Volleyball Rotation

  • I have always wonder what is the "rules" in deciding the rotation of the players? Like, how do the coach decide which player got to be MB1 and MB2, OH1 and OH2 and so on. How do they put all of this together?


    Like for instance, during VNL match of JAPAN vs SERBIA, Lisinac was MB2; when he is usually MB1 (I am referring to the rotation of serve, Lisinac is the 2nd MB to serve). What makes this change?


    And how do the coach put the main attacking MB and OH (alongside the OPP) and spread them on court in between the MB2 and OH2.


    What is the criteria to be the 1st and 2nd tho?


    I am sorry I ave lots to ask. Hopefully y'all can chime in so everyone can have better understanding of the game. Thanks!

  • great questions. I would like to learn about these things, too. I don't even get what MB1 v MB2 is. Which one swaps with the libero?


    perhaps related to this ... how does the libero factor into rotations? Is s(he) just skipped over and doesn't participate? In other words does the server go from position 1 to position 5? How does that work because the libero can't rotate into the front row.


    Anecdotally, I'll say I was surprised how the players do these fake lineups at the serve and then they just go where they want to go. It makes sense to me now as I've gotten to know a little about the game, but it was a surprise bit of info at the beginning of my journey.

  • I do think that it depends on the coach. While the common answer is OH1 is your offensive OH and OH2 is the defensive OH(which means she/he need to be good in receiving and digging). MB1 is the MB who is more good in blocking, MB2 is more good in attacking or can be use as an offensive MB. It can be the reverse of it too. It can be both of it depending on the skills of the players;




    About which MB swaps with libero, the answer is both. And it happens after the other team scores when the server is the MB. By the time the libero goes to the frontrow, she/he will swap with the MB cuz the other MB will be serving.


    I like this topic. We can actually learn from this.

  • First, this a comment to test how the new forum works and how it renders new posts :)


    It is also a good opportunity to jump into the topic. Well, we surely can a learn a lot here, guys, but these are basic questions which any passionate volleyball fan should know.


    I will build on nnnneil0929's answer. Yes, usually OH1 is the offensive OH, whereas OH2 is touted as the defensive specialist. However, this is on paper. We've seen a lot of cases when their positions are swapped. Or when both OHs are equally good in receiving/attacking. There are lot of things in play here. A coach very often defines his starting rotation (yes, an OH can be placed anywhere in the starting formation) based on who won the toss, who serves first, how the opposition will start the match, what tactics the opposition used in the tournament/league so far, or who of his own OHs serves and will rotate to zone 1 (serving zone) as soon as possible. I've seen very often the case that if an OH is the best server in team, he will either start the match from zone 1 (in case his team loses the toss), or from zone 2 (in case his team will receive first) and then immediately go to the service line. Thus, it is mathematically assured that he will get as many serving chances as possible. I've seen cases (documented and confirmed by the coach himself) when the whole rotation has been accustomed to accommodate a team's best servers - an OH, an MB, and an OPP in that specific case. Hence, they are placed one after the other in the rotation, regardless of whether you name them OH1, MB1, or whatever.


    A coach might better confirm whether this is true for MBs, but they would often start with their best MB up front. If he is a good server, he may start directly from zones 2 or 3, for instance. If he is a good blocker, he might start from zone 4, for instance, and stay for the whole 3 rotations up front before moving to the service line. Which is where the libero replaces him in the back row after their team loses the service rally. Yes, the libero changes both serving MB, MB1 and MB2. But only the one who has just served.


    To sum up, there are ways for every coach to define his team's starting positions. There is a whole lot more than just placing your best players on OH1 and MB1, for instance. Depending on what they scouted and how he arranges players on court, he might gain a significant advantage during the game. It is for sure a tactical situation which looks different on senior level, but again it may vary from coach to coach and level to level.

  • i'm not sure what you meant by "fake line-ups and then they go anywhere they want in the rotation." players have to maintain their respective positions relative to each other at the serve, and then they can move to their designated positions.


    also, a note in regards to the libero switching with MBs. there's no rule that says they sub for MBs in the backrow, although that's what happens 98% of the time. this is because MBs are usually tall and clunky players that don't specialize in defense. but at least in the women's game, there's some occasions when the MB stays in the backrow. eve from the DOM team is an example. she is better at backrow play than other players, so she stays in the backrow, and the libero can come in and sub for one of the OH/OPP. also if a backrow specialist comes in as a serving sub for the MB, then same happens, the libero can sub for an OH/OPP and then the team has 2 backrow specialists together.


    in the past, the CUB women's team also played with the MBs in backrow.


    also you know that the libero cannot serve, right? also, cannot set overhand in front of the 3-m line.

