What Is an Attack in Volleyball?

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Since there are a lot of techniques and terms in volleyball, some people could get confused about them. If you are curious about this subject, you might wonder ‘’what is an attack in volleyball?’’ and how to do it successfully. 

What Is an Attack in Volleyball?

In volleyball, an attack occurs when a player hits the ball to score a point. Therefore, the ball does not have to go towards the opposite side of the court to be viewed as an attack. This is why both spiking and setting are considered attacks.

Player about to spike a ball

When a player sets the ball, the intention is for the hitter to spike the ball and score a point. Therefore, it is considered an attack because it has an offensive intent. I can go a step further, when a player passes the ball to the setter, it has offensive intentions as well.

Actions like receiving the serve and blocking are not considered attacks, on the other hand. These moves are defensive and primarily used to prevent the ball from hitting the ground on your side of the court. On top of that, serving is not considered an attack either.

How to Attack

To learn how to attack in volleyball, you must first understand all of the elements that involve an attack. This is because all of the moves performed are very important and have different levels of difficulty. By learning them, you will be able to improve as a volleyball player.


The pass is the first touch given to the ball to initiate the attack. It must always be quickly directed to the setter for the ball to be set. Although it is the first touch in an attack, it is often not the first touch of the team. This is because the serve receive is not counted as a touch.

Once a team receives the serve, it still has three touches to attack the opposition. Therefore, the pass will come after the reception of the serve. On top of that, it doesn’t always have to be directed to the setter; sometimes, a team can do a two-touch attack instead of three.


Setting is often the second touch in an attack, and it could be considered the most important one. This is because the setter can pass the ball to any of the hitters in the court and generate a scoring possibility. They could even do a setter dump.

This role is very important for the offense of the team. After all, a bad set could make hitters unable to reach the ball and score a point. Therefore, it requires a lot of training and hard work to master this position. Here are some tips to improve as a volleyball setter:

Players during a game of volleyball
  • Learn how your hitter play. This will help you avoid errors and misunderstandings.
  • Think before you play. Don’t set the ball anywhere, be strategic and think about a quick offensive plan.
  • Come up with deceptive plays that mess with your opponent’s defense,
  • Speak clearly and loudly. Communicating where the ball is going to go or where it comes from will greatly help your hitter locate and spike the ball.

Spiking or Dinking

Spiking is a move that is often done as the finishing touch of an offense. This technique sends the ball towards the opponent’s courtside to score a point. If the setter sends a good ball towards the hitter, they can reach it and spike it. 

However, there are other finishing touch types, such as the dink.  This is a deceptive move in which you gently tip the ball to score a point. To perform it, approach the ball as if you were going to spike it, then lightly tip it with your fingertips.

This is done to alter the ball’s path so that it is unreachable by the opponent. After all, they’re expecting a strong hit, not a tip.

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about attacking in volleyball.

What Is It Called When You Score a Point With a Spike?

When you score a point with a spike, it is called a kill. It doesn’t matter if the opposite blockers touch the ball or if they mess up their defense; if it touches the floor after a spike, it is considered a kill.

Can Liberos Attack in Volleyball?

No, libero players cannot attack the ball in volleyball. This is due to the many rules that restrict this role. Even though they can substitute freely, they cannot send the ball through the net. If they do, they will immediately lose the point.


When it comes to volleyball, knowing what is considered an attack can be a little bit confusing. However, when you learn how to attack and the elements that influence it, you can start evolving as a player.

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.