How to Set a Volleyball

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Taking place between the bump and the spike, the set is the second contact the team makes with the ball during a hitting sequence. The set positions the ball in the air in a way that allows the spiker to effectively execute an attack shot. As an overhead passing shot, the set can appear to be a simple maneuver, however, tactical skill is necessary to fulfill the move.

  • Position your body in proper setting form. Separate your feet to be shoulder-width apart with one foot slightly in front of the other. Slightly bend your knees. Pull your abdominal muscles in toward your lower back and press the shoulders down and away from your ears.

  • Raise your hands to be directly over your forehead. Slightly bend your elbows and point them out to the sides.

  • Form a triangle by bringing the thumbs, index and middle fingers of both hands together. Rotate your wrists and face the palms toward the ceiling. Separate your hands to be volleyball-width apart.

  • Move to where the ball will land after the bumper completes her passing shot; go to the ball rather than wait for it to come to you. Allow the ball to hit the pads of your fingers and push the ball upward by extending your arms and wrists. Simultaneously straighten your legs so that your entire body is involved in the set. Follow through by straightening your arms completely as you release the ball.

Tips & Warnings

  • Push the ball evenly with both hands, rather than allowing your dominant hand to overpower the other, according to Bob Miller, author of The Volleyball Handbook. An even-handed push allows for greater control of the ball.
  • Follow through completely and fully extend your arms toward the ceiling when setting the ball. The follow-through helps to prevent the ball from spinning or from going in a wayward direction.
  • Ask a certified volleyball coach to critique your form if you are having trouble controlling the ball during the set. Your posture or technique may need fine tuning before you are able to perfect the move.
  • Avoid rushing your movement during the set. Taking the time to obtain correct posture and contact the ball correctly will help you to place the ball in your desired position.
  • Prevent the ball from falling below your forehead once your fingers have made contact; this is an illegal lift and can cost your team the point.

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