The Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball Guide

Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball

Among the most versatile players on the volleyball court is the opposite hitter. Offensively and defensively, they are excellent. They must possess many technical skills, as well as a high level of volleyball knowledge. Their duties include hitting the ball on the front row and back row, digging the ball on defense, and setting the ball when the situation calls for it.

The purpose of this article is to discuss the responsibilities and roles of the Opposite Hitter Volleyball Position and other relevant information. 

What Is The Opposite Hitter?

Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball

A good opposite hitter can play in a number of positions on the court. The back row is responsible for hitting, digging, and passing the ball. The setters fill in for them when necessary as a result of their position on the court. The fact that they have to be skilled on both offense and defense is important since they will be playing both a lot. 

Right in front of the court is the opposite hitter on the right side. The setter’s shadows are also known as the shadows of the setter. It is often necessary for the opposite hitter to set the ball if the setter passes the ball on the first hit. When the opposite hitter rotates to the back row, the opposite setter becomes the second setter, not just the backup.  

This player rotates in the front row once the ball is served, then switches to the opposite position. They must always know where they are going and be quick on their feet. The opposite hitter is a versatile player because he is an attacker as well as a defender. 

History Of The Opposite Hitter

Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball

In 1916, the Philippines introduced the set and spike along with volleyball’s hitting positions. Sets and spikes were introduced after the three-hit rule.

The ball has only three chances to hit the net before it has to be re-passed. When the opposite hitter swings, he or she should hit the ball over the net on the third hit. On the other side of the court, the opposite hitter often reads the court to determine where the ball should be placed.  

With the creation of the 5-1 and 6-2 rotations, it allowed for more offensive players as well as the setter. 6-2 rotations use two setters while 5-1 rotations use one setter. The opposite hitter position was traditionally referred to as the weak side hitter or right side hitter.

The weak side hitter is named so because right-handed hitters usually have an easier time hitting from the left side. Off-side was another name for it.  

Rules Of The Opposite Hitter

Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball

It is the opposite hitter’s responsibility to hit, block, pass, and set. When playing this position, you must keep some rules in mind so the opposing team does not gain a point. These rules are listed below.

  • The opposing hitter cannot touch the net. Points will be lost if the antennae make contact with the net.
  • It is not possible for the opposing hitter to stop under the net. If part of the foot remains on the midcourt line, the opposite hitter cannot step into the opponent’s side of the court.
  • When blocking, the opponent can touch the ball beyond the net. When a ball is not interfered with by the opposite hitter before or during an attack hit, the ball can be blocked beyond the net.
  • Blockers and opposite hitters cannot hold the ball. Blocking and hitting must be done with care so the other team does not get the ball back. 
  • Upon receiving the serve, the opposite hitter must switch positions. As soon as the serve leaves the server’s hand, the opposite hitter can switch with another front-row player.
  • The opposing hitter cannot block. Opposite hitters cannot block the ball going over the net when the opponent serves.
  • A block can be used by the opposing hitter. It can be passed to another player if the opposite hitter blocks the ball. 
  • Setting rules must be followed by the opposite hitter. Setting the ball by the opposite hitter is subject to the same rules. 

Here are the main rules opposite hitters must follow. Visit USA Volleyball for more rules.

Opposite Hitters’ Responsibilities and Skills

Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball

The opposite hitter in volleyball has many responsibilities and skills. The purpose of this section is to describe each of those responsibilities and skills.

Responsibilities

A successful team relies on the opposite hitter to perform five important functions. 

  • Hitting
  • Receiving/defending
  • A blocking action
  • The setting
  • Other hitters to cover

Hitting

The opposite hitter’s main responsibility is to hit. The opposing team can be caught off guard by a hit from the opposite hitter since they don’t expect it to come from their side. Since the opposite hitter often only faces one blocker, they have an advantage.

The player in this position is usually accurate at hitting because he or she understands where the ball should be placed on the other side of the court due to his or her technical training. Your team can achieve great success if you are a good opposite hitter. 

Serve Receive/Defense

Most often, opposite hitters are responsible for serve receive and defense in the front row.

When receiving a serve, they move off the net and help the back row pass. In certain rotations, they can also serve as an extra defense player when their team struggles to receive a serve. When the other team hits the ball over, they back up the middle and outside hitters

Blocking

It is the opposite hitter and middle blocker’s responsibility to prevent the opposing team from hitting over the net when they are hitting from their strong side of the court.

Upon seeing the opponent’s setter hand off the set to their outside hitter, the opposite hitter should tell the middle blocker it is coming their way. Afterward, the middle blocker will assist in blocking. 

Setting

Backup setters can also be opposite hitters. Oftentimes, the pass will come to them for a set due to their location at the front of the court.

To keep the ball in good offensive play, they must understand the mechanics of setting. Second setters are usually opposite hitters when rotating to the back row. 

Other hitters to cover

Covering other players is probably the most important responsibility opposite hitters have because they possess such a wide range of skills.

On the court, they can be relied upon when things get tough. In addition to digger and hitter, they can also set, pass, and setter. It is possible for a good team to become a great team with a good opposite hitter.

