As one of the most versatile players on the court, the opposite hitter plays the most crucial role in volleyball. Offensively and defensively, they excel. They must possess numerous technical skills and have a high level of volleyball knowledge. As well as hitting balls in front and back rows, they may also dig balls on defense and set balls.
This article will discuss the duties and responsibilities of the Opposite Hitter Volleyball Position, as well as other information relevant to this position.
What Is The Opposite Hitter?
On the court, opposite hitters are among the most versatile players. As a back-row player, your job is to hit, dig, and pass the ball. Their position on the court also allows them to fill in for the setter when necessary. Having both offensive and defensive skills is crucial since they will be playing both a lot.
On the right side of the court, the opposite hitter sits in the front row. The setter’s shadow is what they are called. The opposite hitter will often be needed to set the ball if the setter passes the ball on the first hit. When the opposite hitter rotates to the back row, the opposite setter can become the second setter, not just a backup.
After the ball has been served, the player will rotate to the Opposite Hitter Volleyball Position. They should always know where they are going and be quick on their feet. As attackers and defenders, opposite hitters are among the most versatile players on the court.
You can also check all Volleyball Positions & Player Roles
History Of The Opposite Hitter
Sets and spikes were introduced to volleyball in the Philippines in 1916, and hitting positions followed. In response to the introduction of the spike and set, the three-hit rule was implemented.
During this rule, the ball can only be hit three times before it has to be re-thrown. A third hit should be made by the opposite hitter, who should swing and hit the ball over the net. On the other side, the opposite hitter often reads the court to figure out where to place the ball.
As a result of the 5-1 and 6-2 rotations, the opposite hitter position became popular because more offensive players could be added to the setter’s role. One setter is used in the 5-1 rotation, while two setters are used in the 6-2 rotation.
Traditionally, opposite hitters were referred to as right- or weak-side hitters. Right-handed hitters often had an easier time hitting from the left side of the net, which is why it was called the weak side hitter. Offside was another name for it.
Opposing Hitter’s Rules
Besides hitting, blocking, and passing, the opposite hitter is also responsible for setting the ball. Playing this position requires some rules to keep in mind in order to not give up a point. These rules are listed below.
- The opposing hitter cannot touch the net: Points will be lost if body contact is made between the antennae and the net.
- An opposing hitter cannot block a serve: An opposing hitter cannot prevent the opponent from serving the ball.
- While blocking, an opposing hitter can touch the ball beyond the net: During an attack, it is permissible for the opposite hitter to touch the ball beyond the net.
- While hitting or blocking, the opposing hitter cannot hold the ball: In order to prevent the other team from regaining the ball, the opposing hitter must not hold the ball too long when hitting and blocking.
- After the serve, the opposite hitter must switch positions with another player: If the opposite hitter switches with another front-row player, they must wait until the serve leaves the server’s hand before returning to their position.
- Under the net, the opposing hitter cannot stop: Unless part of the foot remains on the line, the opposing hitter cannot step over the midcourt line.
- The opposing hitter can block the hit and then pass the ball: They can pass the ball to another player if there is a block on their side of the net.
- In setting, the opposite hitter must follow the setter’s rules: When the opposite hitter sets the ball, he or she must follow those rules as well.
Listed above are some of the main rules opposite hitters must adhere to. These rules and more can be found at USA Volleyball.
Opposing hitter’s responsibilities and skills
As an opposite hitter in volleyball, the opposite player has many responsibilities and skills that need to be learned. We will discuss these duties and skills in this section and give a description of them.
As an opposite hitter, you have five important responsibilities that will contribute to your team’s success.
- Serve Receive/Defense
- Covering other hitters
The opposite hitter has the primary responsibility of hitting. The opposing team may be surprised by a hit from the opposite hitter because they weren’t expecting it. Because they often only face one blocker, the opposite hitter has an advantage.
As a result of all their technical training, players in this Opposite Hitter Volleyball Position usually hit the ball accurately because they know where to place it on the other side of the court. You can achieve great success with your team if you’re a good opposite hitter.
