with your aim and control.

After setting turn and look at the spot where you intended to set the ball in order to signal your teammates.

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