Different Types of Attacks in Volleyball

Different Types of Attacks in Volleyball

In the volleyball game, the speed, strength and planning of the team come together. In the mix of hits, passes, and catches, the way players strike is crucial to how the game goes. The strikes in volleyball contributes a lot in the game. Therefore, it is necessary to know about them, whether you’re a professional player or enjoy watching the volleyball.

What is an Attack in Volleyball?

An attack in volleyball, often referred to as a “hit” or “spike”, is essentially a player’s move to send the ball over the net in such a manner that it either directly lands on the ground or creates a scenario where the opposing team struggles to return it effectively.

What is the Goal of the Attack in Volleyball?

While the immediate goal is to score points, the broader aim is to destabilize the opposing team’s formation, force errors, or create strategic openings that teammates can exploit in subsequent plays. By striking the ball into vulnerable spots where opponents might find challenging to defend, attackers aim to dominate the game rhythm.

When is an Attack performed in Volleyball?

When the ball is on a player’s side, they can choose to strike. But usually, they hit on the last chance before sending the ball back over. This hit is often the big moment after a series of planned moves to make the best strike.

Different Types of Attacks in Volleyball

What are the techniques of volleyball attack?

Following are the techniques of attack in the volleyball: –

Straight Hit

One of the most basic yet effective moves in volleyball. Here, the player approaches the net, leaps into the air, and sends the ball crashing straight down onto the opponent’s court. The sheer force and speed often make it challenging for defenders to react in time.

Cross-Court Shot

To adopt this technique, the precision and power is required. The player aims the ball diagonally, making it travel from their side of the net to the farthest corner on the opponent’s side.

Line Shot

An effective way to exploit open spaces, this shot is directed right down the boundary line of the court. Taking this shot is risky because it’s close to the boundary line, but if done right, it’s tough to counter.


Not every attack needs raw power. In situations where the blockers are tall and strong, or the defense is expecting a hard spike, a gentle touch or ‘tip’ over the net can be the key to placing the ball in an undefended area of the court.

Slow Hit

This trick involves changing the speed of the spike. By doing so, a player can throw off defenders expecting a strong hit, often resulting in the ball dropping without any challenge.


A dynamic and visually appealing move, the slide sees players making a lateral run to the net, taking off from one foot, and hitting the ball from a side angle.

Back Row Attack

This attack is initiated by the players standing in the back row. The challenge here is that they must jump from behind a designated line (the attack line) when spiking.

Quick Hit

Timing is of the essence with this technique. As soon as the setter sets the ball, the attacker jumps and hits it swiftly. The rapid execution leaves little time for blockers and defenders to position themselves.

What are the varieties in Attacks

Attack on the 3rd hit

The fundamental rhythm in volleyball often goes like this: first, the serve, followed by a set, culminating in the attack. This sequence plays the role of a platform to develop other team strategies.

The serve starts the play, the set positions the ball, and the attack is where the team tries to score or put the opposition under pressure. This approach has shown its effectiveness over time, becoming a preferred strategy for numerous teams.

Attack on the 2nd hit / Dump Setter

Sometimes, adding a surprise move like the “Dump Setter” can be valuable in a game. Typically, the setter’s role is to accurately position the ball for a spiker to launch an attack. However, seasoned setters occasionally choose to turn into attackers themselves.

Instead of preparing the ball for a teammate, they astutely tap or push it into a vulnerable spot on the opponent’s side. This unexpected play can catch the rival team napping, and if timed right, can lead to easy points.

Attack on the 1st hit

Taking the bull by the horns, this audacious move involves attacking the ball directly from an opponent’s serve or their return, bypassing the usual setting phase. It’s a high-risk, high-reward play. When the receiving player senses an opening or identifies a weak serve, they might opt for this immediate attack.

This unexpected move can confuse the other team. But it needs perfect timing and good understanding of the court.

The Role of Liberos in Attacks

The volleyball rules have settled some limitations for liberos for attacking. Unlike other players who can spike or smash the ball from anywhere, a libero’s hands are tied in certain situations.