Front-row players are typically responsible for receiving and defending serves from the opposite hitter. They will assist the back row with passing during serve reception by backing off the net behind the 10-foot line.
When their team struggles to receive a serve, they can also be used as an extra defense player depending on the rotation their team is playing. As the middle and outside hitters of the opposing team hit the ball over, they are in front-row defense.
It is the opposite hitter and middle blocker’s responsibility to prevent the opposing team from hitting over the net when they are hitting from their strong side of the court.
It is important that the opposite hitter communicates to the middle blocker when he or she sees the setter giving the set to the opponent’s outside hitter. As the middle blocker comes over to help, the block will be made.
As a backup setter, the opposite hitter can also serve as the opposite hitter. Often, the pass for a set will come to them because they are right in front of the court.
To keep the ball in good offensive play, they need to understand the mechanics of setting well. If the opposite hitter rotates to the back row, he or she will most likely be the second setter.
Covering Other Players
It is probably the most important responsibility of opposite hitters to cover other players due to their well-rounded skills. Whenever things get tough on the court, you can count on them.
When needed, they serve as diggers, hitters, setters, and passers. When an opposite hitter is good, a good team can become great.
To be successful at their responsibilities, the opposite hitter needs certain skills. The following is a list of those skills.
- Excellent blocker: can get hands above the net, must block from the opposition’s strong side.
- Strong setter: equal (or almost equal) to the main setter, knows how to play the game.
- Good passer/digger: capable of passing or digging the ball up to the setter.
- Quick feet: If the ball needs to be recovered quickly, you need to have quick feet.
- Flexibility: Can hit well, pass/set well, and step in when a teammate needs assistance.
Opposing hitter drills
By practicing some drills, opposing hitters can improve their skills. They will become more consistent and improve through drills. In order to improve their game, opposite hitters can try these three drills.
The self-tossing hitting drill
Tossing the ball toward the net begins in the right-side hitting position. You should throw the ball high enough so that you can do the proper footwork for the approach. To avoid throwing the ball over the net, keep it a little off the net. Once the player takes their approach, they hit the ball. When they gain proficiency, they can practice crosscourt, down the line, and tip shots.
The Pass Hit Drill
During serve receives, the opposite hitter receives the ball from the serve server. Setter receives the ball from the player. A setter sets the ball back to the hitter (practice back sets can be done by the setter). A ball is hit over the net by the opposite hitter as he transitions to the hitting position. In this drill, you will practice transitioning from receiving the serve to hitting the ball.
On the other side of the net, someone serves as the hitter. When the hitter serves, the ball is received and he gets into position to hit.
The Blocking Drill
On the right side of the net, the player is in a blocking position. There is a coach standing in front of the blocker on a wooden box. The middle blocker comes over to help the right-side blocker when the coach slaps the side of the ball. While the two players are blocking, the coach hits the ball. Blocking the ball from coming over is the goal. By doing this drill, players will be able to improve their blocking technique and timing.
Hit the ball at the blockers with hitters on the other side. Practicing these techniques helps both hitters and blockers.
Is the opposite hitter in volleyball a good position?
The opposite hitter position in volleyball is one of my favorite positions.
In part, this is because there is not much passing involved, and I’m quite good at hitting from the right side of the court.
Once you learn how to hit back-row attacks, it becomes quite enjoyable.
Hence, the opposite can be quite a fun position for those who like hitting and blocking a lot.
The right side of the court might not be your favorite position if you struggle with hitting.
Opposite Hitter’s Equipment
Opposing hitters are required to play multiple roles and make effective plays in order to score points. Equipment plays a very important role in helping them succeed.
We share our top equipment choices for opposite hitters in this section.
Shoes that are comfortable and durable are essential for opposite hitters since they take on many roles on the court. If you plan to jump, choose shoes that have good cushioning and excellent traction on the court so you will be able to move easily. We have selected the top opposite hitter shoes below.
A great pair of shoes for the opposite hitter is the Asics Gel-Rocket 10. A cushioned and shock-absorbing surface helps the opposite hitter jump higher. These shoes have a gel cushioning system on the rear and forefoot to provide shock absorption and support.
