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Volleyball Glossary & Terms

Volleyball Glossary

  • Ace: A botched serve after which the opponent is awarded a point.
  • Antenna: Vertical rods mounted above the sidelines and close to the edges of the net, and usually used for indoor courts.
  • Approach: Moving quickly toward the net or ball in an attempt to make a play.
  • Assist: Helping a teammate set up a kill.
  • Attack Block: A receiver's attempt to block a spiked ball.
  • Attack Error: An attack botched in one of five ways: It lands out of bounds, the ball goes into the net, the opponent blocks the ball, the attacker commits a center violation, or the attacker illegally contacts the ball.
  • Attack Line: Also called "the 10-foot line"; the line that divides the front row players from the back row players.
  • Attack: The offensive act of hitting the volleyball.
  • Attacker: Also called "hitter" or "spiker". An offensive player who tries to hit the ball to end a play and ultimately earn a point for his team.
  • Back Court: The space from the end line to the attack line.
  • Back Row Attack: A back row player attacks the ball.
  • Back Set: A set delivered from behind the setter to an attacker.
  • Beach Dig: Also called "deep dish", a method of receiving the ball open-handed.
  • Block Assist: Two or more teammates help block a spiked ball.
  • Block: A defense play by teammates intended to keep a spiked ball in the offense court.
  • Bump/Bump Pass: To pass the ball using locked forearms.
  • Campfire/Campfire Defense: Two or more players surround a ball that lands on the floor.
  • Carry: A botched pass involving prolonged contact with the ball.
  • Centerline Violation: Crossing the centerline and entering the opponent's half.
  • Centerline: The floor line running the length of the net that divides the court in half.
  • Chester: A hit to the chest.
  • Closing the Block: Teammates close the space between two blockers to prevent the ball from passing between them.
  • Coach Kill: The opponent fouls immediately after the coach calls a time out or substitution.
  • Cover the Hitter: Attacking players surround a spiker to protect opponent rebounds.
  • Cross Court Shot: An attack delivered at an angle across the court from one side of the net to the other.
  • Cut Shot: A spike delivered at a sharp angle across the net.
  • Decoy: An offensive play set up to disguise the receiving spiker.
  • Deep Dish: Also called "beach dig"; to receive the ball open-handed.
  • Deep Set: A set hit away from the net in an effort to throw off blockers.
  • Dig: Diving deep to pass a spiked or fast-moving ball close to the floor.
  • Dink: A one-handed move gently around blockers using the fingertips.
  • Double Block: Two players working in tandem to deflect a ball hit close to the net.
  • Double Hit: Two or more hits in a row by the same player.
  • Double Quick: Two hitters quickly approach the setter.
  • Doubles: Most commonly played on sand, a game involving two players per team.
  • Down Ball: A defense call on a ball hit overhand so far from the net that the defense choose not to block it.
  • Dump: A soft hit near the net, as opposed to a spike, intended to throw off the offense.
  • Facial: Also called "six-pack"; a blocker gets hit in the head or face by the spiker.
  • Fish: A player who gets hung up in the net.
  • Five-one: A six-player team that involves five hitters and one setter.
  • Five-set: Also called "red set"; the back row sets a play to the right front player.
  • Flare: A strategic move from the inside out designed to fake the opponent. A teammate runs a deceptive play, then the attacker quickly moves from the inside to attack on the outside.
  • Floater: A served ball with no spin.
  • Forearm Pass: Or simply "pass", a play made with the inside forearms locked at the wrists.
  • Foul: Rule violation.
  • Four Set: Also called "shoot set"; a set one foot from the sideline and one to two feet from above the net for the outside hitter.
  • Four Two: Six-player team using four hitters and two setters.
  • Free Ball: A ball returned on a pass and not on a spike.
  • Free Ball: A gentle return of the ball by the opponent.
  • Free Zone: Area outside the boundaries of the court.
  • Free Zone: Area outside the court boundaries.
  • Friendly Fire: A light blow to the head with a serve.
  • Front Slide: Sliding into position in front of the setter.
  • Front: The front net position to block the attacker.
  • Heat: A very hard spike.
  • Held Ball: A ball resting in a player's arms or hands resulting in a foul.
  • Hit: A jump strike of the ball with the palm of the hand.
  • Hitter: The "spiker" or "attacker".
  • Hitting Percentage: Total kills minus total attack errors divided by the number of attempts.
  • Husband-and-wife Play: Slang phrase referring to a ball that drops between two players who fail to communicate.
  • Inside Shoot: A strategic play in which the attacker feigns a quick hit for a medium-height hit.
  • Isolation Play: A play intended to pit the attacker on a specific defender.
  • Jedi Defense: Slang for a surprisingly powerful pass pulled off by an immobile defender.
  • Joust: Opposing players volley the ball above the plane of the net.
  • Jump Serve: A jump spike of the ball by the server.
  • Jungle Ball: An informal game involving people unapprised of the rules.
  • Key: Predicting the opponent's next move, based on play patterns.