They are explicitly prohibited from attempting an attack hit if, at the very moment they contact the ball, it is entirely above the top of the net. Despite these limitations, the importance of a libero cannot be understated.

Advanced Volleyball Attacks

In the arena of volleyball, experienced players bring to the court a repertoire of advanced attacking strategies. These are specifically designed to outsmart and outplay the opposition. Let’s break them down for easier understanding:

1. Quick Set Attack (or ‘One’ Attack): Imagine a fast-paced play where the ball barely lingers above the net. In this tactic, as soon as the setter gives the ball a slight lift, an attacker is already airborne, poised to strike it down. The charm of this move lies in its quickness, giving blockers hardly any time to get in place or block effectively.

2. Slide Attack: Visualize a player sprinting from behind and then, in a sweeping motion, taking off on one foot to hit the ball. Their trajectory is sideways, almost like they’re gliding.

3. Bic Attack: This strategy involves a lightning-fast hit from the back row, usually from a position right behind the center. What’s tricky here is the ball’s placement slightly behind the setter. This positioning keeps the blockers guessing, as it’s hard to anticipate where the ball will be struck.

4. Pipe Attack: This one’s a close cousin to the Bic Attack. The difference? The ball is set directly behind the setter. Despite originating from the back row, the hitter tries to dispatch the ball before the opposition can set their defense.

5. Combo Play: In this chess-like strategy, several players rush towards the net, each hinting they’ll be the one to attack. However, the setter has eyes only for one of them. The rest? They’re just there to bamboozle the defense with their decoy runs.

6. Red Set (or ‘Back One’): Think of the Quick Set Attack, but with a twist. Here, the ball is set behind the setter, introducing an element of unpredictability.

7. Tooling the Block: Sometimes, the best way forward is off your opponent. In this method, the attacker hits the ball so it bounces off the blockers’ hands and goes out.

8. Off-Speed Shot: Power is not always the answer. Occasionally, by varying the hitting speed, an attacker can throw the defense into disarray. A slower, unexpected shot can catch defenders on their heels.

9. Deep Corner Shot: It’s all about precision. Targeting the farthest corners of the court can be a goldmine, as these areas are frequently less defended. A well-placed shot here can often result in a point.

10. Roll Shot: Finally, consider a technique where the ball is gracefully lobbed over the net with an underhand motion. This parabolic shot descends suddenly, taking defenders by surprise.

What are Illegal Attacks in volleyball?

When it comes to attacks, certain actions are considered illegal.

1- Overreaching Beyond the Net

Players must be cautious when playing close to the net. If a player extends their hand or hands over it to hit the ball on the opponent’s side, it’s called ‘overreaching’. This is only allowed if they’re responding to the ball after it’s been attacked by the opponent.

2- The Restrictions of Back Row Attacks

In volleyball, players positioned at the back have their own playing area, marked by an ‘attack line’. If these back-row players jump to hit the ball from a spot ahead of this line (or even if their foot just touches the line), it’s an illegal move. However, they’re free to attack if they jump from behind this line.

3- The Unique Case of the Libero

The libero is a player known for their defensive wizardry. But when it comes to offense, they’ve got some limitations. If they make a finger-set from the front zone and a teammate then attacks the ball when it’s above net height, it’s a rule violation. Additionally, liberos must always refrain from attacking the ball when it’s entirely over the net’s top.

4- Clean Contact is Crucial

The beauty of volleyball lies in its clean strikes. Players can’t catch, throw, or lift the ball while attacking; it has to be a neat hit. If they fail to do so, it’s a wrong move and can cost them a point.

5- Mind the Space Under the Net

While it’s natural for players to sometimes step or slide their feet under the net during intense rallies, they must never disturb the play on the other side. Interfering with an opponent by reaching under the net is a clear violation.

6- Keeping Clear of the Net

During heated moments, players might accidentally touch the net, especially when trying to block or spike the ball. However, such contact, even if unintentional, is a fault. If their attack results in net contact, the opponent gets the advantage.


Each of the afore-stated attacks adds an element of strategy to the game, making it exciting for both players and spectators. When executed well, they can be game-changers, helping teams gain the upper hand over their opponents.

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