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Fan's Guide to Volleyball Page 5 of 5 (Glossary)

volleyball player1- History & Object
2- The Essentials (Offense & Defense, Scoring, Etc.)
3- Court Diagram and Positions
4- Fouls
5- Glossary of Volleyball Terms


Ace: A point scored on a serve when the serve is either untouched or the first player to touch it cannot keep the ball in play.

Attack: Any hit into the opposing team’s court, other than a serve or block, such as a spike, tip, or dump.

Bump: Pass using the forearms, with the hands clasped together and arms locked at the elbows to direct the ball to the setter or attacker. Also known as the forearm or underhand pass.

Decoy: Deception strategy in which a player that is not going to hit the ball jumps at the same time as a player actually receiving the set.

Dig: Difficult defensive hit that keeps a kill attempt in play.

Dump: A surprise hit, usually by the setter on the second shot, pushed over the net when the opponent would normally expect the ball to be set.

Floater: A serve with no spin on the ball, which causes the ball to float over the net instead of dropping directly into the opposing team’s court.

Jump serve: Serve in which the server throws the ball in the air, then runs, jumps before the end line, hits the ball in the air, and lands on either side of the end line.

Kill: An attack, usually a spike, that the opposing team cannot return.

Lifting: Illegal hit, usually during a set or overhead pass, in which the player’s hands remains in contact with the ball too long.

Net ball: A playable ball that hits the net and goes over to the opponent’s side.

Overhead pass: Hit similar to a set, except used to send the ball over the net or to a teammate who doesn’t spike it.

Pass: Any hit to a teammate including a bump, overhead pass, set, and dig.

Red card: A card given to a player or coach by a referee for behaving in an unsportsmanlike manner. A red card also gives a point to the opposing team.

Rally: The length of play that begins with the serve and ends when a team scores a point.

Rally scoring: Modern scoring method in which a point is scored on every rally.

Roof: A block that grounds the ball on the opponent’s court and results in a point.

Serve: Hit used to start every rally. Serves can be either underhand or overhand, and the serve can hit the net as long as it lands on the opponent’s side.

Set: Controlled pass using the fingertips to pass the ball to an attacking teammate, who usually spikes the ball.

Sideout scoring: Old scoring system in which only the team that serves can score a point.

Spike: An aggressive, one-handed hit meant to ground the ball in the opponent’s court. A player is usually in midair during a spike.

Stuff: When a blocked ball is hit back at the player who originally spiked it.

Switch: Once the ball is in motion from a serve, players return from their designated rotational spots to the optimal spots for their positions.

Tip: A soft hit from a front-row player that goes over the opposing blockers and lands in an open area of the court. The front-row player usually jumps and fakes a spike, then lightly hits the ball over any of the three blockers.

Yellow card: A card issued by a referee for minor violations.

Wipe: When the attacker deliberately hits the ball so that it bounces off the blocker’s hand and goes out of bounds.


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