A comprehensive look at every back set in volleyball, narrated and demonstrated by University of San Diego associate head coach Brent Hilliard, a former Olympic bronze medalist and NCAA Player of the Year. His setter for these videos is Rachel Morris, who played for the University of Oregon.
Back set with a similar trajectory to the “Three” that is hit by a middle blocker off one leg.
Purpose: To provide a fast-tempo pin attack behind the setter. A slide is often used when there is a front-row setter in right front.
Difficulty: Advanced. This is designed to be a fast-tempo set, which requires an accurate set relative to location and tempo. Some teams will run a slower tempo slide set that’s easier to execute but also easier to defend.
High ball to the right pin, usually run by the opposite. (Some teams may use the term “5” for a high-arcing left-side set that’s similar to a "4".)
Purpose: The "5" is generally used as an outlet set when a poor pass eliminates many offensive options. In some situations, it’s used when an attacker has difficulty attacking lower or faster tempo sets.
Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate
Back set to a back-row hitter located about halfway between the middle of the net and the right pin. It's often run to the opposite.
Purpose: Similar to a “Back 3” to a front-row player, this set will attack the seam between the middle-front blocker and the left-front blocker but with a back-row attacker instead of a front-row attacker.
Difficulty: Advanced. The attacker has to have the ability to hit out of the back row. This set requires good location and tempo from the setter.
'Back 3' set
Medium-height set behind the setter about halfway between the middle of the net and the right pin. This set is hit by a right-side hitter.
Purpose: Isolate a right-side hitter with a left-side blocker or give the hitter a chance to hit the ball into the seam between the middle and the left-side blocker.
Difficulty: Moderate. The setter must be able to locate the proper area of the net for the attack.
'Back 2' set
Set behind the setter but higher than the “Back One.” It usually goes to the opposite or an outside hitter who's stacked on the right.
Purpose: Allows a high percentage attack that isolates the hitter with the left-side blocker.
Difficulty: Basic to intermediate. The setter must be able to back set to the proper location.
Quick, low set behind the setter that often goes to the middle but sometimes goes to a right-side hitter. Like the “One,” the “Back One” is set after the hitter is already in the air.
Purpose: Isolate a middle blocker or opposite vs. left-side blocker.
Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced. This attack requires an accurate pass, an accurate set at the proper location and tempo and an attacker who can get in the air quickly.
Back set to the right antenna that’s like a "5" but faster.
Purpose: Designed to isolate a right-side hitter vs. a left-side blocker.
Difficulty: Advanced. Requires setting precision for both location and tempo.
Back-row set to a right-side hitter, usually an opposite or an outside playing right back.
Purpose: To isolate a back-row hitter with a left-side blocker. This set is used most often when there’s a front-row setter.
Difficulty: Advanced. Requires an accurate backset with the proper tempo and an attacker who can successfully hit out of the back row.