Skills

To succeed at their responsibilities, the opposite hitter must possess certain skills. These skills are listed below.

  • Excellent blocker: Get hands above the net and block from the opponent’s strong side
  • Strong setter: capable of setting as well as the main setter, knows plays
  • Good passer/digger: capable of passing or digging the ball 
  • Quick feet: The ability to recover the ball quickly is essential
  • Flexibility: get high game knowledge, and know what to do when a teammate is out 

Opposing hitters Drills

Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball

By practicing some drills, opposing hitters can improve their skills. They will become more consistent and improve through drills. To improve their game, opposite hitters can do the following drills.

Blocking Drill

On the right side of the net, the player is in a blocking position. Coaches stand on wooden boxes in front of blockers. In response to the coach’s slap, the right-side blocker pulls over to assist the middle blocker.

 As the players go up for the block, the coach hits the ball. A ball must be blocked from coming over. Timing and blocking techniques are improved through this drill. 

Variation: Hit the ball at the blockers from the other side of the net. Hitting and blocking techniques can be practiced this way.

Self-Tossing Hitting Drill

Right-handed players start in a right-handed hitting position and throw the ball to the net. For the approach, throw the ball high enough for the footwork to be effective.

Don’t throw the ball over the net by keeping it a bit off. As the player approaches the ball, he or she hits it over. The students can practice different types of hits as they become more proficient with this drill, such as cross-court, down-the-line, and tips.

Pass Hit Drill

Someone tosses the ball to the opposite hitter in serve receive position. The setter receives the ball from the player.

In back sets, the setter returns the ball to the hitter (the setter can practice back sets). It is now up to the opposing hitter to hit the ball over the net once he transitions into the hitting position.

The purpose of this drill is to improve the transition from serve receive to hitting position. Variation: Someone serves from the other side of the net at the hitter. After receiving the ball, the hitter gets in position to hit it.

You can also read Volleyball Rebounder Tips

How Important Is The Opposite Hitter?

Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball

Your offensive strategy is enhanced by having a decent opposite hitter.

As long as you’ve got an opposite who can hit the D ball well and kill the ball from behind, you can rotate a frontcourt setter in rotation, which gives you a lot of options offensively.

It is very difficult for an opposing outside hitter to make a living as an opposite hitter if they are excellent blockers.

You might have trouble neutralizing the opposition’s offense if your opposite hitter is weak.

Is Opposite Hitter A Good Position In Volleyball?

Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball

Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball is my personal favorite position.

Since there isn’t much passing of the ball I am a good right-handed striker.

It’s a unique challenge to hit back-row attacks, which can be quite enjoyable once you’ve mastered it.

The opposite position can be quite fun if you enjoy hitting and blocking!

In that case, you might not like this position at all if you really struggle to hit from the right side.

Is it a good idea to be an opposing hitter?

The relatively rare physical attributes required for this position will prevent most volleyballers from succeeding here.

An opposing hitter’s physical attributes

The opposite position is very physical, so to be successful in this position at the highest level, you need to ‘fit the bill’.

A suitable height

The average height for an opposite hitter at the highest level is 6’8.5″ or 204.5cm for men, and 187cm for women.

The average heights of college volleyball players also reflect these numbers.

There is, therefore, no chance for 99.9% of the population to succeed at a high level as opposite hitters.

You can absolutely get away with being a lot shorter if you’re just playing at a lower level of competition, but it’s still a position that’s very much suited to taller athletes.

In my full article on opposite hitter height, you can find out how tall you should be as an opposite to qualify for a college scholarship as well as some tips for succeeding as a shorter opposite.

Left-handedness Is A Big Advantage

Left-handedness is a huge advantage for opposite hitters.

This is due to the fact that the ball does not need to cross your body before reaching your hitting window.

For the same reason, a right-handed player may prefer hitting from the left side of the court.

Having left-handed abilities is a plus, but being really tall is far more important.

Although being a lefty can be beneficial, it’s certainly not necessary to be the top opposite hitter in the world.

Jumping ability & athleticism

In the opposite position, being tall and lanky alone isn’t enough. Jumping and hitting the ball hard are also important.

The best way to overcome a lack of height is to increase your vertical jump, which will help you block and spike better.

You can find more information about choosing the right volleyball position in this article if you’re still unsure whether the opposite hitter is right for you.

How Do Coaches Choose Opposing Hitters?

Opposite Hitter Position In Volleyball

Having decided that opposite is the role you want to pursue, you might be interested in playing college volleyball and looking for a sports scholarship.

Maybe you’d like to play opposite hitter professionally someday…

No matter what you do, you must be aware of your marketability as an athlete.

Guidelines for recruiting opposing hitters

Let’s take a look at what opposing hitters attract the attention of scouts and coaches.

Ability to jump and arm length

NCSA’s website provides the following statistics for women’s volleyball.

SkillCollege Average80% of College Athletes
Standing Reach7’9″8’1″
Attack JumpStanding to Reach9’7″
Vertical Jump20’5″23’2″
Block Jump9’3″9’7″

These numbers are never quite as accurate as they seem, because block jumps and attack jumps shouldn’t be the same height, so take them with a grain of salt.

