The 3 Types of Hits in Volleyball Explained in 2024

Micah Drews


When you first hear about the three types of hits in volleyball, especially if you are new to the sport, you might wonder – which three types of hits do we mean?

In volleyball, there are three types of hits: bumps, volleys, and spikes, or in modern terms pass, set, and kill.

Although this list may appear confusing at first, once you understand each category, it really is quite simple.

What Are The Most Common Hits in Volleyball?

Types of Hits in Volleyball

In volleyball, passes, sets, and spikes (also known as hits) are the main hits. There are three hits allowed per team on each side of the net. A team’s chances of scoring are maximized when it uses the three hits.  Any volleyball game must begin with a serve, another important hit.

The purpose of this article is to give you a deeper understanding of the different types of volleyball hits and how to use them effectively on the volleyball court. In order to keep this simple for those new to the game, we will not go into too much detail.

Bump or pass?

My parents always called it a bump when I was growing up. No matter whether the ball is served, hit, or freed, this shot is the first one made.

Players create a platform with their arms and hit it underhanded using this hit. Why are coaches and players calling it a pass? Intention is the key to the answer.

In recent years, coaches have discovered that simply telling players to “bump” creates the notion that it’s okay just to throw the ball up without regard for its destination. It implies sending your teammate the ball on purpose, giving it to him or her. Even beginners need this to succeed.

In order to keep the ball up in the air, coaches and parents shouldn’t celebrate. In order for our players to progress through the game, they must pass the ball to their setter in a controlled, targeted manner.

If you refer to a pass that doesn’t reach the right teammate, you’re implying something similar in any other sport. A busted play is a negative thing. Interceptions or incomplete passes result from this in football.

Turnovers are what you give up in basketball. In volleyball, when players bump the ball up without direction, it ends up being a busted play that must be redirected.

No matter if a player makes a good pass to the setter’s position from serve receive, a free ball or an attack, coaches should celebrate it. It is crucial for your team to consistently make good passes to its setter in order to have a successful game.

The key to volleyball success is communication, which means players should call the ball as early as possible with “MINE” or “I GOT IT”. The hit should be aimed at the setter’s position, regardless of whether the setter is present.

The setter may give the ball more height if he or she is scrambling for some reason, but it must still be sent to the correct spot.

Volleying and setting

Most of the time, the plan is to hit back aggressively at the other team with all 3 hits. The second hit will be the set. Most setters use the volley as their primary tool.

Volleys are overhead hits that use both hands, where the ball is absorbed by the fingers and sent back up. A “double hit” cannot be called if the hands do not make contact simultaneously.

In volleys, the ball is controlled by the setter to maximize his accuracy and consistency in setting up their teammates for great shots.

In other words, why is it called a set and not a volley? The idea is again to have an intention. The majority of the time, setters will use “volley” as their technique to play the ball. A quality ball is delivered to your next player when you set the ball.

Setting a table or making an appointment are other ways we use the word set or setting. Making a plan and organizing things is what you are doing. Setters are intent on delivering balls at the right time and place, based on calculated decisions.

Setting is often referred to as the quarterback of a volleyball team for the simple reason that they are in charge of how the offensive play unfolds. It is not just a case of throwing the ball into the air and seeing what happens.

Their goal is to make a plan and set a goal. At the end of the day, your team wants to make the point, but in order for them to succeed, the setter must place the ball in the air at the right height and distance from the net so that the hitter is able to dominate the field.

It is crucial for setters to communicate with hitters. In order to reach an agreement about where the ball will land, the hitters and setters should know as much detail as possible.

A beginner’s position should be called out by the hitter and the setter should choose them. During the setters’ calls out the names of the hitters, they give them the best balls they can.

As the setting progresses, it becomes increasingly precise. Are there going to be several ball heights at a traditional pace, or will it be a quick set (just barely over the net)? There’s a system used by my daughter’s high school team that uses more of a coordinate system to place the ball, which elevates the targeting to a whole new level.

The attack may be conducted by multiple players, who approach, call, and follow the motion. Usually, this is planned and completely normal.

Defenses have a harder time determining who to block until the ball leaves the setter’s hands. Defending both the real hitter and the decoy can be challenging when the decoys are convincing.

My earlier comment that not every setter makes the volley their default hit may have sparked your interest. Using a bumping pass as their main tool can actually lead to greater consistency and success for some setters.

This may not be a traditional method, but it is certainly an effective one. In general, bump passes aren’t as controlled as volleys, but coaches may find that there is a player who excels at them, especially in the middle school years. In general, this is not encouraged, but if it’s the best way for your offense to set up, it can be used.

Killing, spiking, and hitting

It’s in the third hit that the magic happens. This is a great time for your team to score if the first two hits were executed correctly.

Why is it called a “hit” or a “kill” instead of a spike? You probably guessed it from the above sections. Aim!

The meaning of “I want you to kill that ball” differs when a coach says it to a player. There is a feeling in your gut that tells you so. Jumping up and swinging isn’t enough, you have to finish the point and put the ball on the ground.

Players hit the ball when they approach it, jump aggressively, load their arms back, and spear the ball to their designated target on the opposing team’s side. Outside hitters play on the outside of the field, while middle hitters play on the inside.

They may appear to be in the same position, but they are very different. They are both focused on attacking their opponents with the most offensive third hit.

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What are the Other Kinds of Volleyball Hits?

Types of Hits in Volleyball

Volleyball also offers a variety of legal and necessary hits. We haven’t discussed serves or tips. In addition to one-armed saves, there are a variety of blocks to choose from.

There are many types of hits that can occur. In volleyball, these three types of hits are the most important. A strong team will execute strong defense and offense if they master these 3 types of hits, making them a very difficult team to beat.

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How many hits in volleyball?

As a result of the return of the ball, the team has three hits (on top of the block contact). In tennis, a service is hit over the net by the server to the opponent, putting the ball in play. As long as the ball remains on the court, passes “out” or is not returned properly, the rally continues.

What does 3 hits mean in volleyball?

To be successful in the game, you have to keep the ball from touching the ground for a long period of time without it touching the ground (while following the rules below). Before the ball must go over the net, a team may contact the ball three times at most. If the first contact is a block, a player may contact the ball a second time.

Can you have 4 hits in volleyball?

Before returning the ball to the other team, a team may only touch it three times. The ball must be returned after hitting one team’s player four times without being touched again.


There are many kinds of hits in volleyball, and all players must know and perform them. Each player must know their role in the game and work well together as a team. The game of volleyball will be successful if players use each of these hits effectively.

Play the three main hits on the court next time…traditional pass, front set, and hard hit (spike). Having mastered these three skills, you can expand your knowledge.

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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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