The Most Difficult Position in Volleyball: Ranking the Toughest Role on the Court

Choose the position you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 4, 2023 06:35)
Are you ready to dive into the thrilling world of volleyball and uncover the most challenging position on the court? Welcome to StrawPoll, where we're hosting an exciting ranking to determine the ultimate "Most Difficult Position in Volleyball!" With thousands of enthusiasts voting and debating, this is your opportunity to make your voice heard and impact the rankings. Explore the fast-paced world of liberos, setters, middle blockers, and more as you navigate through the intricacies of each position. Not seeing your favorite on the list? Don't sweat it - you can easily suggest a missing option and keep the ball rolling. So, join the game, cast your vote, and let's discover together which position truly tests the limits of skill, strategy, and stamina in the exhilarating sport of volleyball!

What Is the Most Difficult Position in Volleyball?

  1. 1
    The libero is responsible for receiving and digging the opponent's attacks, making it one of the most difficult positions on the court. They also have to be quick, agile, and have excellent ball control skills.
    The libero is a specialized position in volleyball designed for defensive purposes. According to the FIVB rules, the libero is a player who is allowed to substitute freely in the back row for any player without counting as one of the team's allowable substitutions.
    • Flexibility: The libero should possess flexibility to effectively execute various defensive techniques, such as diving and sprawling.
    • Player's Attire: The libero wears a different colored jersey to distinguish them from other players.
    • Defensive Role: The libero's main job is to excel in defensive skills, such as digging, passing, and receiving serves.
    • Passing Ability: The libero must be able to consistently make accurate and controlled passes to the setter.
    • Quickness and Agility: The libero needs to be quick and agile to move swiftly around the court and react to sudden changes in play.
  2. 2
    The setter is the playmaker of the team, responsible for setting up the hitters for kills. This requires quick decision-making and precision in their sets. They also have to be aware of the opposing team's defense and adjust their sets accordingly.
    The setter is a crucial position in volleyball responsible for setting the ball to the hitters or spikers, enabling them to make successful attacks and score points. The setter acts as the playmaker and strategist, orchestrating the team's offense and communicating with the hitters.
    • Hand-eye coordination: High
    • Accuracy: Precise
    • Decision-making: Quick
    • Communication skills: Excellent
    • Tactical understanding: Advanced
  3. 3

    Middle Blocker

    William G. Morgan
    The middle blocker is responsible for blocking the opponent's attacks, which requires excellent timing and jumping ability. They also have to be quick on their feet and able to move laterally to cover the net.
    The Middle Blocker is one of the most demanding positions in Volleyball. Also known as the Middle Hitter or Middle Blocker, this position plays a crucial role in both offensive and defensive strategies. The main responsibility of the Middle Blocker is to block the opponent's attacks at the net and provide effective hitting options in the front row. This position requires strong athletic abilities, quick reflexes, and excellent teamwork skills.
    • Height: Taller players are preferred for better reach and blocking effectiveness.
    • Jumping Ability: The Middle Blocker needs to have impressive vertical leap to block and attack effectively.
    • Blocking Skills: Strong blocking techniques, such as reading the attacker, timing the jump, and sealing the net, are essential.
    • Quickness: The Middle Blocker should be agile and quick to react to opposing team's attacks and adjust positioning.
    • Hitting Power: The ability to deliver powerful hits from the middle is crucial to put pressure on the opponent's defense.
  4. 4

    Opposite Hitter

    Doug Beal
    The opposite hitter is the team's primary offensive weapon, responsible for scoring points and hitting from all areas of the court. This requires a wide range of skills, including power and accuracy in their attacks.
    The Opposite Hitter is a position in volleyball that plays on the right side of the court and is responsible for attacking, blocking, and serving. Also known as the opposite hitter or right-side hitter, it is considered one of the most difficult positions due to its unique set of demands and responsibilities.
    • Position: Right side of the court
    • Role: Attacking, blocking, and serving
    • Offensive Responsibilities: Powerful attacks, quick sets, and strong hits
    • Defensive Responsibilities: Blocking the opponent's attacks, setting up blocks, and defending the right side
    • Physical Demands: Good height, jumping ability, and arm swing
  5. 5

    Outside Hitter

    William Morgan
    The outside hitter is responsible for hitting from the left side of the court, which requires a strong arm and good jumping ability. They also have to be able to hit from different angles and adjust to the opposing team's defense.
    The outside hitter is a position in volleyball that is responsible for attacking and defending primarily from the left side of the court. Also known as the left-side hitter, this player is a key offensive weapon and is expected to have strong hitting and blocking abilities. They are a crucial part of the team's strategy and play a major role in front row and back row positions.
    • Position: Left-side attacker and defender
    • Importance: Crucial offensive weapon
    • Hitting Ability: Strong and powerful hits
    • Blocking Ability: Effective at blocking opponent's hits
    • Serving Ability: Quality serves to gain points
  6. 6

