Setter Following the Receiver

Commonly, most teams play now with the setter following the middle blocker in the rotation (the middle is clockwise to the setter). It’s considered common wisdom this is the way to play that we assumed everyone always played this way. Having the setter following the receiver is often considered a bad idea – the setter has to run a long distance on reception when in 5 behind a receiver; it’s hard for the middle to run an attack on reception when the setter is in 1; you need a receiver who can hit from the right side.

Curiously, watching the USA Men’s team play in the Olympics in ’84, ’88 and ’92 on youtube, the team always played with the setter following the receiver. The obvious benefit being that in their 2 receiver system, 5 out of 6 rotations, the receivers passed on the same sides (a left side receiver and a right side receiver).

I spent quite some time in the AVL season last year scouting a team that ran this lineup. One thing I noticed is they scored a lot of middle attacks. The obvious reason was two of their strongest attackers were the middles. Looking at it more closely, in most of the rotations it’s a lot easier for the middles to run an attack on reception (not much lateral movement manoeuvring around other players) – and in more rotations, the setter can see the middle in front of them before setting. Maybe sometimes it’s not such a bad idea.


4 Responses to “Setter Following the Receiver”

  1. Nic Says:

    Maybe it’s always a bad idea.

  2. markleb Says:

    That is difficult to watch. I am so used to how the players are ‘supposed to’ line up I couldn’t figure out who was where!
    i like the way you’re thinking but, I’m not sure if I agree. In one rotation (P3?) the middle started at the net which affects her approach. In another (P1) the outside wasn’t available to spike because she was receiving in the middle. Which she doesn’t actually have to do. She could receive on the right (I am pretty sure it is P1, but it could be P2, in which case forget that last comment).
    Certainly if you don’t use a strict receiver system, there could be advantages for this, or if you only used a two receiver system. It is all about the movement possibilities for the setters and the other teams serving.

    • Hugh Nguyen Says:

      There were a few occasions when the team was out of rotation and the referees didn’t pick it up. The team’s system deliberately puts the front row receiver in the middle of the court so she can attack on either side of the court. Other variations have the front row receiver on the left or right of the court.

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