Taller vs. Shorter Setters

What do you do if you have a whole variety of heights in volleyball players? Who should you play on the indoor court?

SAT questions: The quarterback is to football as the ______ is to volleyball. Which position in volleyball is usually the hardest working position but receives no glory? The answer to both questions: the setter. The setter is one of the hardest positions to fulfill and it is always difficult for coaches to have the right player as the setter. Setters come in all sorts of sizes. Big, small, short, and tall. But which size is the best size for this important position?

Like the majority of sports, being tall plays a huge factor (except for perhaps horse racing). With volleyball though, being tall is important both for blocking and attacking at the net. Setters have to do both of those aspects of the game and they have to run around the court setting the ball that has just been passed by their teammates. So is a setter better if they are taller or shorter?

It really depends on the situation at hand. Smaller setters tend to be quicker and better at back row defense digging the attacks. Taller setters generally cannot move around the court as quickly as shorter setters, but blocking is much easier for a taller setter. Also, a taller setter has an easier time performing the setter dump when in the front row, making them an offensive threat in addition to the hitters. So what if a team has two setters, one tall and one short? How does the team make it work?

If both setters are of equal skill level, run a 6-2 offense. A 6-2 offense utilizes two setters who stay in the back row. This then takes away the option of the setter dump when the setter is in the front row, but now the team will have three hitters in the front row at all times. Azusa Pacific University utilized this offense and had two very good and very different size setters. Senior Allison Kincheloe, standing at five foot ten, and freshman Raechel Jones, stands only at five foot four inches. Both of these players are great at setting and there is a significant height difference. But coach Chris Keife wanted to let both setters run the offense and it prove to be very difficult for defenses to get use to. With two different setters with different setting styles and patterns in who they set, the defense could never get fully acclimated to their styles, therefore making it difficult to put up a solid block.

Two different sizes only doubles your opportunities to get the defense thrown off and you get more players into the match. For each setter there needs to be an opposite to come in the front row. This gets a lot of players on and off the court and during those long five set matches, having fresher legs can pay off in the long run. So you have two different size setters and do not know which one to use? Use both of them.

Coach J

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