Volleyball jargon glossary
the free encyclopedia,
Become a member of TranslationDirectory.com at just
$8 per month (paid per year)
Use the search bar to look for terms in all glossaries, dictionaries, articles and other resources simultaneously
This is a list of the more common English volleyball jargon terms:
- Ace :
A serve which lands in the receiving team's court
without being touched by the receiving team, or
one that is touched by only one member of the receiving
team, and is not passed legally back over the net.
- Cut / Cut shot : An attack
with an extreme angle (nearly parallel to the net).
- Dig : A defensive contact following
an opponent's attack resulting in a playable ball.
- Double contact / Double : A
fault in which a player contacts the ball with two
body parts consecutively.
- D.S. : The abbreviation for "defensive
specialist", a position player similar to the libero.
- Dump :leap is A surprise attack usually
executed by a front row setter to catch the defense
off guard; many times executed with the left hand,
sometimes with the right, aimed at the donut or
area 4 on the court.
- Five-one :
Six player offense where a single designated setter
sets regardless of court position.
- Free ball : A ball that is passed
over the net because an attack wasn't possible.
- Four-two : Six player offense where
there are two designated setters and the front row
- Joust : when the ball is falling directly
on top of the net, two opposing players jump and
push against the ball, trying to push it onto the
- Kill : A successful, legal, point-scoring
- Mis-hit : A hit in which a player
swings but does not contact the ball as intended,
giving it a different speed, direction, and spin
than the player intended.
- Pepper :
A drill in which players hit a ball back and forth,
without a net.
- Seam : When serving, the spot between
passers; when attacking, the spot between blockers.
- Shank : When a player unintentionally
passes a ball in a wild manner, rendering it unplayable
to his or her teammates.
- Shot : An offensive play in which
a set ball, rather than being spiked hard, is directed
to an open area of the court.
- Side out : When the team that served
the ball loses the rally, causing the other team
to serve the next point.
- Six-two : Six player offense where
there are two designated setters and the back row
setter sets. Called six-two because there are two
setters and six other players (2 outsides, two middle
hitters, and two right-side hitters)
- Spike : When an offensive player attacks
the ball with a one-arm motion done over the head,
attempting to get a kill.
- Strong side : The left side of the
court, so-called because it is usually the easier
side to right-handed players to attack from.
- Weak side : The right side of the
court, so-called because it is generally easier
for right-handed players to attack from the left
('strong') side. Also known as the Opposite side.
Types of sets
- A :
A back row set aimed at the left side of the court.
Also could be a quick set to the middle.
- Back-Two: A ball set relatively high and
to the middle or to the right side hitter, directly
behind the setter.
- Back-One: A ball set relatively low (or
quick) to the middle hitter or to the right side
hitter, directly behind the setter.
- Bick : Similar to the "pipe", but
set very low
- C / D : A back row set aimed
at the right side of the court.
- Chaos: An outside in which the middle runs
a one, the outside comes for a two off the middle's
shoulder, and the wearkside runs around the back
to hit an outside 3.
- Dick: Similar to the "Bick", But for the
right side of the court(D ball).
- Five / Back : Same as a four
set, but to the weak-side.
- Four : A high set to the outside hitter.
- Hut / Loop : A lower set to
the outsider hitter. Higher than a shoot.
- One / Quick : A type of middle
hit when the middle jumps before the setter sets,
with the ball being set directly to the middle hitter's
- Pipe : A ball set toward the middle
of the court for a back-row attack.
- Shocker: A attack in which the Middle runs
a one, the Opposite comes for a two off the middle's
shoulder, and the Outside runs/slides around to
hit a back-two.
- Shoot : A variation on the quick set
except instead of setting the ball to the middle
the ball is set to the outside hitter.
- Slide : An attack where the hitter
fakes a quick-set (one) approach with his/her first
step and subsequently chases the ball behind the
setter and parallel to the net, jumps off one foot
and hits the ball close to the antenna on the weak-side.
- Ten : A ball set for a back row attack.
- Three / Thirty-Three : A quick
lower set to the outside.
- Thirty-Two: An attack where the hitter
fakes a quick-set (one) approach with his/her first
step and subsequently chases the ball in front of
the setter and parallel to the net, jumps off one
foot and hits the ball in the outside 3 position.
Generally used as adapted version of the Slide for
- Two : A ball set to the middle hitter.
Also, a "back two" is the same set set behind the
- Cross (X) : A play in which the middle
hitter jumps for a one, and the weak-side hitter,
having moved to the middle of the court, takes an
approach for a two at the same location.
- Thirty One / Inside Shoot :
A play in which the middle hitter runs a one ball
5 to 10 feet away from the setter.
- Stack / Tandem : Similar to
the "cross" but the outside hitter hits the two
- Thirty Stack : A play in which the
middle hitter runs a Thirty One and the Outside
Hitter runs a Thirty Two
Methods of contacting the ball
dig : A dig made using both hands and fingers
to surround the ball, squeeze and actually slightly
lift the ball. Allowed when defending against a
hard hit on the beach.
- Bump : Similar in motion to a pass,
but used to set a ball for an attack.
- Chicken wing : When a defending player
is forced to react very quickly to a ball coming
at their upper torso, the player may lift a bent
arm in the shape of a chicken wing to dig the ball.
- Cobra : With the fingers extended
straight and stiff, the ball is poked with the fingertips.
