What Is a Good Set in Volleyball? Complete Guide

Micah Drews


In order to understand the quality and standard of the setting, we need to understand its role in volleyball. Despite its fast pace and dynamic nature, volleyball relies heavily on teamwork and precise skills to be successful.

Well-executed sets make a big difference to a team’s success among the key elements. We examine the nuances of what makes a volleyball set truly spectacular in this article.

What Does a Setter Do in Volleyball?

Sets are used when the team transitions from a defensive (passing) situation to an offensive one (spiking and/or attacking).

To understand this transitional skill, we must understand that it requires a lot of calculus, spatial coordination, manipulative skills, and timing skills. 

The quality of the pass can be influenced by the difficulty of the opponent’s serve, and good setters understand this.  It is also important for very clever setters to position themselves in the middle of the attacking zone in order to anticipate passes and set a good target for passers.    

What Is a Good Set in Volleyball?

What Is a Good Set in Volleyball

When the hitter can effectively spike a set, it is a good set.

After reviewing my notes from when I interviewed two of the best setters in the world, I found the answer to this question: Helia Souza (Fofao), a volleyball Hall of Famer, and Bernardinho, captain of the Brazilian men’s national volleyball team.

The best sets are those that allow the hitter to bring the ball to the wall and help the team to overcome the opposition’s blockers.  Friendship and love are at the heart of setting.  Sets are made by Fofo after she analyzes the passes, sees where the blockers are, and chooses whom to set with: the middle, wing players, or the back row.  

Fofo told me that she knows where the hitter “likes” the ball in addition to all the tactics involved in setting.  There are some players who like the ball to hang in the air, and there are others who prefer a good tempo that is not too close to the net.  She follows the offensive pattern while delivering a ball that the player prefers.  Good sets require the middle player to be available to attack the ball and to get underneath the ball.  

Additionally, Bruninho adds that, when the pass is not as good as he thinks it should be, he will not hesitate to pass to the middle player to maintain the opposite blockers.  Sets are referred to by many different names, but in essence, a good set enables the hitter to spike effectively.

As Bruninho sets up the offense, there is always at least three hitters available to spike the ball.  No matter where the middle player is, the outside hitter, right side, and players from position 6 (pipe) will be available to hit the ball. 

The player likes to go, get under the ball and deliver some spectacular sets to the back row or to the P4 or P2 when the team performs a good “A” pass at the net (P3), or a “B” pass at the 3m-line, or even a “C” pass at the middle of the court.  Whether a setter sets well with good or bad passes is the very definition of a great setter according to Bruninho.

Good sets are delivered one or two feet away from the net, between the antennas.  When a ball is placed in front of the hitter, it facilitates the hitter’s approach by providing a lead-up position.  

It takes a lot of practice and time to learn how to set.  Due to this, setters and coaches arrive earlier and leave later than usual for practices like these. This image is courtesy of Leonardo Carvalho and the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation at the Sports Development Center in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro.

Although volleyball players and coaches have varying opinions regarding what constitutes a good set, the consensus seems to be that if a hitter is able to hit the ball well, the set is good.

To summarize, a good set complies with the criteria that if the ball is hittable, it is a good set, but if the setter delivers a set where the hitter spikes the ball smoothly, it is a great set.  

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Different Types of Sets in Volleyball

What Is a Good Set in Volleyball

In order to succeed in volleyball, beginners must master the basic skills. Volleyball players need to develop setting skills as part of their game.

An attack in volleyball begins with a setting. The first step in setting the ball is for the setter to do so. In the next step, a hitter executes an attack hit.

Setters work closely with hitters during games. It is crucial for a volleyball setter to be very familiar with hitters’ preferences and set the ball in a way that makes it easy for his/her teammate to execute an attack hit.

It is important to know that volleyball has different types of sets. There are three types of volleyball sets. Among them are:

  • Third-tempo sets (slow sets)
  • The second set of tempos
  • First tempo sets (also called fast sets)

It would be beneficial for you to master different types of sets if you are going to play the setter’s position. In the next section, we’ll examine each type of setting in more detail.

Let’s begin.

Slow Sets

Volleyball beginners love these types of sets. It is possible for volleyball players of any skill level to accomplish the set.

Ideally, the ball should be thrown high into the air. Slow trajectory is also important for a ball.

It is important to aim to hit the ball when it is at a high point when it is set in this way. The hitter can usually land the ball on the opposite side of the court from this position by sending it down forcefully.

In advance of an attack hit, a volleyball hitter needs to prepare. Prior to a setter making contact with a ball, a hitter should approach the hitting area.

Blockers from the opponent’s team usually have an easy time resisting attacks after slow sets.

Four Set

It is known as a high set because of its height. There is a high flight of the ball. About 3 meters is the trajectory of the ball when it is set.

When setting the ball to left front hitters, it is a good idea to utilize the Four set.

It is also important to note that you have to keep a distance of 1 meter between the ball and the net. As a result, an attacker will have enough space to hit the ball hard.

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Five Set

The ball flies about 3 meters high when set this way.

By understanding each other well and cooperating effectively on the court, the setter and hitter can reduce the height of the set.

In situations where setting the ball to the right front hitter is necessary, it makes sense to use the Five set.

Two Slow Set

There is no high set in the Two slow set. There is only one meter of height on the set. The hitter must be able to approach the ball very quickly, so he must be able to hit the ball very quickly.

If you need to set the ball to the middle hitter, it’s a good idea to use the Two slow set. Attacks to the middle part of the net are most effective when hitting the Two set.

