Best Volleyball Positions For Short Players

Micah Drews


Having a tall frame is one of the benefits of playing volleyball. It really helps. In spite of this, not every position on the court requires an enormous human being.

Among the best volleyball positions for short players are libero, occasional setter, and outside hitter. As a first step, we will determine exactly how much of a disadvantage being short is in volleyball, and then explain the roles that are best suited to short players.

Here are some tips for short players on how to be more valuable on the volleyball court.

Best volleyball positions for short players

Best Volleyball Positions For Short Players

Defensive specialist

The defensive specialist digs and defends against enemy attacks in the same way that the libero does. Using agility and anticipation to anticipate and react to incoming shots, short players can thrive in this role. 

Keeping the ball alive and transitioning into offense are crucial tasks for defensive specialists.

Outside hitter

Short individuals with exceptional jumping skills and precise hitting technique can also excel at the outside hitter position, which is traditionally dominated by taller players.

 With their agility and speed, short outside hitters can find gaps in the opponent’s defense and outmaneuver blockers. The smaller size of their bodies can also make them difficult targets for opposing blockers.


Short players are well suited to the libero position. Defenders are responsible for digging, passing, and defending against attacks from opponents. 

They are primarily responsible for keeping the ball in play, so quick reflexes and agility are essential. As a result of their low center of gravity and rapid movements, short players are ideal libero candidates.


Short players can excel in this position with their exceptional agility and precise ball-handling skills, even though setters are often taller. The setter plays an essential role in orchestrating the offense, making quick decisions and distributing the ball accurately. 

Their low center of gravity allows them to move quickly around the court and set up scoring opportunities for their teammates.

Can You Play Volleyball If You’re Short?

Best Volleyball Positions For Short Players

There is no law that says you can’t play volleyball if you’re short.

Although I’m sure you are aware of this, I want to emphasize right now that even a shorter athlete can succeed at the top of the sport!

There are some really short athletes who have played every other position on the court, so there’s no reason you can’t as well!

However, you need to understand that becoming a professional or Olympic athlete in this sport just became exponentially more difficult.

How Short Is Too Short For Volleyball?

The only way to become a volleyball player if you’re very short is to become an exceptional libero.

Social volleyball players can probably play whatever position they want, but serious volleyball players will be limited in what positions they can play without hurting their team’s chances.

The Best Positions In Volleyball

You should definitely consider the libero position as your top priority.

Become A Libero

Liberos can only play in the back row and cannot spike the ball. My short stature is punishing me in this way.

I’m just kidding.

A strong defense/serve-reception is necessary for a strong offense, so the libero is a very crucial position.

In order to be an effective libero, they must be able to pass well, dig even better, and therefore must be very agile.

These responsibilities don’t really take height into account.

Do Liberos Need To Be Short?

It’s not true that liberos are short.

The way they appear on TV is because they are standing on a floor full of giants.

Generally, they are quite tall.

In general, liberos tend to be taller than average men, measuring 185cm on average.

It would probably be better for you to be a little shorter if you’re considering becoming a libero!

Do You Want To Be A Professional in Libero?

Short athletes have little hope of making volleyball their career unless they are exceptional liberos.

Libero just so happens to be the most difficult position for professionals to break into.

Competition is fiercer, contract sizes are smaller, and opportunities are fewer.

However, you need to be the best to succeed!

Find out why it is hard for professional liberos in my full article explaining how much professional volleyball players get paid.

You may enjoy reading Hardest To Easiest Positions In Volleyball

Can A Volleyball Setter Be Short?

Best Volleyball Positions For Short Players

The level of volleyball you aspire to play really impacts this decision.

As a setter, you can certainly be short if you’re just playing social/club volleyball.

It is becoming increasingly rare to see short setters in the big leagues.

In setting, height becomes increasingly important as you progress in level.

There is an average difference of 4 inches (10 cm) in height between Olympic setters and liberos on their team.

In this position, being 5’8″ and being 6′ means a lot of difference.

Nevertheless, Matlás Sanchez from the Argentina national team is a professional setter at only 5’8″ (173 cm), so it is certainly possible!

It will probably be ten times harder to make it as a short setter than it is to make it as a libero.

Can I Be An Outside Hitter If I’m Short?

You can do that.

The only requirement is that you jump ridiculously high!

A male Olympic outside hitter is on average almost six and a half feet tall! Jumping is one of their specialties!

It’s either you have freakish jumping ability or you won’t be able to play this high level if you’re considerably shorter.

Emulate Mireya Luis

Approximately 10 years ago, Meriya Luis of Cuba had the highest spike height of any women’s volleyball player in the world at 339 cm.

