How Do Volleyball Rotations Work?

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When it comes to volleyball, there are a lot of rules and mechanics that might confuse novice players. If you are new to this sport, you might be wondering “how do volleyball rotations work?’’, and how to do them correctly.

How Do Volleyball Rotations Work?

Every time your team is given the right to serve again, it must rotate. This occurs after the opposing team serves and your team wins the point. In this case, your team must rotate clockwise, allowing a player to become the new server in the back right position.

An image of a Volley game

Consider the following scenario: your opponent serves the ball and it goes out of bounds. This implies you have won the point and it is now your turn to serve. To accomplish this, all players must rotate clockwise.

The right-back player should move to the middle; the middle one to the left; the left one to the front row, in the left hitter position; the left hitter to the middle hitter position; and lastly, the right hitter to the back row, in the right-back position (the one who’s in charge of serving).

Learn the Positions

In order to further understand this mechanic, you need to learn the positions inside of the court. This will give you a better idea of how the team has to rotate. On top of that, it will improve your overall understanding of the game, which will allow you to understand strategies.

Right Back Position

This position is obligated to serve, and it is one of the main reasons why the rotation mechanic exists. Without rotations, the same player would serve every time, no matter what happens in the match. This would make the game unbalanced and less entertaining.

Here you can see the objectives of the right back position.

  • Serve the ball and try to perform an ace.
  • Quickly re-position themselves to defend against any of the opponent’s attacks.
  • Pass the ball to the setter.
  • When rotating, they have to move to the middle back position.

Middle Back Position

This position is often occupied by the libero, the player who’s in charge of keeping the ball alive at all costs. The libero is a defensive specialist and it has a lot of restrictions, for example, they cannot send the ball to the other side of the net. This would be a fault.

However, a libero is not limited to this position; this player can also rotate. If the libero is about to be rotated to the front row, it can be replaced at any time during the match. One of the advantages of liberos is that they can be substituted in and out as often as they wish.

When this position has to rotate, it has to move to the left-back position.

Left Back Position

This one is often occupied by a defender or a setter. If it is occupied by a defender, its main objective is to keep the ball alive, pass the ball, and prevent the opponent’s spikes from hitting the ground. Also, they can perform a back-row attack.

A volley game showing how Volleyball rotations work

On the other hand, if it is occupied by a setter, its main goal is to send a great ball to the hitters, who will then spike the ball and try to score a point. After that, the setter can also defend and try to keep the ball alive, although it is not recommendable.

When this position has to rotate, it has to move up to the front row, in the left hitter position.

Left Hitter Position

In basic terms, the left hitter’s objective is to block the opponent’s attacks (when the opposing team has possession of the ball) and to spike the ball (when his team has possession of the ball).

When the left hitter has to rotate, it has to move to the middle hitter position.

Middle Hitter Position

This one is also in charge of blocking and attacking. However, this one might often have a stronger presence when it comes to blocking. After all, he is usually the tallest and strongest player on the team.

When the middle hitter has to rotate, it should move to the right hitter position.

Right Hitter Position

This position is in charge of the offense and defense of the team. It is often the main attacker of the team. When this position has to rotate, it must go back to the back row, to the right-back position. This mean, they will have to serve.

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about rotations in volleyball.

What Are the Positions in Volleyball Called?

In volleyball, there are six roles, the left hitter, the middle blocker, the outside hitter, the setter, the libero, and the defensive specialist. They are all part of the offense and defense of every team.

Do You Have to Rotate if the Opposing Team Makes a Faul While Serving?

Yes, if the opponents commit a fault while serving, you will win a point as well as the right to serve. This means that your team has to rotate and serve the ball.


Although mastering volleyball mechanics can be difficult, it is critical to play the game correctly. Additionally, they allow the game to be balanced; after all, without rotations, matches could get monotonous.

Alfonso Andrade is an avid sportsman, growing up playing soccer and volleyball. He is a coach and sports analyst, studying the game to analyze performance and help create improvement.