Complete List of Basic Volleyball Terminology


  • Ace: A serve that results directly in a spot, usually when the ball hits the ground untouched on the receiving team’s side of the court.
  • Assist: Helping a teammate setup for a kill.
  • Attack: The offensive action of hitting the ball.
  • Attacker: Also “hitter” and “spiker.” A new player who attempts going to a ball offensively with the goal of terminating play.
  • Attack Block: The defensive team’s try to block a spiked ball.
  • Attack Error: An attack botched in another of 5 ways: ball lands out of bounds; ball switches into net; attacker commits center line or net violation or attacker illegally contacts ball.
  • Attack Line: A line 3 meters/10 feet from, and parallel to, the web. Separates the front-row players from the back-row players. A back-row player cannot legally attack the ball above the web unless he will take off from behind this line.

Source: Volleyball rules


  • Back row/court: Space from baseline (endline) to attack line. There are 3 players whose court positions are in this area (positions 1, 6 & 5 on court)
  • Back Row Attack: Whenever a back-row player will take off from behind the attack line (10-foot/3-meter) line and attacks the ball. Various terms A-B-C-D-PIPE-BIC.
  • Back set: Collection delivered behind the setter.
  • Baseline: The trunk boundary of the court. Also known as the end line
  • Block: Among the 6 basic skills. A defensive play by a number of front-row players designed to intercept a spiked ball. The mix of one, two or three 3 players jumping before the opposing spiker and contacting the spiked ball with the hands.
  • Blocking Error: Touching the web, crossing the centerline, blocking a set or serve or any other “local” violation occurring while making a block attempt.


  • Center line: The boundary that runs beneath the net and divides the court into two equal halves.
  • Closing the block: The duty of the assisting blocker(s) to angle their body in accordance with the first blocker.
  • “Cover”: Identifies the hitter having his/her teammates prepared to retrieve rebounds from the opposing blockers.
  • Cross-court attack: An attack directed diagonally from the idea of attack. Also known as an angle hit.
    Cut shot: A spike from the hitter’s strong side that travels at a sharp angle over the net.


  • Deep: Identifies sending the ball from the web, toward the baseline of the opponent’s court.
  • Defense: Among the 6 basic skills. The main element skills used to get the opponent’s attack are digging and sprawling. The dig resembles a forearm pass from a minimal ready position and can be used more for balls that are hit close to the defender. The sprawl is because an attempted dig for a ball hit farther from the defender. It resembles a dive.
  • Dig: Passing a spiked or rapidly hit ball and low to ground. Defensive play. Slang for retrieving an attacked ball near to the floor. Statistically scored on a 3.0 point system.
  • Dink: A one-handed, soft hit in to the opponent’s court using the fingertips. Also known as a tip.
  • Double block: Two players employed in unison to intercept a ball at the web.
  • Double strike: Violation. Two successive hits by the same player.
  • Down Ball: Kind of attack. “Down” identifies the blockers who neither jump, nor raise their hands above the web.
  • Dump: Usually performed by the setter, who delivers the ball in to the opponent’s court on the next contact.