- Dump: When on second contact the ball is
purposely returned over the net instead of set to
a hitter, which may result in a kill when the defense
in unaware. Usually enacted by the setter.
- Flipper : A reaching contact made
with the outstretched back of the hand in a flipping
motion. Popularized by beach player Andy Fishburn.
- Floater/Float : A non-spinning
serve that is unpredictable because its path is
perturbed by air currents above the court, similar
to a knuckleball
- Gator : A defensive digging technique
used on the beach in the defense of a hard hit ball.
The hands are formed into the shape of 2 gator jaws
(the left hand on top and the right hand on bottom).
The maneuver involves digging the ball with the
bottom right hand and then directing it with the
upper left hand.
- Jump float : A jumping float server.
- Jump serve / Jumper : a serve
made famous by Karch
Kiraly; the serving player tosses the ball in
the air and into the court, then uses an attack
approach to jump and serve the ball.
- Kong : A one-handed block, usually
because the blocker is late. Initially popularized
by Randy Stoklos.
- Pancake : When a player digs the ball
by extending his or her hand flat on the floor,
bouncing the ball off the back of the hand.
- Pokey / Camel toe : A ball
contacted with the knuckles especially on the beach.
- Roll Shot : An attacker hits the set
softly putting extreme topspin on the ball so that
it will clear the block and drop quickly and directly
over the block.
- Sprawl : A type of dig in which the
player does not dive forward, but rather places
his hands on the ground and pushes his body forward
and down. Similar to diving for a ball, but not
actually leaving the ground.
- Sky ball : A unique underhand serve
in which the ball is shot unusually high into the
air above the oppossing team's court in the attempt
to confuse the receiver.
- Thunder: A spike or attack that requires
a lot of force from the arm, and a very high jump.
The ball is hit steeply downwards from the point
of contact, and is very difficult to receive.
- Tip : A softer or off-speed finesse
attack, usually committed with more of the fingers
and fingertips than the whole hand as used in an
- Wipe / Swipe : When one player
pushes the ball against the opponents block and
physically wipes the ball out of bounds. Similar
to a tool.
Bounce / Thump: A ball spiked very
hard with a steep downward angle. A hit that lands
inside the 10 foot line.
- Beer: When an attacked ball goes through
a defenders legs. After being "Beered" the defender
then owes the attacker a beer.
- Butter / Nectar / Sauce :
A perfect set.
- Deep Dish/Chicago style pizza : An
illegal set that is held excessively long, typically
set from below the shoulders and seen in beach volleyball.
- Dime : A perfect pass.
- Facial / Six-Pack / Tattoo :
When a defending player gets hit in the face with
the ball either from an attack by the opposing team
or by a deflection off the block. The term "six-pack"
refers to the dizzying sensation of being hit directly
in the head or face by a volleyball as being analogous
to the dizzying sensation of having drunk a six
pack of beer. It may also possibly refer to a tradition
where the player hit by the spike must buy the hitter
a six-pack (usually of beer) or because the abdominal
muscles are sometimes referred to as a "six-pack",
so getting hit in the stomach by the ball is getting
'six-packed'. The term "tattoo" refers to marks
left on the skin of the hit player by the seams/lettering
on the ball.
- Fishing: Making illegal contact with the
- Hands : Hand setting. Someone with
"nice hands" sets well.
- Heat : Speed. Used to describe a hard-hit
- House / Stuff / Roof :
When the defensive player blocks a ball so hard
that it is immediately returned to the hitter and
goes straight to the floor.
- Hubby-wife : In beach volleyball,
when a serve drops between two players because the
players don't decide in time who will pass it.
- Jungleball / Barbecue ball / Picnic
ball : A volleyball game played by inexperienced
players with little ball control.
- Nail : A perfect pass.
- Paintbrush / Whiff : A mishit
— when a player attempts to hit (or spike) the ball
with the open hand and nearly misses the ball, only
contacting the ball with his/her fingers resulting
in a backspin on the ball.
- Popcorn setting/Sprinkler :
When an unskilled setter is sending sets in a random
pattern (like popcorn being popped, or like a water
sprinkler on the grass).
- Rainbow : A shot especially on the
beach that is hit over the head of the defender
to the far corner and lands cleanly. Also known
as a Jumbo Shrimp (due to the arc/shape of the shot).
- Scrappy : Referring to a team that
doesent let a single ball hit the ground without
much effort. (used positively)
- Shag : Picking up and collecting scattered
- Spalding: when the hitters hit the ball
and it hits the opposing defensive team in the face
or on their body. Spalding refers to the letters
of the ball staying on the players face because
it hit them so hard.
- Tool / Use : An attack which
is deflected off an opponent (usually during a block)
and is unplayable resulting in a point for the attacking
- Trap : A ball set too close to the
net where the hitter typically gets stuffed.
- Vegas Line: A kill resulting from a powerful
hard-line spike that penetrates or beats the opponents'
line block. So-named after Sean Rosenthal, a member
of the AVP
delivered such a memorable kill in Las Vegas, 2005.
See all sports glossaries:
Published - January 2009
glossary is available under the terms
of the GNU Free Documentation
Find free glossaries at TranslationDirectory.com
Find free dictionaries at TranslationDirectory.com
Subscribe to free TranslationDirectory.com newsletter
Need more translation jobs from translation agencies? Click here!
Translation agencies are welcome to register here - Free!
Freelance translators are welcome to register here - Free!
Submit your glossary or dictionary for publishing at TranslationDirectory.com