We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.ย Learn more.

Spike your interest in volleyball with the ultimate serve of terms and slang!

Whether you’re a newbie or owning the court like a pro, mastering these 30 essential phrases will have you talking the talk and walking the epic volleyball walk.

Game face on? Let’s dig in!

Must-Know Volleyball Terms, Phrases and Slang:

  1. Ace
  2. Block
  3. Bump
  4. Dig
  5. Float serve
  6. Hit
  7. Joust
  8. Kill
  9. Libero
  10. Match
  11. Offside
  12. Pancake
  13. Pass
  14. Quick set
  15. Rally
  16. Serve
  17. Set
  18. Spike
  19. Stuff
  20. Timeout
  21. Tip
  22. Volley
  23. Approach
  24. Back row
  25. Court switch
  26. Double hit
  27. Jump serve
  28. Rotation
  29. Setter
  30. Sideout

#1 Ace

An “Ace” in volleyball occurs when a player delivers a serve that is not returnable by the receiving team, resulting in an immediate point. It’s a powerful display of skill and often demoralizing for the opposition.

#2 Block

A “Block” happens when one or more front-row players jump near the net to deflect an attacking ball back into the opponent’s court. It’s a key defensive move that can shut down powerful spikes.

#3 Bump

The “Bump” is the most basic and commonly used method to pass the ball, typically performed using the forearms. It’s used to control the ball after a serve or attack, keeping it in play.

#4 Dig

A “Dig” is a defensive move where a player makes a save from a potent spike, keeping the ball from hitting the court. It often involves a dive or roll and is crucial for turning defense into offense.

#5 Float Serve

A “Float Serve” is a type of serve where the ball is hit in a way that it moves unpredictably, often floating or wobbling, making it difficult to pass. It’s a strategic serve that can catch the receiving team off guard.

#6 Hit

In volleyball, a “Hit” typically refers to an offensive move where a player strikes the ball to send it over the net into the opponent’s court. The intention is to make it difficult for the opposing team to return the ball.

#7 Joust

In volleyball, a joust occurs when two opposing players simultaneously contact the volleyball above the net. This results in a battle of strength and timing, with the aim to push the ball onto the opponent’s side for a point.

#8 Kill

A kill in volleyball is a successful attack that results in an immediate point, typically when the ball hits the opponent’s court without being returned. It showcases offensive prowess and is a key element in scoring strategy.

#9 Libero

In volleyball, a libero is a defensive specialist who wears a different color jersey and cannot attack the ball above the net’s height. They are crucial for making digs and passing but cannot serve, block, or spike from the front row.

#10 Match

A volleyball match is a competition structured in sets, often played best-of-five or best-of-three. It’s a test of endurance, strategy, and skill as teams vie for the majority of sets to claim victory.

#11 Offside

In volleyball, there is no traditional offside rule as seen in other sports like soccer. However, players must rotate and serve in a specific order, and violating this can lead to an ‘out of rotation’ fault.

#12 Pancake

The pancake is a defensive move where a player extends their hand flat on the floor so the ball bounces off the back of their hand. It’s a last-ditch effort to save the ball from hitting the court.

#13 Pass

A pass is a fundamental skill that involves controlling the ball using forearms, usually in response to a serve or attack, setting up for an offensive move. Good passing is crucial for a teamโ€™s flow in play.

#14 Quick set

A quick set is a fast, low pass from the setter to a hitter, intending to catch the opposing blockers off guard. It relies on swift execution and good timing between players to be effective.

#15 Rally

A sequence in volleyball where the ball is in play and is being sent back and forth over the net between teams. Rallies continue until a team makes a mistake, earns a point, or fails to return the ball legally.

#16 Serve

The act that initiates each point in volleyball, where a player hits the ball over the net from behind the end line. A successful serve is one that the opposing team cannot return legally.

#17 Set

A technique that positions the ball for an attacker, often the second of the team’s three allowed contacts. A good set can be crucial for setting up a powerful spike or a strategic play.

#18 Spike

A forceful shot where a player jumps and hits the ball down into the opponent’s court. The spike is one of the most dynamic and crowd-pleasing offensive moves in volleyball.

#19 Stuff

Also known as a block, it occurs when a player jumps at the net and stops the opposing team’s attack, forcing the ball back into the attacker’s court. It’s a defensive play that can shift the game’s momentum.

#20 Timeout

A break in play called by a team’s coach to strategize, rest players, or disrupt the momentum of the opposing team. Each team is usually allowed a certain number of timeouts per set or match.

#21 Tip

A soft hit where a player uses their fingers to push the ball over the blocker and into an open area of the opponent’s court. It’s a strategic move that can catch the defense off guard.

#22 Volley

The series of passes and returns that take place between teams over the net within the allowed contact limits. A rally continues until the ball touches the ground or a team.

#23 Approach

The footwork a player uses to position themselves for a jump and hit the ball. It’s a critical skill for timing and power, setting up the perfect spike or hit.

#24 Back row

Refers to the three players positioned at the back of the court during play. These players primarily focus on defense, serve reception, and are restricted from attacking the ball from the front zone.

#25 Court switch

Occurs in beach volleyball, where teams switch sides of the court at certain points in the match to maintain fairness with external conditions like sun and wind. The switch usually happens after every 7 points in a set.

#26 Double hit

A fault that happens when a player contacts the ball twice in succession or the ball contacts various parts of their body successively during a single play. This results in a point for the opposing team.

#27 Jump serve

A serve where the player tosses the ball high and then jumps to hit it, usually adding power and speed to the serve. It’s an aggressive tactic that can catch opponents off guard.

#28 Rotation

The clockwise movement of players around the court and through the serving position following the rules of the game. Proper rotation ensures that all players serve and occupy different positions on the court.

#29 Setter

The player tasked with ‘setting’ the ball for attackers, usually making the second touch. A good setter is crucial for a team’s offense, functioning like a quarterback in football, directing the play.

#30 Sideout

In volleyball, a sideout occurs when the team that is receiving the serve wins the point and gains the right to serve. This term was more central in older scoring systems where points could only be scored by the serving team, but it still denotes a shift in control of the serve under rally scoring systems.



What are some Volleyball terms for beginners?

“Ace,” “Bump,” and “Serve” are some Volleyball terms beginners should start with. They represent fundamental skills and actions players encounter in every match.

What are some funny Volleyball terms?

“Pancake,” “Joust,” and “Libero” are some funny Volleyball terms that, while official, can evoke smiles due to their non-sporting connotations. “Pancake” refers to a defensive save, “Joust” to a duel at the net, and “Libero” is a specialized defensive position.

What is a famous Volleyball phrase?

“Bump, Set, Spike,” is a famous Volleyball phrase, outlining the three-step process often used in Volleyball to set up and execute an attack, emphasizing teamwork and coordination.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When heโ€™s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments