In 2023, I wanted to make sure that the best outside hitters from the past remain relevant to volleyball.
I’ve compiled a list of the world’s best outside hitters in volleyball based on what I believe to be current trends.
Based on historical/career performance and current performance, this list has been compiled.
My list includes only players who play professionally in Italy. There is more or less a coincidence here, but it reflects the quality of play in that league.
Let’s get started!
Top Outside Hitters in the Volleyball World
1. Wilfredo Leon
It is possible that this guy will go down in history as one of the greatest volleyball players in history.
A 28-year-old Cuban-Polish football player for Sir Safety in Perugia, Italy, he is 201cm (6’7′′) tall.
I don’t even know where to begin with this guy…
As I write this, Leon is so far ahead of everyone else in 2022 that it’s almost unfair!
In addition to two best server awards, he has been named best scorer, best outside hitter, and MVP.
This guy is so much younger than the other top 5 players! It’s frightening to think about it.
From a historical perspective, he is already the greatest outside hitter ever.
The 2022 season appears to be one of his best.
The volleyball equivalent of Lebron James is Leon. It is definitely worth watching this athlete.
2. Osmany Juantorena
Juantorena, who was born in Cuba, has played for the Italian and Cuban national teams. He is one of volleyball’s top outside hitters.
In addition to being 36 years old, 200cm tall, and possessing an incredible 370cm spike reach, Osmany is a physical force like no other outside player in the history of the game.
He won best spiker, best outside hitter, and MVP awards during the 2019/20 season.
In 2020/21, he won another MVP award and was named best outside hitter.
As far as recent accolades go, Osmany Juantorena played in the final of the Club World Championship this year.
The Italian player Juantorena has enjoyed a long and successful career with Volley Lube since 2015.
Simply put, this guy has been the most impressive volleyball player for a long time.
3. Matey Kaziyski
In my opinion, Matey Kaziyski is one of the greatest volleyball players of all time.
Matey is a Bulgarian professional volleyball player, 37 years old and 203 cm (6’8″) tall, making him one of the oldest players still competing.
With a spike height of 390cm, this man is defying both physics and logic!
It is truly remarkable that a 37-year-old man can crush guys almost half his age and still be as athletic as most guys on the court.
As a result of his stellar performances in both the Italian Cup and Supercup this season, he was awarded the MVP award, proving that he is no longer a washed-up player!
For years to come, I hope we’ll see him continue to kill it for Trentino Volley in Italy!
4. Earvin N’Gapeth
As a member of the France team that won the first-ever Olympic championship in Tokyo, Earvin is of Cameroonian descent and a French national.
Additionally, N’Gapeth won the MVP award and was voted best outside hitter!
The performance he put on during the Olympic games was everything that young volleyballers dream of!
The 31-year-old Earvin plays volleyball for Modena Volley in Italy, where he is 194cm (6’4″) tall.
Although N’Gapeth has had an average start to 2022, his performance at the Olympics makes up for it!
Around the time of his 2015 Italian season, Earvin had become a dominant force in the sport.
Five best outside hitter awards and three MVPs were won by this player between 2014 and 2016.
It’s simply amazing.
Volleyball has seen some of the greatest outside hitters in its history, including Earvin whose clubs include Modena Volley in Italy and Zenit Kazan in Russia.
His performance in the Russian Superleague in 2020/21 also earned him another award for best outside hitter.
You should keep an eye on this player if you are an outside hitter.
5. Yoandy Leal
A Cuban national who turned his citizenship to Brazil, Yoandy has been one of the best outside hitters for quite some time.
A 33-year-old volleyball player from Modena Volley in Italy, he is 201cm (6’7″) tall.
Leal is one of those gifted players who are not only tall but can jump out of the gym too, known for his ferocious athleticism and 371cm spike reach.
The 2021 Nations League voted him the best outside hitter, proving he is still relevant in 2022, despite a relatively uneventful season to date.
The reason Yoandy Leal is on my list is that he absolutely dominated everything he did in the 2016/17 season.