    Defensive Specialist

    Bruce Bowen
    The defensive specialist is responsible for digging the opponent's attacks and passing to the setter to set up the offense. This requires excellent ball control skills and the ability to read the opposing team's hitters.
    The Defensive Specialist is a basketball position that focuses primarily on defensive skills and strategies. The role was popularized by Bruce Bowen, a former NBA player known for his exceptional defensive abilities.
    • Physicality: Strong and sturdy build to withstand physical challenges
    • Perimeter Defense: Ability to guard opponents on the perimeter effectively
    • Footwork: Quick and agile footwork for lateral movement
    • Steals: Proficient in stealing the ball from opponents
    • Shot Blocking: Ability to block shots and protect the rim
    Defensive Specialist in other rankings
  7. 7
    The serving specialist is responsible for serving the ball with power and accuracy, which can put pressure on the opposing team's defense. They also have to be able to serve from different locations on the court and adjust to the opposing team's serve receive.
    The Serving Specialist is a specialized position in volleyball that focuses primarily on serving skills. This player is designated to serve during a game and is responsible for delivering powerful and accurate serves to put pressure on the opposing team's reception.
    • Serving technique: The serving specialist must possess advanced serving techniques such as jump serving or float serving.
    • Power: Consistently delivering powerful serves to challenge the opposing team's reception.
    • Accuracy: Placing serves precisely in targeted areas to disrupt the opposition's offensive strategies.
    • Variety: Having multiple serving techniques and being able to switch between them to keep the opponents guessing.
    • Tactical awareness: Understanding the game situation and adapting the serving approach accordingly, such as serving aggressively when the team needs to gain momentum or serving strategically to exploit the opponent's weaknesses.
  8. 8
    The pinch server is responsible for serving the ball in a specific location on the court, usually targeting a weak passer or a specific player. This requires a high level of accuracy and the ability to disguise their serves.
    The Pinch Server is a serving technique used in volleyball that involves serving from the back row by gripping the ball between the thumb and the index finger, creating a pinching motion to generate less spin and more accuracy. The aim of the pinch serve is to execute a serve that is difficult to pass and receive.
    • Grip: The server grips the ball tightly between the thumb and index finger.
    • Back Row Serving: The pinch serve is typically executed from the back row.
    • Less Spin: The pinch serve generates less spin on the ball.
    • Accuracy: The pinch serve aims for increased accuracy.
    • Difficulty to Pass: The pinch serve is challenging for opponents to pass.
  9. 9
    The backup setter is responsible for stepping in when the starting setter is unavailable or struggling. This requires the ability to quickly adapt to the team's offense and make quick decisions on the court.
    The Backup Setter in Volleyball is a specialized position that serves as a substitute for the primary setter on a team. This player is responsible for seamlessly stepping in when the setter is not available due to injury, fatigue, or tactical adjustments. The Backup Setter acts as a crucial link between the passers and hitters, ensuring a continuous flow of the game's offense.
    • Responsibilities: Setting the ball, coordinating the team's offense
    • Role: Substitute for the primary setter
    • Position: Setter
    • Skills: Technically sound setting, good decision-making abilities, strong communication
    • Game Awareness: Ability to read the game and adjust the team's offense accordingly
  10. 10
    The utility player is responsible for playing multiple positions on the court, which requires a wide range of skills and the ability to quickly adapt to different roles on the team.
    Utility Player in other rankings

Missing your favorite position?


Ranking factors for difficult position

  1. Physical Demands
    Consider the physical demands of each position, such as the need for speed, agility, strength, and endurance. Some positions require more explosive power and quick movements, whereas others may require more sustained effort and stamina.
  2. Technical Skills
    Evaluate the level of technical skills required for each position, such as passing, setting, hitting, blocking, and serving. Some positions may demand a higher level of expertise in specific skills, making them more challenging to master.
  3. Tactical Awareness
    Assess the level of tactical awareness and decision-making needed for each position. This includes understanding the game strategy, opponent's tendencies, and adapting to different situations during a match. Some positions require a high level of tactical knowledge and quick thinking.
  4. Pressure and Responsibility
    Examine the level of pressure and responsibility associated with each position. Some positions, such as the setter, carry a greater burden of responsibility in terms of controlling the game's flow and making the right decisions in high-pressure situations.
  5. Mental Toughness
    Consider the mental toughness required for each position, as some positions may require a higher level of focus, concentration, and emotional resilience.
  6. Communication and Leadership
    Evaluate the communication and leadership demands of each position. Some positions, such as the libero and the setter, require strong communication skills and leadership abilities to effectively organize and motivate their teammates.
  7. Position-specific Challenges
    Identify any unique challenges that are specific to a particular position, such as the physical demands of playing as a middle blocker or the responsibility of being the team's primary passer as a libero.
  8. Learning Curve
    Determine the difficulty of learning and mastering each position, considering all the above factors. Some positions may be more challenging to learn initially but become less demanding as a player becomes more experienced.
  9. Depth of Competition
    Assess the depth of competition in each position. Positions with a higher level of competition may be more demanding since players need to constantly improve and adapt their skills to stay competitive.
  10. Impact on Team Performance
    Consider the impact of each position on overall team performance. Positions that have a more significant influence on the game's outcome may be more challenging due to the greater responsibility and pressure associated with them.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult position in Volleyball. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or position is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 195 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each position once every 24 hours. The rank of each position is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most difficult position in volleyball

Volleyball is a sport that requires a unique combination of physical and mental skills. From serving to blocking, each position in volleyball demands a specific set of abilities that contribute to the overall success of the team. However, some positions are considered more challenging than others. The most difficult position in volleyball is often debated among players and coaches, as it requires a high level of athleticism, strategy, and quick decision-making. Whether it’s the setter who must orchestrate the offense or the libero who must defend against powerful spikes, each position presents its own unique set of challenges. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of each position is essential to becoming a successful volleyball player.

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