A Strong Defense Can Control Power In Any Game!

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Base Defense Explained

What do you think "rattles" a strong offensive team the most?

If you answered a "strong defense" you would be right! Nothing shakes up a power-house team more than playing a strong defensive team. Being able to dig all those killer spikes just by being in the right position can really wear a powerful team down — both physically and mentally!

Positioning is KEY in the sport of volleyball. If you are in the wrong position you can't play good defense — plain and simple! Not only that, but you will mess up your teamates if you are in the wrong playing position. Know where you need to be at all times!

Deep 6 Perimeter Defense

Playing a "Deep 6 Perimeter Defense" is when the team's Middle Back player in position 6 by service order stays wayyyy deep.

Perimeter defense means exactly that — the team is playing defense from the "perimeter" of the court. What this means is that everything inside or in front of them is "in", and everything outside or behind them is "out". Pretty straight forward really.

The diagram below shows the base defensive positions for a Deep 6 Defense. Your team should be in these positions prior to the ball being set by your opponent.

Position 6 should be on or outside of the base line. Position 6 is responsible for getting any hits or dinks to the back corners.

It is always easier to move forward facing the net to get a ball or dive than it is to move backwards to pass a ball forward - remember this! Also, position 6 needs to be ready and able to pick up "tools" of the blocker's hands.

volleyball base defense diagram

Base Defense: Areas of Responsibility

volleyball base defense areas of responsibility diagram

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Defense Positions - Left Side Attack

The defense move into the positions outline in the diagram below as the play develops. Passers need to have their feet planted and weight shifted forward on their toes before the attack hit is received.

volleyball base defense position for a left side attack

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Defense Positions - Left Side Attack Responsibilities

Diggers should NOT stand behind the block because if you can't see the ball it can't be driven hard at you, with the only exception being deep 6.

volleyball base defense areas of responsibility for a left side attack

Position 1 (Setter): When position 1 sees the set going to the outside hitter, 1 should run from the base position straight back to the sideline about 18ft from the net. The player should then put their right foot on the sideline and angle themselves towards the target position (where the setter sets from).

All defensive players should stop moving and have their feet set before the hitter contacts the ball.

Players should be on their toes with their weight forward watching the approach of the hitter, and the hitting shoulder of the hitter. If player 1 sees the hitter slowing down his hand, player 1 should break forward and pick up any "dinks" coming over the net. Or if there is a hard driven line shot this player will have to dig it.

Position 2: This right side blocker sets up a block as fast as they can. This is so that it is easy for the middle blocker to close the block. It is very important to set the block correctly. You should focus on penetrating over the net and pushing your hands towards their deep 6 player in an effort to prevents tools.

Position 3: The middle blocker should attempt to close up right beside the outside blocker. It is important not to drift sideways when jumping to avoid confusing your diggers - not to mention not wanting to break your teammates' ankles!

First responsibility is to 'seal' the block. The spot between you and the outside blocker. Your second responsibility is got get as much penetration as possible, pushing towards their middle back player. The more penetration, the more court you will block.

Position 4: The off side blocker should drop back to the 10ft lin. Note that it is important to not reach over your right shoulder to dig. The player behind you has everything to your right. This player needs to get the hits right to them, as well as, any dinks and deflections off the block.

Position 5: This player is the main angle digger. This player should try to dig the ball to the 10ft line to avoid an overpass kill for the other team.

Position 6: This is the hardest position to play correctly. Unless the block is not sealed this player should stay way deep and position themselves in line with the hitter's strongest hit. This will usually be in line with the angle at which to the hitter approached the ball. This player will pick up hits off the top of the block and any dinks to the corners.

If there is a hole in the block position 6 must move quickly into the court about 18 feet from the hitter in the hole so you can see the ball.

** The defense diagram below outlines what you should do when your Middle Blocker is late.

volleyball base defense left side attack diagram if there is a hole in the block if your Middle Blocker is late.

Defense - Blockers Blocking Line

In the next scenario if an outside set dies inside a lot of times you'll see a block set up like this next diagram.

volleyball base defense left side attacker with no line - block not adjusted properly

So you see illustrated above that the outside blocker has failed to adjust and move the block left to account for the ball. Yes, the attacker won't be able to hit line, BUT if he decides to be aggressive he may be able to kill a powerful angle shot because the blockers have not adjusted.

So if you look again at the diagram above, the setter will be behind the block if he plays a deep line shot. The setter should move down the line until he can see the ball around the block. This may mean that the setter remains inside the 10 foot line. Here the setter can pick up any short tips.

So you have to remember the digger needs to see the ball. If you can't see the ball you won't be able to dig any hard driven shots.

Also, the digger needs to play the perimeter of the court and stay on the line. They need to HOLD THE LINE even when coming up to defend any dink shots or tips.

Now let's look at the next diagram below which is a more effective and strong block.

volleyball base defense left side attacker - trap set

This scenario shows that the outside blocker has adjusted their block according to the failed set that dies inside. Now the block takes up almost 90% of all possible hard driven shots.

Defense Positions: Right Side Attack

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