Flexible upper construction allows players to bend their feet more naturally, allowing them to move more freely. Using Trusstic System Technology, the shoe’s middle section is reinforced, so it’s lighter while maintaining durability. All sides of the shoes are equipped with traction, which allows the player to move more freely.
In addition to being affordable, the Asics Gel-Rocket 10 shoes are made from high-quality materials. Their prices are often the same as or lower than other brands of volleyball shoes, and they offer specific features for volleyball.
- Shock Absorption
- Comfortable gel cushioning
- A flexible upper construction allows for a more natural bend
- Volleyball-specific features
For the opposite hitter, knee pads are essential. As one of the front-row players who play defense most often, it is imperative to have a good pair of knee pads. Comfortable, durable, and protective knee pads are the best choice. Here are our top picks for the best knee pads for opposite hitters.
It delivers the right amount of comfort, protection, and durability to opposite hitters with the Mizuno LR6 Knee Pads. As you dig and slide for a volleyball, these knee pads absorb the shock so that the knees do not suffer injuries.
It is no surprise Mizuno has made high-quality knee pads for years since they are one of the leading volleyball equipment manufacturers. It feels like you aren’t wearing these knee pads at all, according to players who have worn them.
- Injuries are prevented
- High-impact padding
- The right amount of coverage
- Movement freedom
Nike Vapor Volleyball Knee Pads are another top choice for knee pads. Wearing these knee pads is comfortable due to their breathable material. Besides the dual-layer gel cushion, there is also a cushion that protects against injuries. A higher price tag comes with these knee pads, but they are extremely nice.
You can also read How To Wear Volleyball Knee Pads?
Do I need to be an opposing hitter?
This Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball is a lot of fun to play, but it won’t suit most volleyballers, since it requires a fairly rare set of physical attributes.
Physical Attributes Of An Opposite Hitter
It is a very physically demanding position, so if you want to succeed at the highest level in this role, you need to fit the bill.
We know that an opposite hitter in the highest level of the game is on average 6’8.5″ tall, or 204.5cm, while a female is on average 187cm tall, or 6’1″.
A college volleyball player’s average height reflects these numbers as well.
It follows then that 99.9% of the population has a poor chance of succeeding as opposite hitters at the highest levels.
When you’re playing the position recreationally or at a lower level, it is definitely possible to be shorter, but it is still a position that demands taller players.
I wrote a full article on opposite hitter height that offers details on height benchmarks, scholarships for opposites, and tips on how to excel as a shorter opposite.
Left-handedness Is Great
The ability to hit opposite-handed is a huge advantage for an opposite hitter.
In other words, the ball doesn’t have to travel across your entire body before it reaches your hitting window.
It’s the same reason that right-handed players usually feel more comfortable hitting from the left side.
It is important in this role to be really tall, even if it is a plus to be left-handed.
Even though being a lefty can be beneficial, it isn’t mandatory to be one. The top 5 opposite hitters in the world are all right-handed.
Ability to jump and athleticism
Being tall and lanky isn’t enough for the opposite position. Jumping and hitting the ball hard are also important skills.
When you improve your vertical jump, you immediately improve your blocking and spiking capabilities, which will make up for your lack of height!
Find out how to choose the right volleyball position for you in this article if you’re still unsure whether the opposite hitter is the right position for you.
Famous Opposite Hitters in Volleyball
A volleyball opposite hitter with a variety of volleyball skills and techniques is an asset to any team. Players who have mastered this Opposite Hitter Volleyball Position are few and far between. This section discusses some famous opposite hitters who have excelled in their field.
The United States of America won the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics thanks to opposite hitter Annie Drews. A number of awards have been given to her during her career, including Most Valuable Player and best opposite hitter.
In addition to Puerto Rico, Italy, Turkey, and Japan, she has played professionally.
In 2008, Annie started playing club volleyball after being born on Christmas day in 1993. In Mishawaka, Indiana, Penn High School was her high school where she won two state championships. Her hitting ability made her known as “The monster of the Big Ten” when she played for Purdue University. Derek, her brother, and Erin, her sister, are her siblings.
