Types of sets in volleyball

Types of sets in volleyball game

While playing volleyball, having knowledge of different players and their primary location is also crucial to understanding. As we know different players (Attacker, hitter, setter, and libero) are categorized based on their skills and hitting strategy. In previous we have already understood about libero, nevertheless, in this blog, our prime focus will be a setter along with a hitter’s role.

An attacker might get upset if I say that setters have the most important place in a game both as his strategy and playing tactics. But yeah! It’s true a good spike also depends upon the way the setter sets the ball for his attacker. Without a setter, there is no hitter to make the score and win the game.

As the name suggests, the setter is all about beginning the attack with a good set, and then the hitter understands the nature of spinning of ball, getting a hard spike against the opponent team. Whether you are a coach, coaching setter, or a person who wants to orchestrate good sets for the team, here is the complete guide about different types of sets in volleyball. Let’s benefit from my own 10 years of volleyball career.

What are the types of sets in volleyball?

The sets are typically the contact towards the ball created by the setter to fly the ball in the air so that a hitter can jump forward and spike it across the net. However, the sets made out of the system are not considered as quality sets, rather the term bump set is defined for them.

What are the three main sets?

Let’s discuss three primary categories of sets;

  • The slow set is also called as Third Tempo.
  • The Second Temp
  • The fast set is known as First Temp.

Let’s begin with the slow one;

  • Slow set (Third Tempo):

This type of set is mainly to entertain the beginners so that they can judge the velocity and direction of the ball and prepare themselves for a good spike. Although the third tempo is not associated with the noob setter, the beginner attacker surely gets benefit from it.

The Slow setting of the ball by an attacker is quite helpful to find out the trajectory by an attacker, also it gives opportunity to the attacker to orchestrate a high jump and hit with his full potential. This is how slow sets make things easy for the hitter. Nevertheless for this, strong communication between the setter and the hitter is required.

The slow tempo is again sub-categorised into the following;

I. The Four:

The four categories of sets are the highest ones. The ball goes upward at almost 3 meters, giving the hitter plenty of time to judge the ball’s direction. Then it falls downward at almost inside of the left antenna (left hitter opportunity). Here, the ball goes almost one meter above the volleyball net.

II. The Five:

The set is similar as mentioned above but in the opposite direction. The ball goes three above the floor and returns toward the right-side hitter. Allow him to give a hard spike.

III. The Two:

Now, the ball is supposed to fly only one meter higher, so that the middle attacker will give his try. In this setting, the setter means to set the ball almost in front of him, to give a chance to the middle attacker to prove his capabilities.

  • Second Tempo set

This type of set is naturally faster than the previous one. Those who are skilled, and have good confidence in their hitting potential use this strategy.

Here the setters are comparatively near to the volleyball net in terms of distance and height. Providing a swift approach towards the ball.

In the second temp volleyball set, the attackers have less time to spike the ball, providing less opportunity for the blocker to block the ball. 

In this case, the game is all dependent upon the attacker’s aggressive game. The more skilled he is, the harder spike it will get.

The second tempo provides maximum spikes to the left and right attackers, meanwhile, the middle attacker gets a couple of shots in this regard.

IV. The Hut

Ever listen to the players yell the word “HUT”? It means they are asking for a fast set, with a minimum height of approximately one meter toward the outside attacker. This makes things terrific, allowing the left attacker to take swift action. It’s time for the left attacker to show his skills.

V. The 32

 Consider this term as a prank with the blocker as it confuses whether the middle attacker is going to spike or the left one.

The word 31 is associated with it, the attacker who calls 31 fakes the swing meanwhile the other hits the ball hardly.

This really confuses the blocker to judge which one is going to orchestrate the shot.

VI. The Red

The Red is the same as the Hut but it goes for the right attacker to present its talent towards a fast-coming aggressive ball. Again the setter sets the ball one meter above the court with a swift approach. This time the direction is headed toward the right-side hitter.

For this, the attacker moves back to give proper trajectory and direction to the ball.

