Hand Signals that Volleyball Setters Use

Setters are the leaders on the court for their volleyball team; they communicate strategies to their teammates for each point. Hand signals are usually made behind the back by the players, prior to the serve in order to conceal them from the opposing team. Each hand refers to the type of block that the players will set on the corresponding side of the court.


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Zone Serving Signals

Few coaches allow their setters to choose the zones each server should attack. The setters use their fingers to communicate the zones. If the setter flashes one finger behind his/ her back, the serve delivers the ball to the Zone 1, or right back. Two fingers indicate Zone 2, or right front. Zone 3 is middle front, Zone 4 is left front and Zone 5 is left back. To indicate Zone 6 or middle back, setters flash their thumb.

Simpler Serving Signals

Sometimes coaches prefer to tell their servers to serve to a more general area of the court instead of a specific zone. To serve to the right side of the court, setters show their right thumb behind their back to communicate to the team. Showing the left thumb means serving to the left side. To serve down the center of the court, the setter flashes both thumbs. To serve a weak passer on the right side of the court, a setter can shake his right hand. Shaking a left hand lets the serve know to serve to a struggling passer on the left side.

Quick Set Signals

The setters can use signals to tell the hitters what types of set they will execute on a particular play. For example, the setter points his index finger up to signify a vertical quick set, or one set is coming. A pinky finger if pointing up- indicates a vertical quick set to the right- side hitter (also known as a back one set), if pointing sideways- means a back-slide attack using a horizontal quick set. A hand brushing down the middle of the chest designates a pipe set to the back-row hitter who is positioned in the middle of the court.

High Set Signals

Hand signals can also be used when calling plays for high sets. For a high set to Zone 1, the setter flashes one finger and then flashes two fingers. The hitter will then call out “12” to confirm the play call. The setter shows two fingers and then flashes two fingers again for a “22” high set to Zone 2. Three fingers followed by two fingers communicates a “32” high set to Zone 3. A “42” is a high set to Zone 4, A “52” is a high set to Zone 5. For a “62” high set to Zone 6, the setter uses her thumb to represent six followed by two fingers.

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