On his Instagram (@yoandyleal), Leal reflected on the season he claimed two Best Outside Hitter awards, the Best Spiker award, and MVP honors.
Isn’t that impressive in and of itself? Except for the following season, he essentially did the same thing!
Also, read Are Running Shoes Good For Volleyball?
Best Outside Hitter in Women’s Volleyball in 2023
I had a hard time picking because both of the best outside hitters of all time are outside hitters!
In the history of women’s volleyball, Kim Yeon-koung has been one of the most dominant players.
Currently playing for Shanghai Bright Ubest in China, the 34-year-old is 192cm (6’3.5″) tall.
As China’s Zhu Ting deals with injury, Kim is stepping back into the spotlight as the number one outside hitter in women’s volleyball.
Even though she has been injured, I think she’s in a better position than Ting based on her current form and how she completely dominated the Korean V-League last year.
For now, Kim will hold on to my top ranking for the ladies since she has been at the top for longer than Ting!
Also, read What To Wear For Volleyball Tryouts
Key Attributes of the Outside Hitters
Athleticism and Jumping Ability
It is only through excellent athleticism and jumping ability that outside hitters can soar above the net and execute powerful attacks from advantageous positions.
Strong Arm Swing and Hitting Techniques
The arm swing must be strong and controlled in order to be effective. Cross-court shots, line shots, and roll shots are some of the top hitting techniques of top outside hitters.
Court Awareness and Strategy
There is a need for outside hitters to understand the flow of the game. In split seconds, they make split-second decisions and position themselves strategically to exploit the weaknesses in their opponent’s defense.
Adaptability and Versatility
Great outside hitters can play a variety of roles and adapt to different game scenarios. When a situation calls for power hits or finesse shots, they can switch between them.
Also, read How Tall Are Opposite Hitters In Volleyball?
The Impact of Outside Hitters on the Team
Teams benefit from outside hitters in many ways:
As a result, the opposing defense is put under pressure, resulting in scoring opportunities.
Furthermore, outside hitters contribute to the back row by digging and receiving the ball.
During crucial moments, their drive and passion can inspire their teammates to perform at their best.
Training and Development of Outside Hitters
Outside hitters practice their footwork, hitting techniques, and defensive skills rigorously.
As part of their training regimen, they perform strength and conditioning exercises to improve their jumping ability, agility, and endurance.
It is equally important to consider the mental aspect. Under pressure, outside hitters need to remain composed and focused.
Also, read How Many Players Are On A Volleyball Team?
The Evolution of Outside Hitters’ Role
Over the years, outside hitters’ roles have evolved significantly. Passing, serving, and defense are now among their responsibilities as well as power hitting.
The Future of Outside Hitters in Volleyball
In order to maintain their effectiveness on the court, outside hitters will need to adapt to new tactics and strategies as the sport continues to evolve.
What is the primary role of an outside hitter in volleyball?
Outside hitters are responsible for delivering powerful attacks and contributing both offensively and defensively.
Who is considered a trailblazer among outside hitters?
Due to her revolutionary playing style, Gabrielle Reece is often regarded as a trailblazer in outside hitters.
What sets the best outside hitters apart from others?
Outstanding athleticism, versatile hitting techniques, and strategic court awareness distinguish the outside hitters.
How do outside hitters contribute defensively?
Defensively, outside hitters help keep the ball in play by digging and receiving.
Are there 2 outside hitters in volleyball?
Two outside hitters are usually on the court at the same time. Outside hitters are commonly considered to have leaping ability and power, but they need a broader set of skills. A good passer is essential for her. It is important for her to be able to play quality defense.
What does the future hold for the role of outside hitters?
It is likely that outside hitters will have to be even more versatile and adaptable to new playing styles and strategies in the future.
With their powerful attacks and solid defensive skills, outside hitters are the dynamic playmakers of volleyball teams. Athletes’ athleticism, strategy, and adaptability make them invaluable assets, and their influence goes far beyond their scoring abilities.
Moreover, you may enjoy reading Best Shoes For Grass Volleyball