The Setter Position in Volleyball: A Complete Guide in 2024

Micah Drews


It is widely accepted that the Setter position in Volleyball is considered to be one of the hardest positions in volleyball for several reasons that can be simply put as responsibility.

It’s your responsibility to coordinate the entire offense of your team.

It’s your responsibility to make sure your spikers have a chance to kill the ball.

To get the most out of your teammates, you must control the flow of the game.

If things go wrong as a setter, you have no escape.

Despite the fact that this Volleyball Setter Position is not for the faint of heart, if you do a good job, it can be highly rewarding.

Volleyball players who love to call all the shots simply thrive on the experience.

A volleyball setter has many responsibilities and responsibilities that are important to understand, learn, and master. In this article, we’ll explore those responsibilities and learn three things that are essential to becoming a good setter.

Come on, let’s go!

Table of Contents

What does a volleyball setter do?

Setter position in Volleyball

As the team’s glue, the setter plays a vital role.

In addition to passing and digging balls, this player is responsible for setting them to the spikers every second ball.

The right-hand side of the court is where they operate. Defense will be handled from position 1, while blocking will be handled from position 2.

Setting balls from position two or three is the setter’s base position on the court – this is where they will look to place the ball.

Check out my article on volleyball positions for a more detailed explanation of these numbers.

What is a Setter in Volleyball?

Setter position in Volleyball

The Setter in volleyball uses the Set to strategize attack plays for the team. Check out our complete setter guide for more information

A setter has a number of responsibilities. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

The setters need to block

There is a good chance that setters will block depending on what rotation your team runs.

In most cases, they’ll be faced with the opposition’s outside hitter, which is why height and jumping ability are crucial for setters who rotate between the front and back courts. Learn more about How Tall Are Opposite Hitters In Volleyball?

The setter is responsible for every second ball

In order for a spiker to kill the ball, the setter must get to the second ball and create the best possible set.

In order to maximize our offensive options, it is really important for the spikers to transition into offense.

How often does the setter get the second ball?

There are times when things don’t go according to plan, and the setter may have to call for assistance when the pass is shanked so far.

Setters may pass the ball on rare occasions, in which case they definitely won’t receive the second ball.

The setter must also serve and defend

All players must serve the ball, including setters.

Before they can set the ball again, they must be able to play defense first.

When setters are in position 1, they tend to focus so much on making sure they reach the second ball that they forget to defend.

As a defense player, however, they must make the dig first, or the second ball will not be set!

The setter plans, communicates, and executes the offense of the team

In addition to the coach, the setter is also responsible for the team’s entire offensive strategy, since they are the link between passers and spikers.

Coaches are often represented on the court by setters.

At each point, spikers must be given exact instructions on what offensive plays they should run.

Their hand signals indicate the type of set they plan to give to the attackers quickly and discretely.

It is not an easy task, as you can imagine.

It is necessary for them to decide which players to set for three different attackers, to communicate with them about their options, to remember what they told each attacker, and then to make the actual decision in real-time.

In general, setters don’t pass

Typically, the setter does not participate in the serve reception, as we want them to set the second ball.

During serve-receive formations, the setter will start as close to their base position as possible, as we need our setter to be able to set at every point.

What is the importance of the setter?

Setter position in Volleyball

Among all volleyball positions, the setter volleyball position is undoubtedly the most crucial.

Despite not being the most glamorous position, the setter has a huge impact on a team’s chances of winning the game because he is involved in every play.

In volleyball, the setter is the point guard, the playmaker.

Having a good setter maximizes the efficiency of your team’s hitting

A good setter, however, will allow you to wind up and hit the ball hard, since you know exactly where it will be.

In most cases, hitting the ball harder will increase your chances of killing it and winning the point.

It takes a great setter to make a really smart setting decision, but great setters do more than that.

In other words, they can choose which spikers have the best chance of winning points at a higher rate than most other spikers.

Finding favorable matchups, spotting weak players, and discovering holes in the opponent’s defense are some of their specialties.

When the team knows who the best hitters are for each point, it will be easier to get the ball to them, which will greatly increase their hitting percentage.

Having bad setters limits your offense

The experience of playing with weak setters is not fun…

It’s all about inconsistent settings.

You will have a difficult life as a spiker if the setter cannot consistently deliver the ball to you.

Consequently, you drastically reduce your hitting percentage, reducing your chances of winning.

How Can A Good Setter Be Strong?

Volleyball Setter Position

An excellent setter on the volleyball court, a master of their craft, is a sight to behold.

In addition to being master tacticians, these athletes are some of the smartest players on the court and have a profound understanding of how the game works.

Good setters communicate well

The volleyball court is not the place for quiet and unassuming setters…

Their hitters are constantly seeking feedback on the sets they’ve made and informing them of which plays to run.

