Outside Hitter Volleyball Position: Guide in 2024

Outside Hitter Volleyball Position

The volleyball outside hitter is often referred to as the rock star of volleyball. As offensive players, they are often the best, but they also have enough dexterity to hand the ball off to other players effectively.

The left-side hitter, wing spiker, or pin is a player who hits the ball from the left side of the court.

As a result, outside hitters receive the majority of balls set to them. As a result, they are often tasked with getting the ball over the net when play gets rough.

Here we’ll examine the roles and responsibilities of outside hitters, as well as what you can do to become a better one.

What is the Outside Hitter in Volleyball?

Outside Hitter Volleyball Position

Since an Outside Hitter in Volleyball is specialized in attacking and defending, he or she is the most complete player on the team.

What Does An Outside Hitter Do In Volleyball?

It is the outside hitter’s role to both pass the ball and hit it. This is often referred to as a ‘passer hitter’.

Typically, they operate from position five and hit from position four on the left side of the court.

For more information on volleyball positions, see my full article.

Outside hitters are most commonly thought of as highly athletic, powerful front-court players.

It all begins with serve reception, even though it is much less glamorous.

The outside hitter is crucial to serve-reception

Like an opera singer out of tune, an outside hitter with no passing ability…

In the role of outside hitter, passing the volleyball is an essential duty.

Since most outsiders aren’t as good as liberos at passing, they are often targeted by opposition servers.

As soon as the outside hitter receives the pass, they immediately switch over to their offensive approach.

Outside Hitters Are The Primary Spikers

There is usually a significant difference in the number of balls that are set to the outside hitter versus the opposite or middle blocker.

As the setter can see the outside, it’s physically easier for him to place the shot to the outside because they’re in front of him.

Also, a setter usually prefers to release a set outside the hitting window when they receive a bad pass.

At the youth level especially, outside hitters are often expected to hit some pretty shaky sets.

The junior level has more athletic outside hitters and better spikers, so it’s naturally more sensible to set them more often than opposites.

They normally attack through a pipe from the middle back zone on the court and hit from the back row.

A good outside hitter must block and dig

Outside hitters who do not receive the ball must immediately leave their attacking position and look to dig and cover the blockers.

The outside hitter’s first responsibility is to block the ball served by their own team.

Against the opposition’s opposite hitter, the outside hitter will face off.

The outside blocker assists the middle blocker

Outside players can help the middle defend against front-court setters and strong back-row hitters by staying in the ready position closer to the middle of the net.

Defensive communication is also essential for outside hitters.

The middle blocker must be informed if they will be assisting with blocking in the middle of the floor if they plan on hanging in.

You may also love to read Defensive Specialists In Volleyball

How Can An Outside Hitter Be Effective?

Outside Hitter Volleyball Position

An outside hitter differs greatly from an opposite hitter or a middle hitter. Below is a summary of the unique attributes and skills they possess.

A good outside hitter is an excellent passer

A weak outside hitter may be a great spiker, but he or she may not be able to pass the ball well.

The outside hitter may begin to become a liability on the court as servers target them relentlessly due to their poor passing.

Service-reception excellence is the foundation of the game of strong outside hitters.

Almost all outside players can hit the ball fairly well at the highest levels of the game. There are, however, some outsides who are better at passing than others.

A good outside hitter is a smart attacker

The effectiveness of outside hitters is limited when they are inexperienced or weak. The ball is hit with the same speed and direction each time.

The opposition often gets blocked when they have time to get into position and they are unable to adjust.

The best outside hitters are crafty and take advantage of the block for points. They usually aim for the fingers or swipe the ball off the block and out of bounds.

It’s a technical team.

Several different shots and tempos are in their toolbox.

The ball is often rolled, tipped, and pushed by them.

It’s all about hitting the ball harder for the best outside hitters.

When navigating the block, great outside hitters utilize side spin to control the ball.

A ball’s direction is also never telegraphed by them.

There is no real difference between each attack regardless of the set.

A good outside hitter is athletic and can jump high

A major difference between outside hitters and opposites and middle blockers is their athleticism and explosiveness.

It is common for good outside hitters to jump higher than any other player on the court.

This explosive jumping ability makes up for the shorter stature of outside hitters when compared to opposites and middles.

As well as being big, they also have powerful upper bodies that allow them to hit the ball harder than the taller players.

Short volleyball players are limited to playing outside hitter.

A good outside hitter is usually right-handed

Right-handed players have an advantage in hitting from the left side of the court because the ball does not need to cross their body before hitting.

You can spot the ball much more easily and make contact with the ball inside your body when you are using your left hand to spot it.

Left-handed opposite hitters are usually left-handed for the same reason.

Although that is the case, being an outside hitter does not require you to be right-handed.

Some of the greatest outside hitters are left-handed, just as some of the greatest opposite-handed players are right-handed.

Outside hitters with left hands are slightly less common than their right-handed counterparts.

Due to opposites’ heights, tall righthanded players will likely gravitate towards this position despite being skilled.

