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The 6-2 Offensive System in Volleyball With No Substitutions

Choosing an offense system

Choosing the right offensive system to run can be crucial to a team’s success. Sometimes as coaches we may become fixated on running a specific system that we prefer, rather than assessing the players available to the team and finding a system that fits them. For example, why, when a team has a player with apparent strengths, will a coach not utilize those strengths simply because of the offensive system?

This article is part of an exhaustive breakdown of different offensive systems, as we look at the advantages and disadvantages of each, and try to identify what style of team each system would suit.

If you can’t wait to find out more, then head over to GMS+ and get signed up today to watch tutorials, videos, and more to expand your knowledge on offensive systems.

What is the “6-2 offensive system without subs”?

The 6-2 offensive system that requires no subs is a system that is one that requires two athletes on the roster to each be a good setter and a strong attacker. Why? Well instead of having a single designated setter as such, this system relies on having 2 hybrid setter/opposites on court. These players are on the court at the same time, and depending on their back row or front row positioning, their role will change. When they are in the frontcourt they will play as a right-side attacker, when they are in the backcourt they will play as a back-row setter. This means that they need to have the capacity to set and attack relatively well - not an easy task.

As shown in the GMS+ video, as the right side defender in position 1 rotates into the front row, they then become a front-row right-side attacker. When the front row right side attacker rotates back to serve, they will then become the new setter for the three rotations when they are backcourt.

Introduction to a 6-2 Offense without Subs

6-2 no subs System summary:

  • The right-back defender will always set.

  • The right-front attacker will always hit.

  • Middles and outsides will continue in their roles as normal.

  • You do not need to use any substitutions.

  • You will always have three front-row attackers.


Oftentimes, especially for younger teams, a team might struggle when the back-row setter has to make the first contact of a rally. Traditionally, the libero will then become the setter. That being said, one potential advantage of this offensive system is that your front-row opposite (who is also a setter) can take the second ball in these scenarios.

If you run the 6-2 system without substitutions, having 2 good level setters on the court means you will always have one setter available. In theory, this should eliminate the opportunity for balls falling to the floor as your players “sit around the campfire” watching. The team is also still able to run the preferred tempo on offense. In most cases, the team should be “in-system” when the setter is able to set all or most of their attackers. This will allow the middles to run a 1st tempo attack which in turn could draw the middle blocker and give the outside attacker more chance of having a solo or poorly formed block to attack against.

However, you still may decide to have the libero take the second ball with the option to bump set to the opposite or the outside hitter.

In most cases, the optimum offensive scenario is having three front-row attackers always available, which is the primary reason for running any type of 6-2 offensive system. This gives more options to your back-row setter and makes it tougher for opposing blockers to defend against. If your team runs a fast offense, then the opposition blockers are more likely to have to focus on individual attackers rather than being able to bunch block. Fewer blockers should theoretically mean a higher success rate for your attackers.

The biggest advantage to this system could be that it allows coaches to utilize the strengths of the best athletes on their roster. It's common to see, especially on younger teams, that you have one or two specific players who might be your best player at every position. A good athlete might be your best attacker and passer, but this athlete might also be your best setter. In that case, what position should this player play? If you have two athletes like this, you can have both of them play as attackers and setters.

Advantages of a 6-2 Offense without Subs

Advantages summary:

  • Will always have an established setter available to set the 2nd ball, if you choose to implement this.

  • Will always have three front-row attackers.

  • Takes some pressure off of OH1 by sharing the offensive responsibilities between OH1 and the opposite attacker.

  • Takes advantage of the many strengths of your best athletes.


The typical High School and College seasons are short in general, so one of the limitations of the 6-2 system without substitutions is requiring your setters to be competent in not only running an offense but in attacking as well. With a split skill focus, this can limit the opportunity for your hybrid player to become proficient in either skill. This is where time management in training is really crucial, and how you arrange your setter's training time to ensure they are getting maximum reps in all the skills they are required to perform.

Another attacking component that this system prevents is the slide attack for the middle attacker. This option has become a very productive point scoring option in the women’s game when used effectively. It adds an extra moving piece to the offensive system that needs to be tracked by the blockers meaning that middle blockers are forced to make a decision of which attacker is their priority (though most middles will struggle to read and make a solid block to either pin against a fast set). With a 6-2 system you eliminate the potential for the slide attack, and whilst you can run your middle attacker behind the setter, the opposition middle blocker might have more chance of reading the play and reacting or you may cause your middle attacker to clash with your opposite attacker. If you have a great slide attacker, you might be better off utilizing a different system that allows the team to make use of that weapon.

Disadvantages summary:

  • Setters have to develop more aspects of their game, less time spent on setting practice.

  • No option for a slide attack.

What style of team might benefit from running this system?

The best example of a high-level team using this system recently is the UCLA Men's volleyball program. It was a very effective system because the team had two good hybrid setter/opposites who were excellent attackers when playing in the front row whilst also being able to run the system effectively as setters from the back row. Men’s college volleyball teams are allowed limited substitutions, making a "6-2 with subs" impossible to run. Men's and Women’s professional volleyball teams are also bound by the same substitution rules: you do not have the opportunity to keep rolling the setter and opposite substitutions as in youth volleyball. For those reasons, a 6-2 without subs is the only type of 6-2 offense these teams can run.

This system might also suit a team where different setters connect well with certain attackers. For example, if one setter connects well with your MB2 and your OH1, and another setter connects well with your MB1 and OH2, then you would be able to set up your team rotation so as to have each of your hitters being set by their preferred setter. Setter-attacker connections become more and more crucial as the level of gameplay increases, players need to be on the same wavelengths and have good communication, and so having these links or connections between different players would allow for a more effective team.

Another scenario where you would be better utilizing this system and having 2 setters is if you are struggling to find a strong right-side attacker, but you have a setter that might be a good option in that role.

Ultimately, this offense should be reserved for teams that have two really good athletes that are each a really good setter and a really good attacker.

UCLA running a 6-2 Offense with Subs

Team Style summary:

  • Teams that have two really good athletes that are each a good setter and good attacker.

  • Teams that have stronger attacker/setter links with different setters.

  • Men's NCAA Volleyball

  • Men's & Women's Professional Volleyball

Further your knowledge:

To see this system in action, sign up for our GMS+ account where we walk you through the rotations and the role changes of each of the positions. From there you can observe how Micah Ma’a and the UCLA men’s volleyball program utilized this system to their advantage in their 2017 season. Coach Speraw wanted to utilise Ma’a not only for his understanding of the game as a setter and his ability to facilitate a game plan, but his athleticism and his vision as an attacker: remember, no matter how your score, a point is still a point.

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