In addition to cooking, walking, playing games, and exploring new cities, Annie enjoys walking and exploring new places. Tanner Schumacher married her in 2021.
American Olympian Matt Anderson has competed in three Olympics for the United States of America. During the 2016 Rio Olympics, he won a bronze medal with his team. In 2012, he took fifth place and in 2020, he took tenth place.
The USA national team has been led by Matt since he joined in 2011. The opposite hitter position has been his primary position since 2013 and he continues to play it to this day.
He starred for Penn State during college but left Penn State as a junior to play professionally for Korea’s Hyundai Skywalkers. It was a good season for the Skywalkers during which he helped them claim first place in the regular season, but they ended up losing the championship game.
Numerous awards have been bestowed upon him, including Most Valuable Player and Best Opposite Hitter.
His parents, Nancy and Michael Anderson gave birth to him in 1987. He lost his father to a heart attack in 2010. Four of his siblings are sisters, three are brothers, and one is a son. Jamie Gillum, a son of his marriage to Jackie Gillum, was born in 2020.
As a way to honor his nephew Tristan, who has autism, he organizes a volleyball tournament every year.
During the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Jordan Thompson played opposite hitter for the USA Women’s Volleyball Team. She and her team won a gold medal. Since joining the USA national team in 2019, Jordan has set numerous records during her college years.
A record 827 kills and 6.27 kills per set were set in her 2018 season with the University of Cincinnati. The NCAA record was broken here. As of 2020, she has been working professionally in Turkey.
Mary Thompson and Tyrone Doleman gave birth to Jordan in 1997. The sports gene runs deep in her family: both her father and uncle played professional basketball overseas. As a middle schooler, she played basketball.
However, she found it uninteresting, so she took up volleyball. Her high school and college players of the Year award shows that this is the sport for her.
Max Mikhaylov represents the country of Russia as an opposite hitter. It was he who was named the best opposing spiker in the Russian team’s silver medal-winning performance in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he won a bronze medal, and in the 2012 London Olympics, he won a gold medal. A medal was not awarded to him during the 2015 Rio Olympics. Aside from winning Best Opposite Spiker, he also won Best Scorer, Best Blocker, Best Server, and Most Valuable Player awards.
A native of Russia’s Leningrad Region, Maxim was born in 1988. During his time at the school, Valery Besprozvannykh taught him volleyball. His team was from Yaroslavl, Russia, which he played for from 2003 – 2010.
Since 2010, he has been playing for Zenit Kazan, a professional club team. The couple has one son, Nikita, and he is married to Anastasia.
How Do Coaches Pick Opposing Hitters?
Now that you’ve decided to play the opposite, perhaps you’d like to play college volleyball on a scholarship and want to pursue that career path.
Eventually, you might want to play opposite hitter professionally…
As an athlete, you must understand your marketability.
Guidelines for recruiting opposing hitters
Check out what opposing hitters are paying attention to according to scouts and coaches.
Ability to jump & arm length
Based on the NCSA website, the following numbers pertain to women’s volleyball.
|Skill||College Average||80% of College Athletes|
|Attack Jump||Standing to Reach||9’7″|
There is always some uncertainty as to the accuracy of these numbers because block jumps and attack jumps shouldn’t be the same height, so take the above with a grain of salt.
It’s not known what the men’s recruiting guidelines are, but I think a 345cm spike height would represent a good starting point for an opposite who wants to play for a D1 school.
When you finish college, you want to have a height of at least 350cm.
It would also be helpful if the block reached 335 cm or more.
Several high-level opposites I’ve trained with and the benchmarks of our national program in Australia provide the basis for these numbers.
Sports scholarships in volleyball are more dependent on height than ever before.
Considering the reasons I’ve discussed above, height is especially important for opposite hitters.
To see a full list of how tall opposite hitters should be to appeal to recruiters, see my article on how tall opposite hitters should be.
The recruiters will take into account your club volleyball experience.
They’re looking for at least two to five years of decent-level competition.
Your main goal is to prove that you are capable of handling the court situation.
How To Be A Better Opposite Hitter
You have to become more of the characteristics that define a great opposite hitter in order to become a better opposite hitter.