In general, there are fewer players who are left handed.

How Can I Become An Outside Hitter?

outside hitter position in volleyball

What’s the best way to determine if the outside hitter is the best position for you?

To determine if you qualify as an outside hitter, let’s look at some physical attributes.

Then, we’ll discuss some other factors to consider before deciding on a career as an outside hitter.

Outside Hitters’ Physical Attributes

See how many of the characteristics I listed as strengths of an outside hitter you already possess before we continue.

Suitable height

An outside hitter doesn’t have to be extremely tall.

It is common for outsiders to be shorter than opposites and middles, but slightly taller than setters.

In general, it is better to be taller.

For people whose height is particularly valuable, you might be better suited as an opposite or middle blocker.

See my full article discussing the height of outside hitters to find out how tall you need to be.

In the article, it discusses how tall men and women must be at varying levels of play in order to perform this position.

Decently Athletic

Do you have a good sense of agility? Is your jumping ability decent?

While in the air, can you maintain good body control?

Coordination, speed, and balance are necessary for outside hitters.

What is your strength and power? Are your attacks consistently successful or do they get dug up often?

You can develop all of these attributes over time, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have all of them yet.

Decent At Passing

What is your accuracy in passing the ball?

Making perfect passes during serve-reception is common for you, don’t you?

Do you have trouble making consistent contact with the ball?

Practice will help you improve this one as well.

An outside hitter’s personality traits and attitude

The success of an outside hitter also depends on a few intangible traits.

Confidence

A good outside hitter almost needs to be cocky.

You are the center of attention. Star hitter, you are.

It needs to be backed up by the necessary skills.

When you are an outside hitter, there is nowhere to hide. The job requires confidence in your ability to get the job done since you are involved in almost every aspect.

Pressure-Resistant

In your role as an outside hitter, you will be given some really tricky balls to hit. Making the most of a bad situation is your job.

You might succeed in the first set, but are you able to keep your cool in the fifth when you need your team to win!

When you’re 1 point from losing the match, do you have the courage to still swing aggressively?

Communicate effectively

There is a lot of responsibility on the outside hitters to communicate with the front-row players.

Specifically, they tell us what player is running which attack and where the setter is.

Throughout the match, they’re constantly calibrating their blocking strategy in close collaboration with the middle blocker.

To find out more about what you should consider when choosing a volleyball position, check out my full article.

How Do Coaches Select Outside Hitters?

outside hitter position in volleyball

Outside hitter prospects are highly coveted by coaches and recruiters alike.

Outside Hitter Recruitment Guidelines

In order to understand how outside hitters can be recruited, let’s look at some of the guidelines.

Ability to jump and arm length

According to the NCSA website, the following numbers pertain to women’s volleyball.

These numbers should be taken with a grain of salt because I cannot imagine any serious recruiter getting excited over an athlete with a similar block jump to an attack jump.

In my experience with top-level athletes and based on their published data, a solid college-level outside hitter will have stats similar to those below.

SkillBenchmark
Standing Reach8’2″ (249cm)
Attack Jump11′ (335cm)
Vertical Jump35″
Block Jump10’8″ (325cm)

For outside hitters, standing reach is not as important as middle blockers and opposites.

Spike height (attack jump) will be most important here. It’s decent if you can get over 330cm, but we need to keep improving this.

In order to be a professional outside hitter, you must have a spike height of at least 345 cm.

Hitting Percentage

Your hitting percentage is a measure of your effectiveness as a spiker.

Outside hitters should aim for 0.325 as a decent benchmark, though recruiters are unlikely to know these stats.

I recently wrote an article answering the question, What is hitting percentage, and how is it calculated?

If you are having trouble in this area, be sure to check it out.

Height

Different positions require different height benchmarks. Players on the outside of the court don’t need to be the tallest but they can’t be the shortest.

Experience

To be considered by recruiters, you need to play club volleyball regularly.

They are looking for competition at least 2-5 years old.

In court, you must demonstrate your knowledge.

Outside Hitter Coaching Guidelines

When it comes to selecting outside hitters, what do coaches look for in each one?

As far as physical attributes are concerned, how you act in court matters more than anything else.

I’ll explain why these things make coaches happy. We talked about many of them earlier.

Leadership Skills

Outside hitters need to think of themselves as front-court captains.

A large share of the offense needs to be taken on by them since they are the primary attacker.

When things get tough, they need to stay calm and remind their teammates of the game plan.

Communication Skills

It’s not a good thing to have a quiet outside hitter, even if they’re really skilled.

Being a good communicator in the front row is crucial for your success.

As you discuss the opposing formation and blocking tactics with your middle blocker, be sure to keep your ear to the ground.

Having regular communication with the setter will also help you kill more balls by giving feedback on what’s working and what could be improved.

Volleyball IQ

Technically talented outside hitters differ significantly from those who understand the nuances of the game deeply.

The key here is being able to determine when the best shots are to be taken.

Using the block is all about reading the defense.