Second Tempo Sets

Slow tempo sets are slower than second tempo sets. This is why experienced volleyball setters recommend this type of set.

When an attack near the net is planned, the ball is set. During an attack, the ball doesn’t take long to land on the court, so it’s crucial that a hitter can approach it quickly.

A great thing about second tempo sets is that blockers are unable to prepare for attacks and that makes it difficult to resist them.

It is recommended to use second tempo sets for middle hitters and outside hitters.

Hut Set

Only one meter is the height of the set. Balls are set within a meter of each other. If the ball needs to be set to the left front hitter, the Hut is the set of choice.

32 Set

Blockers of the opposing team will have difficulty resisting a hit with the 32 set.

There’s no doubt that volleyball blockers find this type of set confusing.

In most cases, blockers do not understand which part of the court will be attacked from.

There is less than one meter of height on the set. Either the outside hitter or the middle hitter should receive the ball.

Red Set

The opposing hitter receives the ball. During a game, a hitter hits the right front area of the court with an attack hit.

Approximately one meter is the height of the set. Having the ability to react quickly to the Red set is crucial for an attacker.

Two Second Tempo Set

The Two Slow set is very similar to this type of set. In this case, the ball is set nearer to the hitter than it would be in a traditional pitch.

The Two Second Tempo set is much smaller than the Two Slow set, which is also important to note.

When the ball must be set to the middle hitter, the Two Second Tempo set works very well. Middle hitters are responsible for reacting to set and carrying out attacks very quickly.

It is also possible to set the ball to an outside hitter. When the middle hitter retires, the outside volleyball hitter replaces him after the rotation.

Fast Tempo Sets

Experienced setters as well as hitters should stick to fast tempo sets. Attackers and hitters need to act very quickly and professionally.

It is imperative that hitters start moving toward the ball as soon as possible. Once a setter passes the ball to a volleyball hitter, the hitter must begin approaching the attack spot.

After fast tempo sets, it is usually difficult for blockers to resist an attack hit. In order to resist an attack hit, defensive volleyball players often dig.

Slide Set

In most cases, the ball has a reverse trajectory after it has been set. The hitter must jump off his left foot and slide towards his right foot in order to execute an attack hit. Players make sharp swings when hitting. This causes the ball to move quickly after being hit.

There is a certain type of footwork that is required for this kind of set. For a player to resist an attack hit when a middle blocker resists it, they must take four steps to reach the ball.

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Shoot Set

If the ball needs to be sent to the left front hitter, the Shoot set is the right choice. This setting causes the ball to go parallel to the top of the net.

It is important for the setter and hitter to have a good understanding of each other during the Shoot. Timing is important for both setters and hitters.

Setting should be done with a great deal of knowledge of the hitter’s preferences. The setter’s job is to set the ball to the right spot so that hitters can carry out successful attacks.

Half Shoot Set

If it is necessary to place the ball either toward the middle hitter or towards the outside hitter, the Half Shoot (also known as the tree) is performed.

Timing is crucial for this type of set. Setters need to be aware of where attackers prefer to launch attacks.

31 Set

31 sets are played when the ball needs to be attacked in the middle of the court. As a result, the middle hitter receives the ball.

There is a lot of work involved in the 31 set. Certain experience is required for the set.

Therefore, only skilled hitters and setters can master this type of set. Hitters are responsible for hitting the ball right after setting.

One Set

A set like the One is extremely fast. Often referred to as “quick sets”, the One set can be performed in just a few minutes. Professional volleyball players often do this during important matches.

Above the net, the ball is set. After setting, the ball flies high in the air. An attack hit is therefore easy for a middle hitter.

Back One Set

One and Back One are very similar sets. After setting, the ball drops quickly and goes low. This results in the ball going behind the setter. A middle hitter is assigned the ball.

Trends and Changes Over Time

What Is a Good Set in Volleyball

Historical Perspectives

Historical perspectives reveal trends that have stood the test of time, revealing the evolution of setting techniques.

Modern Adaptations

Adaptations to setting techniques in contemporary volleyball reflect changes in player capabilities and game strategies.

Training and Coaching Insights

Professional Coaching Tips

Both aspiring setters and coaches can benefit from expert coaching tips emphasizing continuous improvement and learning.

Recommended Resources for Improvement

The point of reference to reputable resources assists setters in honing their skills, guiding them toward a comprehensive improvement.

Challenges in Setting

External Factors

With skill and adaptability, setters can overcome challenges posed by court conditions and opponent strategies.

Mental Challenges

Setters must develop resilience and focus in order to make decisions under pressure.


How can a setter improve their ball control skills?

In order to improve ball control, setters should practice specific drills. Practicing consistently and refining techniques contributes to improvement.

What is the role of communication in setting?

Synchronizing movements between the setter and the hitter is essential to ensure unfailing accuracy and well-timed sets.

Are there specific drills for collaborative training between setters and hitters?

It is true that collaborative training drills foster a cohesive and successful partnership between setters and hitters.

How do external factors affect setting in volleyball?

Setters must adapt and make quick decisions during games when they are faced with external factors, such as court conditions and opponent strategies.

Where can aspiring setters find valuable coaching tips?

Several reputable coaching resources and experienced volleyball professionals provide valuable tips for aspiring setters.


The setter must be precise, timed, and communicate effectively with the hitter to ensure a successful offensive play.

The setters are fundamental to the team’s success, with their constant commitment to improvement ensuring sustained success.

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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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