Spiker, blocker, and spiker who is physically and athletically gifted.
To simplify things, let’s talk about the 20% of things that will yield 80% of the results.
As an opposite hitter, the following four things are by far the most important things to focus on.
1. Hit the ball more (right side)
A player’s ability to hit the ball well is part of the equation to determine the opposite hitter’s success.
Do you want to improve your hitting skills? Increase your ball-hitting rate.
That’s all there is to it.
Get your setter on the court for extra practice each week by partnering with them.
A blocker would be ideal to help you hit while you are blocking.
You can alternate between the two of you.
Be deliberate and highly focused here too, rather than just going through the motions.
Plan your strategy. It might look like this.
- Down the line, hit 5 sharp balls.
- At the back right corner, hit 15 balls.
- Across the court, hit 5 sharp balls.
- At the back left corner, hit 15 balls.
Never let anything get blocked if you have a blocker.
You might hit 5-15 balls high off the block’s hands as part of your plan.
More hitting repetitions are not an excuse.
A net, a setter, and another hitter/blocker who is also motivated to improve are all you need.
2. Get a higher vertical jump
Even if you are not as tall as you would like to be, you should be able to jump as a right-side hitter.
Among you, some are naturally springy and gifted; for the most part, we aren’t.
Increasing the spike height of your spikes should be the primary objective of your strength and conditioning routine.
Women should aim for 320cm spike height in order to play volleyball internationally, and male opposite hitters should aim for 350cm spike height.
The upper body must also be trained so you can hit the ball harder!
3. Practicing the back row attack
It is highly likely that you will hit more from the back row than any other position as an opposite hitter.
As a back-row attacker, you should master the D ball, which is an attack from the left/right side of the court.
You should make sure you’re not just practicing from the front/right side when you’re hitting drills, but that your setter also sets you plenty of back-row attacks so you can really practice this shot.
Hit only into the back meter of the court by making a nice high contact with the ball.
4. Master the jump serve
Your physical configuration makes you the perfect opposite hitter for top spin jump serves.
The best jump server is usually someone who is tall and powerful, like a middle blocker or opposite hitter.
Because they are able to contact the ball higher and harder than everyone else, they are able to win.
Practicing that jump serve once a week may one day turn it into one of your game’s strongest aspects, winning you countless matches.
On the volleyball court, this will significantly improve your value.
Opposite Hitter FAQs
What is the role of the opposite hitter?
Opposing hitters, also called right-side hitters, excel on offense and defense, making them the most versatile players on the team. When the setter needs help setting the ball, they set the ball on the right side of the net, dig it when it is hit over from the other side, and hit the ball on the right side of the net.
Where is the opposite hitter’s position on the court?
During offensive play, the opposite hitter sits at the right front of the net. Defensively, the opposite hitter is positioned behind the 10-foot line on the right side of the court.
Does the opposite hitter get a lot of sets?
Outside hitters typically get more sets than opposite hitters. Setters often have to make back sets to opposite hitters since it is difficult to set them. In addition to covering for the setter, they dig the ball, so they have a harder time hitting the ball.
Do opposite hitters block?
The opposing team’s outside hitter must be blocked on the right side of the net by the opposing hitter. The middle hitters on opposing teams are often helped by these players to block in the middle of the net.
Should I play opposite or outside hitter?
Your answer will depend on your height, your right or left-handedness, your passing skills, and a few other factors.
Check out my article on choosing volleyball positions.
Is the opposite hitter similar to the outside hitter?
In the same way that the outside hitter gets sets to hit, the opposite hitter must be a good jumper. In both positions, the opposite hitter is expected to play more defensively.
One of the most versatile players on the team is the opposite hitter. In addition to offensive play, they are also responsible for defensive play. An opposite hitter performs many responsibilities during a volleyball match, including setting, passing, and hitting. Every play on the court must be observed by this player.
You should practice opposite hitter as much as possible if you want to become one. In addition to watching opposite hitters play the position and practicing the drills mentioned above, it is a good idea to practice some of them on your own.
you can also read Hardest To Easiest Positions In Volleyball