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Rotation Formations & Overlap Rules – Intro

Rotations Introduction

In this blog and video series, we’re going to cover serve-receive rules, along with overlap formations for all six of the volleyball rotations.




Player Positions

In a traditional 5-1 offense, there is 1 setter, 2 outside hitters, 2 middle blockers, an opposite, and a libero. Here are the descriptions of each player position:

Setter (S) - The setter's "base" or starting position in rotation 1 will be left back. Often times serve-receive formations will be set up in a way that allows the setter to get in to position using an efficient route.

Outside Hitter 1 (H1) - The H1 is the outside hitter closest to the setter. Typically, this should be the best outside hitter on the team because she will generally have more hitting opportunities than any other player.

Middle Blocker 2 (M2) - The M2 is the middle blocker two spots away from the setter.

Opposite (OPP) - The Opposite is a right side attacker lined up directly opposite of the setter.

Outside Hitter 2 (H2) - The H2 is the outside hitter two spots away from the setter.

Middle Blocker 1 (M1) - The M1 is the middle blocker one spot away from the setter. Usually the M1 will be the better offensive middle attacker because she will have more hitting opportunities than the M2. The M1 should also be a better slide hitter because she will have more opportunities to hit slides.


Libero (L) - The Libero plays replaces the back row Middle Blocker.

Rotating in Volleyball

Each time a team sides out, all six players  on that team rotate one position clockwise around the court. Each player must be in these court positions at the beginning of each rally when the ball is served.

After the serve, players are free to move around the court.



















Overlap Rules

To ensure that the players are standing in legal spots when the ball is served, we need to understand volleyball overlap rules. No players can overlap with players directly in front or behind them, or directly to the left or right of them.

Overlap Examples


In the first image, the Setter must be behind the H1 (Because the H1 is the player directly in front of her) and to the right of the Libero (because the Libero is the player directly to her left). The setter doesn’t have to worry about illegally overlapping with any other players.

In the second image, the M2 must be in front of the Libero (because the Libero is the player directly behind her), to the left of the H1 (because the H1 is the player directly to her right), and to the right of the Opposite (because the opposite is the player directly to her left). The M2 doesn’t have to worry about illegally overlapping with any other players.

Offensive Attack Calls By Rotation

In this section, we will look at what offensive play calls are available by rotation. What plays you can run, and who you can set is dictated by the rotation you are in.

Go: A standard left side attack, typically with 2nd step tempo.

Gap: This set gets called a variety of names (gap, 31, shoot, 3). With this play, the the middle-blocker gets set in between the middle of the court and the left side of the court.


Quick: A quick attack hit by the middle blocker directly in front of the setter. This is also commonly called a "1."

Slide: An attack on the right side of the court, starting from the middle of the court, using a one-footed takeoff approach.

Red: A standard right side attack, typically with 2nd step tempo.