Fast Tempo (The first one)

Talking about the first Tempo volleyball set, as the name reveals this is the toughest one of all. Only the players having excellent skills and who are used to playing an offensive game can continue it.

This set has a minimum trajectory and the fastest pass toward the attacker, making things troublesome and doubtful for the blocker of the rival team. 

Things get tough not only for opponents but for attackers too, as the game becomes incredibly fast, and the attacker needs to lean swiftly and spike furiously to get a score. The time between the setter hit and the attacker’s swift spike is almost less than nanoseconds. Within this crucial tough time, the attacker has to judge the ball and spike it hard across the net.

This also forces the blocker to continuously shift his position ultimately exhausting him.

VII. The Shoot

Another name for this set is “Go”, a furious and hurried one.

The setter set the ball quickly with a heavy strike, that jumped beyond one meter. The hitter spikes the ball by considering the accurate timing of the spike. This spike almost goes parallel to the hitter with ultimate speed and strength. This creates trouble for the blocker, as the ball comes out with almost unbeatable strength, and the opponent team needs a fully skilled blocker to overcome this attack.

Things go amazing if the setter knows the perfect place to land towards the hitter. Although, it is a hard strike, but yeah! Most of the time opponents fail to block such a furious attack.

VIII. The Half Shoot

Considering the half-shoot volleyball set, what name suggest? It travels about half the distance and is perfect for a surprise attack.  Both the hitter on the left side (outside hitter) and the middle attacker can take advantage of this speedy set.  Another name for it? You might hear it called a “three.” 

The key to a successful half shoot is its intricate timing. In this case, the setter, while throwing the ball upward needs to communicate with the attacker.  Remembering where the hitter prefers the ball to be set is crucial for pulling off this fast and effective move! 

IX. The 31

This is the same as half shoot but with more spark and less time. Here, again the ball go up and comes down with an incredibly swift approach. This set is exclusively orchestrated for the middle attacker, as soon as the ball contacts the setter, the middle better becomes ready to spike it with ultimate timing accuracy.

X. The Back Set

You might hear this called a “quick set” because it’s a faster, lower set delivered right behind the setter. This sneaky surprise attack gives goosebumps to the opponent team.

The ball appears out incredibly faster, the hitter has to spike within a nano-second to achieve his goal which is making it harder for the opposing team to react.

Because it’s set behind the setter, the blockers on the other side might be fooled into thinking the setter is going somewhere else. This gives the hitter a clear shot at the ball.

The middle blocker on the other team has a tough time reacting to this set because they have to cover a wider area and adjust quickly.

This sneaky back set can be a powerful weapon in your volleyball arsenal, especially when combined with a skilled middle hitter!

XI. The Slide

Volleyball gets even more intense with this tough move. This is where the middle blocker (the player in the center) gets to show off some cool efforts.

Imagine the blocker starts facing the net, ready for a normal hit. In the slide, they actually take a few steps backward (like the opposite of a jump shot in basketball) before jumping. This throws the hitter (the player who hits the ball over the net) off a bit, making it harder for the other team to block.

The blocker jumps off one foot and slides their body to the right side of the court, all while hitting the ball with a powerful swing. It’s a quick and surprising move that can catch the other team off guard!

The beauty of the slide is its flexibility and sudden movement. Depending on how the team is positioned and who’s spiking on the other side, the blocker can adjust their slide to hit the ball anywhere near the right antenna. This keeps the other team guessing and makes it harder to block effectively.


Considering all the types of sets in volleyball, you might understand its importance and intricacy. Different sets allow different ways for the hitter to spike the ball to its full potential. The power and skills are required, but the correct timing and the speedy movement are also the key to score the match. It all depends upon good communication and understanding between the setter and the hitter. Meanwhile, the yelling 32, Red, Hut, and 31 also create distinction in this regard. 

Don’t be too hurried while going for a fast tempo, better to practice with the second and third tempo before to get accuracy in ball judgment. This will make things smoother than ever. 

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