The 3 Types of Hits in Volleyball Explained in 2024

Micah Drews


The players constantly use various types of hits in volleyball while playing the game. Each player on a volleyball team will be put in the position to use these skills, so it is important to know how to pass, set, hit, and serve.

The three forms of hits that a team wants to accomplish when the ball is on their side of the net are passing, setting, and hitting, but there are other types that teams must perform to win.

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.

The Pass In Volleyball

A volleyball player’s most important skill is passing the ball. It is inevitable that every player on the court will have to pass at some point during the game. Players are taught this skill by their coaches because coaches know that passing is a necessity at every position.  

The ball is passed up to the setter after it has crossed the net using players’ forearms. Ideally, the ball should travel smoothly above the setter’s head to the setter.

It is important for players to be low at the time of receiving the ball and to have their feet and forearms facing the target while passing. It will also be easier for them to control the ball if they follow through with their arms. You should pass it slowly rather than bringing your arms down immediately. 

As we will discuss below, there are four basic types of passes.

  • Regular Traditional Pass
  • Dig
  • Overhead
  • Pancake

A regular pass, a dig pass, an overhead pass, and a pancake pass are available. It is more common to see the traditional pass, but you may also see the others from time to time. 

Regular Traditional Pass

If the ball lands above the waist and no significant changes in stance are required, it is considered a regular pass. You can have a better control of your pass when you bend your knees, extend your arms, and move your legs. When the setter makes a good pass, the hitter gets a good set-up.

Passes such as this are typically seen after a serve, and these are the best passes to give your teammates. This pass is frequently used by liberos and defensive specialists.


Passing a dig pass requires passing from a lower position below the waist. In some situations, it may be necessary for the player to go to the ground in order to save the ball from hitting the ground. After an opposing hitter hits the ball, this is called a dig. 


The ball is passed over the head of the player, but it does not go out of bounds. As with a set, the player hits the ball with their fingertips. In order to set the ball properly, the ball must be controlled towards the setter.  


If the ball comes over strongly as a hit or tip, it is called a pancake pass. In order for the ball to bounce up from the hand, the player lays their hand flat on the court. It is also normal for the player to lay flat on their back. Using this pass, the ball will not hit the court as a last resort. 

Volleyball Sets

Sets in volleyball are the second hits after passes. Sets are used to set up the ball for hitters above the net. The second ball is usually picked up by two or three setters, or they call for assistance if they can’t get it. Sets should be taught to each member of the team since they might have to receive a second ball when it’s passed. 

It is important for the player to place his hands up by his forehead and form a triangle with his thumbs and index fingers.

Volleyballs fit comfortably into their hands once they open them up. Afterwards, they extend their arms and wrists while pushing the ball toward the target. The set should be placed a little above the net so that the hitter can hit it.

We will discuss the three most common volleyball sets below: front set, back set, and quick set.

  • Front Set
  • Back Set
  • Quick Set

Playing volleyball commonly involves all three of these. It is only natural to think of a set as a front set when you think of a set. It takes a little more practice to master the other two types of sets.

Front Set

Traditional sets are front sets. By keeping the ball in front of the hitter, the setter sets the ball to him or her. A beginner or younger player with less experience will benefit most from this set.

Back Set

Setters set the ball behind themselves, called back sets. The opposite or right-side hitter usually receives this type of set. Setters must arch their backs while pushing the ball behind them when doing this set. 

Quick Set

During the ball’s rise or peak, a quick set is hit while it’s still going up or just peaked. It is important for a setter to know the different variations of the quick set. Quick 1s or As, for instance, are quick sets forwards, while back 1s or Bs are quick sets behind.

Hits in volleyball

Types of Hits in Volleyball

The third hit in volleyball follows the set. Often, players and coaches refer to the hit as a spike, but in volleyball it is called a hit. To make it difficult for the other team to return the ball, the hit gets the ball over the net quickly and toward the ground. Following a set, the hitters are usually the ones who score.

Every player on the team should know how to hit, since hitters can be anyone. The approach refers to the specific steps a player takes before hitting a ball. In order to hit the ball to the other side of the court, they jump and swing after approaching the ball. That means they got a kill, which means they couldn’t pass it up.

Volleyball hits can be seen in the following list.

  • Tip
  • Hard-Driven Hit (Spike)
  • Standing Hit

We will discuss these hits in a general sense for the purpose of this article, but there are a lot of versions of each. As a volleyball player, you probably think of a spike as a hard-driven hit.


Tipping refers to the act of controlling the ball with one open hand when hitting it over the net. When the ball is tipped, it can be sent short or long.

By using it, you can get over blockers at the net or catch the opponent off guard. Keeping the other team guessing is a great way to keep them on their toes.

Hard-Driven Hit (Spike)

There is nothing misleading about this hit. The ball was driven down to the ground hard. To perform this hit, a hitter must drive the ball as hard as possible onto the other side of the net.

This one’s going to take some serious preparation from the other side. The hitter can also try to hit this off of the opponent’s fingers in other versions of this hit.

Standing Hit

In the back row, players often use the standing hit instead of jumping to attack the ball. A down ball is also known as an up ball.

Depending on where the holes are on the other side, the player can decide whether to hit the ball short or long.

Volleyball Serve

Volleyball games begin with a serve, which is another way to hit the ball over the net. The team winning the volley gets a point if the serve goes over. As soon as the serve fails to go over the net or a volley is lost, the opposing team gets a point and takes over the serve.

While serving, players must stand behind the back line of out of bounds. The ball is returned to the other team if they go over the line while serving. 

Getting the ball over can be done from anywhere along the back line by the server. Having a good toss, focusing on the ball, and following through with your swing are essential. 

There are three different types of volleyball serves, which we will discuss below.

  • Jump Serve
  • Overhand Serve
  • Underhand Serve

It is important to note that these services are available in many versions as well, but this is a general overview. Overhand and jump serves are usually the only two types of serves at the higher levels.

Jump Serve

An advanced serve, the jump serve gives more power to the ball and intimidates the opponent. As the player jumps into the air, the ball is brought sharply down on the other side of the net from an angle that is better for the angle of the ball.

Underhand Serve

It is common for beginners to use the underhand in volleyball. With this serve, the ball is hit with the dominant hand while the other hand holds the ball low.

The non-dominant hand is used to swing through the ball with a fist. They should follow through and get it over the net. 

Overhand Serve

Volleyball’s most common serve is the overhand serve. With one hand, a player throws the ball and strikes it with their other hand above their heads. Overhand serves can be divided into two categories.

In one type, it appears that the ball is floating over the net, called a floater serve. Topspin serves are the other type. A deep, specific spot on the court is easier to serve with this serve.

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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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