It is also essential for great setters to have constant communication with the libero, other passers, and the coaching staff in order to ensure that the best offensive decisions are made.

Good Setters Are Well-versed in Technical Skills

The skill of setting a volleyball technically isn’t easy to master.

In order to become an expert at this unintuitive movement, beginners need a while to learn it.

As well as smooth hands, setters need efficient biomechanics and perfect footwork.

Their sets aren’t telegraphed

Setting to the left side of the court can involve beginners leaning forward and shooting their hips forward or leaning backward.

The set’s direction is pretty obvious from this.

It is impossible to read a world-class setter’s signals (like Bruno in the clip above).

As far as the setter’s hands are concerned, things are consistent until they contact the ball. Then they use their wrists primarily to send the ball.

Good setters can see things that most people can’t

Excellent court awareness is a characteristic of brilliant setters.

A sixth sense allows them to know who is in position, who is lagging behind, and who needs to be targeted at any particular time.

A favorable matchup is identified by them

In order to win as many points as possible, setters must identify favorable matchups and exploit them repeatedly.

Those who are good setters will notice that their best hitter is matched up with a shorter or less experienced player, and they won’t be afraid to set them repeatedly.

A weak defender is identified by them

It is important for great setters to notice things like the speed at which the opposition middle blocker moves.

The wing spikers will communicate this to the MB as soon as they notice this and encourage them to aim for the seam.

Whenever that middle blocker is in the front row, they’ll continuously set to the pins.

In addition to knowing where the weakest players are in the back row, smart setters will also always know where the weakest players are.

The setter sets behind knowing the opposite can kill more line balls with such a weak defense in the back row because the slow middle blocker just served and is now defending out of five. You can also read our guide on How Tall Are Middle Blockers In Volleyball?

Good setters have an incredible sense of intuition

A key aspect of identifying weak defenders and advantageous matchups is to do it without even thinking about it.

In many cases, the best setters know where the ball should be placed intuitively.

The setter dump or setover are two excellent examples of deceptive moves.

There are times when setters should use the setter dump and times when they should not use it

It is often difficult for inexperienced setters to perform the setter dump with high efficiency since their intuition is lacking.

In order to catch the defenders off guard, this move is based on timing and deception.

Weak setters will dump the ball whenever they have the opportunity, but it is easily defended by stronger setters.

In order to give their spikers a better chance of killing the ball, great setters often set the obvious ‘setter dump’ setups.

Good Setters Are Fast and agile

It is often necessary for setters to chase down stray passes since they need to get to every second ball.

It is definitely an advantage for setters to be fast as speed allows them to make good quality sets on balls that slower setters would struggle to reach.

Good setters are usually tall

The order of height on a volleyball court is something like this: Setters are not the tallest players on the court, according to most volleyball players:

Libero ~> Setter ~> Outside ~> Opposite ~> Middle

The truth is, setters are actually only 2cm (0.8′′) shorter than outside hitters, though they’re still 10cm (4′′) taller than liberos on average!

A male Olympic setter is about 6’3.5″ tall, while a female setter is about 5’10”.

For someone who hardly ever hits the volleyball, this is really tall!

Offensive strategies are enriched by tall setters

In order to run more than just 6-2 offensive systems, setters often play in the front court.

Against such a team, opposition teams are less likely to be able to come up with effective counterstrategies.

A team can utilize the setter dump against certain opponents by running front-court setters.

Good setters make the team better and is an incredible leader

Setters are often team captains, which is not surprising.

While on court, they should act like a captain, even if they are not the captain.

For everyone on the court to play their roles effectively, they must take charge and command attention.

Players who set well get the most out of everyone on their team, which makes them incredibly enjoyable to play with.

It is hard to duplicate their reliability, they set hitters who are hot, they run really smart plays that make spikers’ jobs easier, and they set the hitters who are hot at the right time.

How Do Coaches Select Setters?

Volleyball Setter Position

In thinking about playing college volleyball, perhaps you would like a sports scholarship now that you know you want to be a setter.

It is possible that you will want to become a professional setter at some point.

You should understand your marketability as an athlete regardless.

Guidelines for setter recruitment

Let’s take a quick look at what scouts and coaches are paying attention to when it comes to setters.


Sports scholarships in volleyball are more dependent on height than ever before.

Having the ability to operate multiple offensive systems may be less desirable in the Volleyball Setter Position than elsewhere, but it is still highly desirable as teams seem to really like the idea of it.

Check out my full article on how tall setters should be to appeal to recruiters for a full list of height benchmarks.


In order to be considered by recruiters, you must have played a good deal of club volleyball.

In order to be considered, they’d need to have competed at a decent level for at least 2-5 years.

The most important thing is to demonstrate to them that you know what you’re doing on the court.

