How to Be a Good Setter in Volleyball

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

All successful volleyball teams have one thing in common. They all have a good setter who helps a volleyball team to organize attacks. It’s the main responsibility of a setter to set the ball for hitters so that they can carry out successful hits and earn points.

In this article, we’ll discuss the best tips that will help you understand how to be a good setter in volleyball to improve your game as a setter.

How to Be a Good Setter in Volleyball

If you want to be a setter, use the following tips to improve your setting skills.

A topless man wearing white shorts and black sunglasses is setting the ball towards the man wearing a black shirt near the yellow volleyball net

Learn the Right Setting Technique

The first and the most important tip to becoming a good setter is to learn the right setting technique. Here’s how you can achieve it.


Place your feet shoulder-width apart so that they’re not too close or too wide and bend your knees slightly. If you’re a right-hander, make sure that you place your right foot one to two inches ahead of your left foot. Do the same using your left foot if you’re a left-hander for a more stable posture.


Whether you need to set the ball while moving or standing still, make sure that you keep your back straight. There must be no bending at the hips or waist as you need to keep your back perfectly perpendicular to the net.

It’ll allow you to have enough control and power to set the ball’s trajectory so that it sets up perfectly for a hitter. Additionally, it’ll also help you jump and land in the same position while having complete control over your arms, shoulders, and torso.


The best way to position your arms is to place your hands on your hips and raise them in the air. Make sure that you don’t change the position of your finger and the angles of your elbows. You’ll only need to close the gap between your hands so that you can connect and set the ball easily.

Using this technique will ensure that your elbows have the correct angle and that your fingers are spaced in the right way. Position your arms this way when the ball is about two to three feet high right above your head.


The palms of your hands should face the direction where you need to deliver the ball. For example, your palms should face the ceiling, if you need to set a high ball.

Your hands should be directly above (about four to five inches far) your forehead. In addition, you’ll need to spread out your fingers as if they’re making the shape of the ball while your index fingers and thumbs are making a triangle.

A woman with black hair wearing a white and black volleyball jersey is setting the ball on a volleyball court

Contacting the Ball

Quickly identify the spot where the ball will fall and get to that spot while keeping your back straight and your eyes up. Ideally, you should contact the ball right above your forehead’s center.

Touch the ball with all of your fingers and cover as much of the ball’s surface as possible. It’ll provide you with more control to send the ball where needed.

Push the ball upward in the desired direction by straightening your legs and arms as soon as it touches your fingers. Keep the contact time of your fingers with the ball as short as possible. Remember, your palms should be facing the direction where you need to send the ball.

Learn the Traits of a Good Setter

The following are some of the traits that you should have as a good setter.

  • Understand the playing style, strengths, and weaknesses of your hitters to utilize their abilities better.
  • Motivate your teammates in all situations, especially hitters as they’re always under pressure.
  • Be humble and deal with your teammates with humility by keeping in mind that everyone makes mistakes.
  • Keep communicating to let your teammates know your move.
  • Learn to make decisions quickly so that you can plan for each setting move while the ball is in the air. It requires experience and practice.
  • Always have a plan B to switch things up if your primary plan isn’t working. For example, set the ball for your hitter to swing it from the back row to catch the opponent off-guard.
  • Use a defense-first approach and wait for the right moment to release from your base. You can miss even an easy pass if you start running too early to make an offensive move.

Analyze Quickly

As a setter, you need to have a good awareness of your surroundings so that you can take in and process information quickly. You should be able to analyze the spin and trajectory of the coming ball and set it for the hitter correctly, depending on the type of set they’re good at hitting.

Analyzing information quickly will allow you to set the ball properly for the hitter. Additionally, it’ll also help you use different styles of setting to make it difficult for the other team to understand your plants.

Have a Strategy

As a setter, it’s your responsibility to plan out a strategy with your teammates, depending on the playing style of the opponent team. For example, if there is a bit slower middle blocker on the other team, discuss it with your teammate and focus on some fast plays against the middle blocker.

It’ll allow you to increase the chances of utilizing every scoring opportunity successfully. Additionally, if there’s a strong and tall blocker on the other side of the net, lined up against your short hitter, you’ll need to follow a strategy of not setting the ball close to the net.

You should also be able to improvise during the match to modify your strategy, based on everything happening on the court.

A woman in a ponytail wearing a colorful sports bra is tossing the volleyball near a yellow net in the beach volleyball game

Listen to Your Teammates

You must be open to suggestions and learn to listen to your teammates. They might have something valuable that you may have missed, which will help you understand the vulnerabilities of the other team. It’s not advisable to assume that you know everything and have all the answers.

For example, if one of your teammates says that one of the defensive players of the other team is weak, then you should change your strategy. You’ll need to start setting the ball for the hitters so that they can easily hit deep.

Keep in mind that your main job, as a setter, isn’t about having all the answers and solutions. It’s about using all the information available about the game, whether it’s coming from your observation or your teammates.

Be Physically Fit

If you’re a setter, you would already know that you need to change your directions during the game quickly. You need to instantly reach the spot where the ball is dropping, which requires agility and physical fitness.

If you’re in good shape, you’ll be able to set the ball for hitters so that they can hit it timely. As a result, your team will be able to execute the pass/set/hit sequence successfully, which can increase the chances of scoring.

The best way to remain physically fit is to practice as much as possible using different setting drills. It’ll make your muscles stronger, which you need to use to set the ball.

Final Words

Becoming a good setter in volleyball requires discipline, time, effort, and constant practice. It’s a tough position that requires you to be both physically and mentally strong. I hope this guide will help you become the volleyball setter and leader that your team needs.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.