Volleyball Rotation

All About Volleyball Rotation and the Basic Rules of the Game

Volleyball rotation is essential when playing in everything from middle school to professional games. Most of the time even your typical pickup game of volleyball will encourage you to follow proper rotation. Failure to abide by the rotation can penalize your team and cause your teammates and coach to be extremely aggravated with your neglect of basic rotation rules. Throughout this article we will examine all you need to know about volleyball specifically drilling in on the topic of volleyball rotation.


Before going into rotation, let’s examine some of the basic rules of volleyball. First, there are six players on the court for each team at all times. Typically there are three in the front row as well as three in the back row. Second, your team is allowed to “touch” the ball a max of three times before you hit it over the net. Third, no person is able to hit the ball more than one time in a row. Fourth, no player is allowed to hold, catch, or obviously throw the ball at any point. Proper volleyball hits and spikes are to be used instead. Fifth, balls that fall inside or on the line are considered inbounds, while those that fall outside are out. Again, these are just the very basic rules without going too much in detail for the sake of time and space.

Now let’s move on to the topic of the article—volleyball rotation. In volleyball you must be at your designated spot before the serve to prevent penalization. However, after the serve you can move to the position that is typically designated by your coach. When discussing rotation, volleyball formation must also be taken into consideration. There are three frequently used formations (4-2, 5-1, and 6-2).  The 4-2 formation is typically only used by beginners and therefore will not be explored throughout this article.

First we will examine the 6-2 formation that refers to all six players acting as hitters, at some point, with two setters. Typically the coach will line up the setters in the rotation so that at all times there will be one of each in the front and back rows. Better yet, this rotation provides a strong offense as long as you have players who can act in these roles successfully (which is why it is not frequently used with true beginners). This is the formation that is seen in Cuba’s national team as well as the Women’s NCAA.

The other popular formation is the 5-1 in which a single person acts as the setter (as designated by the name); therefore, there are five hitters. In this case the opposite hitter is the designated the name “opposite player” instead of being another setter (like in the 6-2). This formation is typically used by those very good at volleyball and is great because at all times the setter has three hitters nearby. In truth, this formation is a mix of the other two.

In most cases of volleyball rotation, each player (except the libero—a specified defensive player wearing a different colored uniform) will rotate through the positions (right front, middle front, left front, and the same for the back row). After each turn (aka when the offense serves a point or the defense blocks), there will be a volleyball rotation. During this time the positions rotate clockwise. For example, the left back will rotate to the left front, the left front will rotate to the middle front, and so forth. This process is referred to as rotation.

In conclusion, this article examines the basics of volleyball rules, formation, and most importantly rotation. The most important thing to remember about rotation is that you only have to stay in your position until after the serve, then you can move to whatever designated spot your coach has given you. Rotations go in a clockwise manner and include the front and back rows. All in all, volleyball is an incredibly fast-paced sport with many rules and regulations (like other sports) that take a little time to learn but will greatly be worth the time spent. Go enjoy the game!