  • I think most coaches have different strategies but one of them is OH1, the spiker closer to the setter is mostly receives 2 times from zone 6, which is often the easiest target by servers while OH2 receives only once from that position. Moreover OH2 receives 4 out of 6 rotations from zone 5, which makes it easier for him/her to learn it by heart. So often the worse receiver is OH2.


    For women, MB1 is the slide attacker while MB2 attacks from the zone 3. That is because opposite is in the front row together with MB2 except only 1 of the 3 rotations.

  • i'm not sure what you meant by "fake line-ups and then they go anywhere they want in the rotation." players have to maintain their respective positions relative to each other at the serve, and then they can move to their designated positions.

    The first time I noticed someone receive a serve and then run up and spike it over the net I thought "Wait a minute -- don't back row people have to hit from behind the 3m line?" So I googled it.


    What I mean by fake lineups is that the person designated to be in pos4 doesn't actually have to be in pos4, they just have to be to the left of the person designated to be in pos3 and in front of the person designated to be in pos5. This makes sense to me now but it was weird when it was new info. Same with an OP whose designated rotation spot is pos4 but then as soon as the serve happens they run over to pos2. Again, makes sense now.


    Re: the libero. Lets say a team doesn't do a libero sub/switch, she just stays in and plays the whole game. Japan used to play this way with Arisa. Lets say she starts in pos6. After the first side out she "moves" to pos5. What happens after the next side out? She can't rotate to the front row. So does the player who was in pos6 just jump over her and into pos4? And does the libero remain frozen in pos5 forever, and has to always stay behind pos4 player and to the left of pos6 player.


    I'm sure you guys and girls can, but I can't, look at a team waiting to receive serve and determine quickly who's really where they are supposed to be. I suppose I could, like counting cards in blackjack, keep track of everyone but that's too much brain work :white:

  • It depends entirely on your team make up.


    Sometimes it is OH1 or OH2 who is better offensively or defensively.


    While it is true that pos 6 is the most targeted areas of servers, you have so many supporting passers coming from pos 1 to 5 all the time.


    Some players also consider pos 5(back left) the most difficult position to pass because of the distance to the setter and the hesitation to pass the ball because you are near two outside areas which is your left and your back.

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  • "Re: the libero. Lets say a team doesn't do a libero sub/switch, she just stays in and plays the whole game. Japan used to play this way with Arisa. Lets say she starts in pos6. After the first side out she "moves" to pos5. What happens after the next side out? She can't rotate to the front row. So does the player who was in pos6 just jump over her and into pos4? And does the libero remain frozen in pos5 forever, and has to always stay behind pos4 player and to the left of pos6 player. "


    the libero is a stand-in/sub for another player, so that player simply resumes his/her position at the net when the libero is about to rotate into the front row.

  • You can search keywords like "volleyball rotation 5-1" to learn the relationship of rotation and position. (5-1 means 5 attackers and 1 setter, most of the top teams use this line up)


    To know the rotation of receving team, I usually watch the setter's position first, then others will be easy to recognize.

  • You can search keywords like "volleyball rotation 5-1" to learn the relationship of rotation and position. (5-1 means 5 attackers and 1 setter, most of the top teams use this line up)


    To know the rotation of receving team, I usually watch the setter's position first, then others will be easy to recognize.


    So I've googled and kept my eye on the setter. And after watching that USA v JPN Friendly match from a steady cam behind one end, I can see how it works. :!:Mostly, kind of.

  • akitoakie

    Changed the title of the thread from “Volleyball Rotation - Which Player to Which Spot?” to “Volleyball Rotation”.
  • hye guys. just wanna ask for some clarification regarding the rotation. is it foul if the players on position 4 and position 5 to be on the same line during receiving serve? is it foul if the players on position 4 is slightly behind players on position 5 during receiving the serve? i know the rules about the players to your left and right during receiving but i don't know if the same rules applied for the in front and back court players. thanks in advance!

  • The player on pos.4 has to be closer to the net than the player on pos.5, but usually if it's about a few cm the referees won't call a rotation error for that.

    ouh okay so it means that player on position 4 has to be slightly in front of player on position 5 when receiving?


    another thing, when is the right time for a setter to move to the front court when she/he is in the back court when receiving serves? some people said once the opponent toss the ball to serve, the setter can make their moves. some other said the opponent have to hit the ball first then the setter is allowed to move. which one?

  • ouh okay so it means that player on position 4 has to be slightly in front of player on position 5 when receiving?


    another thing, when is the right time for a setter to move to the front court when she/he is in the back court when receiving serves? some people said once the opponent toss the ball to serve, the setter can make their moves. some other said the opponent have to hit the ball first then the setter is allowed to move. which one?

    As far as I know, the moment the server tosses the ball, everyone can move wherever they want