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Volleyball Terms Defined…

There are specific volleyball terms that are used by players and coaches. In fact, all sports have their own terminology. If you are going to learn to play volleyball, you must also learn the terms that go with this sport. Terms used by players can usually mean surprising things. Learn about them below.


Ace: This volleyball term means that the ball was served and it hit the floor on the other side without anyone touching it and you scored a point. It can also mean the other team miss-passed the ball on the serve.

Back Set: This is when the setter sets the ball over his head and to the opposite hitter.

Block: When the defensive team jumps up with their hands over the net and tries to stop the hitter from hitting it onto their side of the floor.

Dig: A dig is when a defensive player passes the ball off of a hard spike.

Dink: When the hitter tips the ball over the blockers so that it lands right behind them. Unless the back row is prepared for it, it usually results in a kill.

Dump: When a setter that is on the front row tips the ball over the net on the second hit.
Field Goal Block

Field Goal Block: This is a block where the blocker spreads his or her arms too wide and the hitter will hit the ball through the uprights. This usually results in the blocker getting hit in the face like this picture to the left.

Fish: A person that frequently hits the net while blocking or hitting.

Floater: A softer serve that is intended to surprise the defense much like an off-speed pitch in baseball.
Kill: When a hitter successfully hits the ball and it hits the floor in bounds on the other team’s side.

Pancake: This is a sexy defensive play. This is when the a player dives for a ball and puts his hand on the ground and the ball bounces off the hand without it touching the floor.Example of net penetration and blocking
Penetration: It means reaching as far over the net while blocking as possible so that the ball will land on the other teams side when it hits your hands. Good penetration also reduces the angles that the hitter has to work with. Here is a picture of some players demonstrating good penetration of the net.
Pipe: A phrase used to signify that the back row hitter is prepared to hit from the behind the attack line.

Quick Attack: When the middle blocker makes their hitting approach right next to the setter and jumps as the setter sets it. This is a very quick attack.

Roof: A slang term meaning that a player was blocked. Dude, you roofed him!

Shank: A phrase that is used when a team miss-passes the serve.

Tooling the BlockShoot: This volleyball term is a type of set that is quick to the outside hitter. The outside hitter is usually jumping at the time the setter gets the ball and the setter pushes it just barely higher than the net and the hitter hits the ball.

Side Out: When the non-serving team wins the point.

Tool: Intentionally hitting the ball off of the blocker’s hands which results in a point. As you can see in this picture to the left.

I hope that these explanations have helped you understand some of what you might hear on the court.

If there are additional volleyball terms you would like to see added to this page, please notify me here.

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