Ability to jump and arm-length

According to the NCSA website, the following statistics apply to women’s volleyball.

The statistics they use are always fascinating to me. If a volleyball player had a higher block jump than attack jump, that would be totally absurd, so I would be cautious when using these figures.

It looks like college setters should aim for a 320cm spike height, which I think is a reasonable benchmark. The men’s recruiting guidelines aren’t public, but they suggest a “good spike height” for college players.

The volleyball IQ test

Setters who are technically skilled are different from those who understand the nuances of the game deeply.

It’s obvious to coaches what kind of players they want to work with when they see this sort of stuff.

Setters make up the core of entire European professional teams, and the same principle applies everywhere: coaches want smart players to lead their teams.

If your decision-making ability is really on point, you can be a killer of a setter even if you’re short and nonathletic.

There are some people who just naturally excel at volleyball – or who play it a lot – based on their ‘volleyball IQ’. Some people develop it much more slowly than others.

My number one tip for rapidly developing this skill will be revealed in the next section.

Is it a good idea to be a setter?

Setter position in Volleyball

As an athlete, it’s important to understand how well-suited you are to play this setter position in volleyball if you’re considering becoming a setter.

In this article, we will take a look at a few things you can do to increase your chances of success as a setter.

Setting Attributes: Physical & Mental

The following benchmarks will dramatically improve your chances of succeeding as a setter, although there are always exceptions.

Having Pressure-resistance abilities

Is there anything you can do when the score is 25-26 and you have been playing poorly?

You’re the type of player who crumbles under pressure, aren’t you? Are you good at performing?

It is impossible to hide from that moment as a setter. The second ball has yet to be placed and you have to get it there.

Read this article to learn more about choosing the right volleyball position for you.

A good height

As a result, we know that a setter at the highest level of the game averages 6’3.5″ or 192cm in height, while a setter at the lower level averages 177cm or 5’10” in height.

The average height of college volleyball players also reflects these numbers.

The shorter you are, the more difficult it will be to become a successful volleyball setter.

Many of the best men’s setters are in the 198cm range, which is extremely tall.

Therefore I recommend a minimum height of 6’1″ (185cm) for a successful high-level men’s setter (we’re talking professional and international level here).

5’8″ or 178 cm is the height of a woman.

Please read my full article on setter height for more information on height benchmarks, how tall you need to be to qualify for a college scholarship, and examples of short-setters who succeeded.

Having quickness, agility, and jumping ability

Setting success doesn’t require this, but it can be developed over time, and it will help a lot.

You’re only going to sprint 5-10 meters max on a volleyball court, so you’ll need quick acceleration.

Logic dictates that your spikers will be able to make more effective attacks if you are able to chase and set slightly more second balls than slower setters.

Setters, especially those who are shorter, should improve their jumping ability, which I feel is an underrated aspect.

In addition to having more options, playing in the front row also means our setter shouldn’t be a liability.

In order for this to work, they must be able to block.

Due to this, a 185cm player with a 310cm block reach is considerably less valuable than a 185cm player with a 323cm block reach…

Increasing your vertical jump as a front-row setter immediately increases your blocking abilities and offensive options.

Having Skills in leadership and communication

There is probably no way to train this aspect, but again, it can be improved.

Personality plays a big role in this. Communication and leadership are usually better accomplished by extroverts.

Are you comfortable being the center of attention all the time? Are you interested in being part of every single play? Do you prefer to play your role quietly and keep your head down?

Despite that, I’ve seen some extremely quiet and shy people transform completely into on-court volleyball players!

If you’re serious about becoming a great setter, you can learn how to communicate and lead better.

Having applied & consistent technical skills

What is your skill level when it comes to setting the ball?

It’s likely that you have a decent set of hands if you want to become a setter.

Do not assume that you lack the skills to set if you are naturally a terrible setter. With enough practice and effort, setting can be a very practical skill that you can quickly improve at.

How To Become A Better Setter

Setter position in Volleyball

The setter position in volleyball has the advantage of being highly trainable in a lot of the required skills.

When it comes to volleyball, how good you become is largely determined by how hard you work.

The 20% of things that will get you 80% of the results could take up a huge amount of time, so instead, I decided to reveal the 20% that will get you 80% of the results in volleyball.

In order to become a better setter, you must put your time and effort into these four things.

Repetition is the key

The game of setting is all about numbers.

Set the ball more often than your competitors if you want to become a top setter.

Do you think they will become a better setter if they set the ball 200 times per week and you set it 400 times?

That’s really all there is to it.

Spending more time practicing and playing volleyball each week will often be necessary to meet this goal.

Befriend Someone Motivated

Try to find an equally motivated spiker to play volleyball with for a couple of hours more each week if you’re a setter looking to improve.