  • Kill: A hit immediately resulting in a point or out.
  • Kong: A one-handed block so-named after the infamous King Kong's moves.
  • Let Serve: A net serve. Playable if it makes it over the net, dead if not.
  • Line Serve: A straight serve landing on the opponent's left sideline.
  • Line Shot: A spiked shot landing on the opponent's sideline.
  • Line: A straight sideline attack.
  • Lollipop: A gentle serve often resulting in getting "licked".
  • Middle Back: The back row middle player assigned to cover deep spikes.
  • Middle Blocker: The front row middle player assigned to block close-net spikes.
  • Middle Up: The back row middle player assigned to cover dinks and short shots.
  • Middle: The middle front or back player.
  • Mintonette: The original name for the game of volleyball, given by William G. Morgan.
  • Monument Valley: Space between two, tall, non-defending players.
  • Multiple Offense: The use of multiple sets.
  • Net Violation: A part of the uniform or body illegally contacts the net.
  • Off-speed Hit: A low-impact spike with a spin.
  • Offside Block: The net player opposite the attacker side.
  • Outside Hitter: A right or left-front attacker that approaches the ball from the outside.
  • Overhand Pass: An open-handed pass made from above the forehead.
  • Overhand Serve: Serving the ball with the palm of the hand above the shoulder.
  • Overlap: The rotation positions of players before the serve.
  • Paint Brush: A player attempts to strike the ball but instead brushes it.
  • Pancake: A bounce off the back of the hand by a player who dives to the floor to save the ball.
  • Pass: Also called "forearm pass"; a play using the underside of the forearms connected at the wrists.
  • Penetration: A block in which the player reaches across and breaks the plane of the net.
  • Pepper: A drill in which two players pass, set, and volley the ball.
  • Point of Service: An "ace", or point-winning serve.
  • Power Alley: A powerful hit that travels across the court.
  • Power Tip: A powerful push or control of the ball by the attackers.
  • Power Volleyball: A competitive method originating with the Japanese.
  • Prince: Also called "whale" or "Princess of Whales"; a flippant player who always hits the ball with as much power as possible with little regard for strategy.
  • Quick Set: An above-the-net strategy in which the hitter anticipates the setter's play and is in the air before the set is executed.
  • Rainbow: An arc-shaped shot.
  • Ready Position: A player's neutral, alert stance prior to moving on the ball.
  • Reception Error: A botched receive that could have otherwise been returned.
  • Red Card: The final penalty given by an official after two yellow card warnings, which could result in a player's or team's disqualification from the game.
  • Redwood: A tall, somewhat uncoordinated blocker.
  • Roll: Quick return of a close-to-the-floor ball whereby the digger or passer rolls the ball over his arms, back or shoulders.
  • Roof: A spike block that deflects the ball directly to the floor.
  • Rotation: The clockwise movement of players around the court after a side out.
  • Screening: Illegal obstruction of an opposing server's field of vision.
  • Serve: To set the ball in play.
  • Server: The player who sets the ball in play.
  • Service Ace: A serve that bounces off the floor or is struck by the passer so that a second hit is not possible.
  • Service Error: A serve in which the ball hits or fails to clear the net, the ball goes out of bounds, or the server faults.
  • Service Winner: The serving team earns a point directly after having served the ball.
  • Set: Strategic passes among players intent to direct the ball to a spike.
  • Setter: The second of three players in a series passes, who sets the ball up with an overhand pass to a hitter.
  • Shank: An extremely botched pass.
  • Side Out: The receiving team is given the serve because the serving team commits an error.
  • Six-pack: A spiked ball hits the blocker in the face or head.
  • Six-two: An offense using six players and two setters opposite each other on rotation.
  • Sizzle the Pits: A spike that whizzes past players' raised arms.
  • Sky Ball: An underhand serve that sends the ball high over the net and straight down.
  • Spike: A strike with intent to kill the ball on the opponent's side.
  • Strong Side: A right-handed hit from the left front row, and visa versa.
  • Stuff: Slang for "block", a hit deflected by blockers back to the attacker's court.
  • Tandem: A play intended to surprise blockers wherein a player directly behind another attacks the ball.
  • Tip: Control of the ball with the fingers, also called "dink" or "dump".
  • Tool: A "wipe" or hit that bounces off blockers' arms and out of bounds.
  • Trap Set: A low, tight set close to the net.
  • Tuna: A net violation.
  • Turning In: The outside blocker turns his body in toward the court in order to deflect the ball inbounds.
  • Underhand Serve: A serving style in which the ball is lightly tossed into the air and struck with closed fist turned up.
  • Weak Side: A right-handed player plays from the right front side of the court, and visa versa.
  • Whale: Also called "princess" or "prince; swinging carelessly at the ball without any regard to strategy.
  • Wipe: Also called "tool", a deliberate hit of the ball off a blocker's arms and out of bounds.
  • Yellow Card: A warning of misconduct given by an official to a player. Two yellow cards is an automatic red card, in which a player or team is disqualified from the game.