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The 5-1 rotation has 1 setter and 5 hitters. This rotation allows for the greatest flexibility and consistency for a team's offense and defense. So for a team to be successful each player must understand their position on the court.

The following describes the basic serve-receive set-up and basic defensive posture.

These diagrams are only a starting point. All players should be able to adapt to the opposing team.

Basic Principles To Keep In Mind:

1. Communication

The best tool on the court is YOUR MOUTH!

  • Call EVERY ball.
  • Talk to your team before, during and after each play.
  • Stay positive.
  • Focus on what you should be doing NOT on what you shouldn't be doing.

2. Know Your Position

Each player should have a specific and identified position - 2 middles, 2 outside or left-side hitters, a setter and an opposite (i.e. opposite the setter) or right-side hitter.

After the serve-receive or after the ball is sent to the other side, players should transition to their designated positions - the front-row middle to the middle; the back-row middle to the middle-back, deep; the front row outside to the left; the back-row outside to left-wing; the setter and the opposite, always to the right side.

5-1 Rotation Diagram

3. Know Your Opposite

Players line up opposite each other and remain so throughout the rotation.

In Diagram 1A, S is the setter, lined up diagonally across from the opposite (3). 2 and 5 are middles; 1 and 4 are outsides. If you get confused during a match, look for your opposite.

4. Don't Overlap

At the moment of the serve, players must be in the correct position. Those out of rotation are considered to be "overlapping". This applies amoung front-row players and amoung back-row players.

In the rotation shown in 1A, for example, 3 can never be to the right of 2; 5 can never be to the left of 4. (It is impossible for 2 to be to the left of 4, as long as 4 remains to the left of 5 and 2 remains to the right of 3).

5. Transition

Once the server makes contact with the ball, the receiving team should transition quickly.

Before the ball passes the plain of the net...

  • the setter should be in position, right of centre, ready to receive the pass.
  • Hitters should move to their position and be ready to take an approach.

6. Always Pass Right

It does not matter where the setter is coming from, passes should always be right-of-center about 2 feet off the net.

It is the setter's responsibility to be in position each and every time. The passers need a visual and auditory target to direct the ball.

Even when passing falters, it is critical that the setter be in position; all 'emergency sets' should begin from right-of center.

7. Listen To Your Setter

The Setter is the quarterback of the team.

When setting up the serve receive, each player should look to the setter for hitting instructions. Setter, therefore, should be familiar with the set-up of each rotation.

Click To Learn Rotations 1 through 6:

Volleyball Court Central > Volleyball Offense > 5-1 Rotation Explained