Setter drills such as downball to set wing (hitting lines) can be done with as few as one other player. Various locations on the court can be used to practice quicker tempo attacks.

Equipment Is Key

You should do more repetitions than your competitors. You can get more quality reps if you use the right equipment.

I highly recommend using a couple of pieces of equipment if you’re serious about improving as a setter.

A weighted volleyball is a setter’s best friend

Mikasa MGV500 Heavy Weight Volleyball

As a setter, you should use a weighted volleyball.

You can develop the strength of your hand, fingers, and wrists by playing this game.

When switching back to a regulation game ball after regularly using a weighted training ball like this, you’ll be able to set further and with greater consistency.

You can learn more about which setter training balls are most effective for what types of volleyball players in my full article.

Use a setter target net for home practice

setter target net

For those without regular access to a volleyball net, or for those who simply wish to get some extra repetitions in, there is nothing better than a setter target net.

In addition to allowing you to practice setting the sets you would in a game, these can be set up virtually anywhere around the house.

You can get feedback about your accuracy over the Internet without the need for a training partner.

You can also read my full article about the best volleyball training equipment.

Strengthen upper body explosiveness for setters

Developing strength in your arms and shoulders is one of the best ways to improve your setting consistency.

There is an element of ‘all in the wrists’ when it comes to setting.

Because junior athletes have weaker lower arm strength, they often have trouble making back sets without telegraphing their intentions.

Check out my article explaining the best exercises and lifts to develop upper body strength in setters!

You’ll be better at serving

As a setter, developing a killer jump serve is a great way to increase your value.

It is important to have both upper and lower body explosiveness (vertical jump) in order to be able to hit the ball off the case with a powerful jump serve!

Study game footage to develop volleyball IQ

On YouTube, there are hours upon hours of volleyball gameplay footage that you can watch for free.

Spend that hour watching volleyball matches instead of Haikyuu on Netflix.

It is important for you to envisage yourself as the setter, making the decisions on the court and anticipating their moves as a setter.

Every time the setter makes a play, pause the video and consider why they did so.

Research all of the players and study the rotations. In each rotation, identify all of the favorable matchups by determining who the players are and what their player rankings are.

Without ever touching a volleyball, this is probably the best way to improve your setting skill.

Is Setter A Good Position In Volleyball?

Setter position in Volleyball

There’s no doubt that it works well for some players, but it’s definitely not the right match for others.

As someone who enjoys hitting the ball a lot, it wasn’t a role that appealed to me.

The position could well be very rewarding for someone who possesses the strengths I discussed above.

Volleyball Setter Position FAQs

Does the setter serve in volleyball?

It is true that the setter must serve in volleyball. Serving is required in volleyball for all positions except sometimes for the libero.

Can setters spike the ball?

Volleyball can absolutely be spiked by setters, but only if they are located in the front court. Backcourt players can’t ‘attack’ the ball if they’re in the backcourt. When the moment calls for it, some setters will spike the second ball, especially lefthanders.

Does the setter rotate in volleyball?

There is a rotation of setters in volleyball, as there is for every other position.

Despite rotating, serve reception configurations keep the setter closest to their ‘base position’ during all rotations, which makes it appear that they don’t move much around.

Why is setting so hard in volleyball?

Beginners and advanced players alike find setting to be a very technical skill. Unlike any other sport, it’s a movement that isn’t particularly natural.

Practicing setting a lot is simply the key to becoming efficient and smooth at it.

Can setters receive a serve?

It is possible for any volleyball player to receive a serve, even the setter.

Setters rarely receive serves, because they are typically pushed up to the front of the net when receiving serves.

The setter may be forced to pass the ball if the ball dribbles over the net right in front of them.

Where does the setter stand?

It is a player’s base position to sit between positions 2 and 3 at the front of the court.

The place on the court where they can set all positions most efficiently is here.

During defense, they block from position 2 and defend from position 1 during backcourt play.

What position number is the setter in volleyball?

The setter usually starts in position 1.

What is the best way to get setter hands?

It takes thousands upon thousands of repetitions to develop good setter hands.

Setters’ hands can be developed faster by using a weighted volleyball.

What is a double in volleyball for a setter?

‘Doubles’ in volleyball refer to when the setter makes two contacts with the ball rather than one.

The other team receives the point.

After a ball leaves someone’s hands, you can usually tell if they made a double by excessive rotation.


Ultimately, volleyball’s setter position is indisputably one of its most important ones. An athlete’s ability to coordinate their eyes with their movements, to be agile, and to make decisions are critical to this sport. An excellent setter is not only a leader and a game changer but also sets the stage for successful attacks.

It’s time to get on the court and appreciate the incredible skills setters bring to volleyball now that you’ve gained a greater understanding of the position.

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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