To understand opposition preferences, such as which way the opposite likes to hit, and who the setter prefers to set from, it’s essential to get into the setter’s head.

In order to win, you need to understand how your opponents can play combo plays, and formulate a clever counterattack, as well as communicate that effectively to your teammates.

How Important Is The Outside Hitter?

outside hitter position in volleyball

Outside hitters are likely to rank second in volleyball behind setters.

Also, it’s a tough position on the court.

The backbone of your offense will be a good outside hitter.

With the majority of sets going to outside hitters, that responsibility is very high.

Taking down enemies even under tough conditions requires them to perform well under pressure.

For this to work, one must be confident in their abilities and have the ability to move on after making a mistake, refocus, and improve on the next.

Is Outside Hitter A Good Position In Volleyball?

The outside hitter is a superstar for a reason!

Volleyball spikes are loved by all. There are a lot of outside hitters in volleyball, which is why it’s a very popular position.

Playing as the go-to attacker lets you make highlight-worthy plays like crushing the ball inside the 10-foot line.

What a great idea!

It is, however, very demanding to hold an outside position.

You don’t play half the rotations as a middle blocker or libero, for example…

Due to the fact that you’re placed in various situations both offensively and defensively, it’s a great opportunity to gain experience and a whole lot of touches.

How To Be A Better Outside Hitter?

Outside Hitter Volleyball Position

Outside hitters have the benefit of being able to train for most of the required skills.

Brilliant outside hitters have a greater range of height and build than opposites and middle blockers.

An individual’s volleyball success is largely determined by how hard he or she works to improve.

While I could give you hundreds of tips and tricks for outside hitting, I’m going to give you the 20% that will get you 80% of your results.

To become a better outside hitter, you need to pay attention to the following 3 things.

Invest more time in passing time

First and foremost, a passer hitter must pass the ball well.

Bypassing more balls, you will become a better passer.

A serious outsider will find a way to pass more balls than his or her opponent each week.

Take a friend to the court and make them serve you repeatedly.

An additional good way to get lots of reps is to use a serving machine.

It will be beneficial to play an extra pick-up volleyball game each week, even if it is only to get more repetitions.

Make sure you hit the ball harder

Hits are exactly the same…

Do you want to improve your hitting skills? More balls should be hit. Simply put, it’s that easy.

Make sure to drag a setter to the court each week for some extra work.

You would be able to hit better if you were able to get another hitter to block while you hit.

Let’s alternate.

Making progress requires deliberate action and high focus, not just going through the motions.

Plan your strategy. This might be how it looks.

  • Hit 5 balls sharply down the line
  • The back left corner needs to be hit with 15 balls
  • Cross court 5 sharp balls
  • In the back, right corner hit 15 balls

Don’t let your stuff ever be blocked if you have a blocker.

The strategy you have may include hitting 5-15 high balls off the block’s hands.

You have no excuse not to get in more hitting repetitions.

Besides a net, a setter, and a third player who wants to improve, all you need is a hitter/blocker who also wants to learn.

A Day In The Weight Room

Jumping is a must for outside hitters.

The vast majority of us don’t have the gift of being springy or gifted.

It is crucial that you increase the spike height of your running shoes as much as possible as part of your strength and conditioning routine.

In order to play volleyball internationally, the spike height of male outside hitters should be at least 345cm, and the spike height of female outside hitters should be at least 320cm.

In order to hit the ball harder, you should also train your upper body.

Some great drills for spiking outside hitters can be found in this article.

Can You Be A Left-Handed Outside Hitter?

Left-handed outside hitters are absolutely possible!

Since the ball has to cross your body before being hit, it’s less common to use your outside arm to hit the ball.

There is no problem hitting from the right side of the court for most lefthanded hitters, so they gravitate toward the opposite position.

An outside hitter can definitely be a great passer and loves hitting from the left side.

In professional baseball, there have been a few left-handed outside hitters who have succeeded. One of these is Uro Kovaevi of Serbia.

Volleyball Outside Hitter FAQs

Can an outside hitter hit from the back row?

The back row is often used by outside hitters.
Normally, the outside hitter defends from position 5, but in some teams, the libero will play the role of the outside hitter so that the OH defends from position 6 in order to make the hit from behind the pipe.

Is the outside hitter the strongest hitter in volleyball?

I’m not sure, but most likely not.
A taller opponent or middle blocker will have a longer lever, resulting in greater power and more power generated.

Is outside hitter the coolest position in volleyball?

The outside hitter position in volleyball is without a doubt the coolest.

What are some outside hitter volleyball quotes?

“I have 99 problems, but a block isn’t one of them!”

Conclusion

To conclude, volleyball’s outside hitter plays a critical role in shaping the game’s dynamics. Outside hitters contribute greatly to both offensive and defensive strategies because they are versatile, dynamic players.

Volleyball teams look to them for their expertise in a variety of skills, such as powerful attacks, precise passes, and effective digs.

You can read our complete guide about volleyball shoes here.

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