It’s even more amazing because she wasn’t taller than the current average Olympic outside hitter of 175cm (5’9″)!

Despite her height, Mireya made the most of what she had to offer as an athlete.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to jump as high as she did, but try to get as close as you can!

There are plenty more examples of short outside hitters who succeeded in that article.

You may enjoy reading Volleyball Setter Workouts

What Volleyball Skills I Need to learn If I’m Short?

Best Volleyball Positions For Short Players

Passing and digging are important skills to have if you want to be a libero.

Additionally, you’ll need to set the ball occasionally, so you should practice setting.

Working on your vertical jump is extremely important if you want to play setter or outside hitter!

It’s an inevitability.

How Do You Spike When You’re Short?

Spikes with a low height need to be placed more carefully depending on the spike height.

Whenever there’s a block, you should practice hitting the fingertips and going high off the hands since there’s little chance of you hitting over it.

In case your spike height prevents you from hitting sharp cross court angles, you should focus more on hitting the ball into the back corners of the court.

How Do You Block When You’re Short?

You can’t really do much out of the ordinary here, technically speaking.

You can try swing blocking as much as possible and pray they don’t set the ball to your 205cm opponent!

As long as you can jump high, you should be fine!

Advantages of short players in volleyball

Volleyball players who are short have unique advantages that can have significant impacts on the game:

Quick reflexes

Players who are short often have faster reaction times, which allows them to anticipate and react more quickly to the ball.

Low center of gravity

Short players can move around the court more easily because their center of gravity is lower.

Agility in defense

The ability to move quickly and to position accurately is crucial for short players to succeed in defensive positions.

Tips for short players to excel in volleyball

Here are some tips for short volleyball players to maximize their potential:

Work on technique and precision

Develop precision and accuracy in fundamental skills such as passing, setting, and hitting.

Focus on positioning and anticipation

Identify the opponent’s moves and position yourself strategically to make effective plays.

In volleyball, good communication skills are crucial, especially for short players who have to coordinate with teammates and react quickly to changing situations.

Can short people be good at volleyball?

Best Volleyball Positions For Short Players

A player’s height is often considered a determining factor in volleyball success, but it’s not the only one. With proper training and practice, short volleyball players can become great athletes.

The quickness and agility of shorter players are often superior to those of taller players, for example. In addition, their smaller stature may make them better ball controllers, making them ideal for positions like libero and defensive specialist.

By using proper technique and speed, shorter players can also develop strong jump serves and hits. Some of volleyball’s best hitters were not even tall!

Hence, short people can excel at volleyball despite their short stature. If you work hard and dedicate yourself to improving your skills, regardless of your height, you will be able to perform well on the court.

Is it better to be tall or short in volleyball?

The issue of whether tall players or short players are better is one of the most debated topics in volleyball. However, the answer isn’t that straightforward.

Since tall players are able to reach higher than shorter players, they have an advantage when blocking and hitting. You do not have to be tall to be a great player. It is also possible for shorter players to have advantages.

Players who are shorter tend to be faster and more agile on the court during play, which allows them to cover more ground. Moreover, their lower center of gravity makes passing and digging balls easier due to better ball control.

The ability to play volleyball well is more dependent on skill level than on height alone. Even a taller, less experienced player will be outplayed by a skilled short player.


Can short players be effective blockers in volleyball?

Blocking can be challenging for short players due to their height, but good timing, technique, and positioning can help them compensate.

What are some drills to improve agility for short volleyball players?

Short players can enhance their agility and quickness on the court with agility ladder drills, cone drills, and plyometric exercises.

Is it possible for short players to play as middle blockers?

The position of middle blocker is typically occupied by taller players, but short players with exceptional jumping ability can succeed as middle blockers.

Do short players have a disadvantage when serving in volleyball?

Short players can excel with proper training and practice if they focus on technique and precision rather than sheer height.

How can short players overcome challenges in reaching high sets or spikes?

For volleyball players who are short, improving their vertical jump and hitting technique can allow them to effectively reach high spikes or sets.


Having a short stature as a volleyball player, even though it is a severe handicap, is not a death sentence if your goal is to play with the best.

The best option is to be a libero, followed by a setter or an outside hitter.

The best advice I can give to short volleyball players who do not want to become liberos is to concentrate all your energy on improving their vertical jump.

Volleyball success may depend on your ability to jump high!

You may enjoy reading Volleyball Setter Hand Signals

About Micah Drews

After playing volleyball at an international level for several years, I now work out and write for Volleyball Blaze. Creating unique and insightful perspectives through my experience and knowledge is one of my top priorities.

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