There are no public guidelines for men’s recruiting, but I would suggest starting with a spike height of 345 cm for a D1 college opposite.

By the time you’re finished with college, that number should be at least 350 cm.

It would also be helpful to have a block reach of at least 335cm.

The numbers below are based on benchmarks from our national program and a few elite-level opponents I have trained with.

Height

Volleyball scholarships are more dependent on height now than ever before.

As I discussed above, height is particularly important for opposite hitters.

I have written a full article on how tall opposite hitters need to be for recruiters if you’re interested in seeing a full list.

Experience

Club volleyball is necessary for recruiters to consider you.

The company is looking for at least 2-5 years of decent-level competition.

The most important thing is to prove to them that you know what you are doing in court.

The opposing hitter’s equipment

In order to score points, opposite hitters must be able to fill many roles and make effective plays. Equipment plays a very important role in helping them succeed.

Our top opposite hitter gear picks are outlined in this section. 

Shoes

ASICS Women’s Gel-Rocket 10 Court Shoes

ASICS Women's Gel-Rocket 10 Volleyball Shoes

Shoes that are comfortable and durable are important for opposite hitters. It is important to choose shoes that have good cushioning for jumping and excellent court traction for easy movement on the court. The following are our top picks for opposite hitter shoes

A great pair of shoes for the opposite hitter is the Asics Gel-Rocket 10. It helps the opposite hitter jump because of the enhanced cushioning and shock absorption. These shoes feature gel-cushioned rear and forefoot systems that enhance shock absorption.

The flexible upper construction of these shoes allows players to move freely as their feet bend more naturally. This shoe is made with a Trusstic System Technology that reinforces the middle of the shoe, reducing its weight and maintaining durability at the same time. All sides of the shoes are equipped with traction, giving players a great deal of flexibility.

It is also affordable to purchase Asics Gel-Rocket 10 shoes. Their prices are usually the same or lower than those of other volleyball shoes, yet they offer features specific to volleyball.

Features include:  

  • Absorbs shocks
  • For comfort, gel cushions are used
  • Enhanced flexibility for natural bending
  • Affordability
  • Volleyball-specific features

Knee Pads

Mizuno LR6 Volleyball Knee Pads

Mizuno LR6 Volleyball Knee Pads

The opposite hitter must wear knee pads. Their position in the front row involves playing defense most often, making it necessary for them to wear knee pads. Comfortable, durable, and protective knee pads are what you should look for. We’ve compiled a list of the best knee pads for opposite hitters below.

This Mizuno LR6 Knee Pad provides opposite hitters with the right amount of comfort, durability, and protection. As you dig and slide for the volleyball, these knee pads absorb the shock from high-impact areas. They are designed to protect the knees from injuries caused by high-impact areas. 

In the years they have been making knee pads, Mizuno has been one of the leading companies specializing in volleyball equipment. They’re so comfortable that players say they feel like they aren’t even wearing them. 

Aspects to consider:

  • Comfy and convenient
  • Injuries are prevented
  • Areas with high impact require padding
  • Coverage that is appropriate
  • The right to move freely

We also recommend the Nike Vapor Volleyball Knee Pads as a top choice. The material of these knee pads is breathable, making them comfortable to wear. A dual-layer gel cushion provides additional injury protection. They are extremely nice knee pads, but they are a bit expensive. 

Famous Opposite Hitters

Any team would benefit from having an opposite hitter with a variety of volleyball skills and techniques. It is a position with a wide range of players who have mastered it. Our discussion of famous opposite hitters will take us to the top of the list.

Annie Drews

Annie Drews

The United States of America won a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with opposite hitter Annie Drews. She has received many awards for best opposite hitter and most valuable player during her career. Puerto Rico, Turkey, Turkey, and Japan are some of the countries she has played for professionally.

 In 2008, Annie started playing club volleyball after being born on Christmas day in 1993. Two-time state champion at Penn High School in Mishawka, Indiana.

Her extraordinary hitting ability earned her the nickname “The monster of the Big Ten” when she played for Purdue University. Erin and Derek are her two siblings. She likes to cook, walk, play games, and explore new cities. Tanner Schumacher married her in 2021.

Matt Anderson

Matt Anderson

American Olympian Matt Anderson has competed three times for the United States. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, he won a bronze medal with his team. In 2012, he placed fifth, and in 2020, he placed tenth.

He has been the leading scorer for the USA national team since he joined the team in 2011. His current position is opposite hitter, which he started playing in 2013.

When Matt was a junior, he quit Penn State to play professionally for Korea’s Hyundai Skywalkers after leading Penn State to a 2008 NCAA Men’s Championship. His performance helped the Skywalkers win the regular season championship, but they lost the championship game. In addition to his Most Valuable Player award, he has won many other awards.

 The Anderson family gave birth to Matt in 1987. He lost his father to a heart attack in 2010. There are four siblings in his family, three sisters and one brother.

His marriage to Jackie Gillum in 2020 resulted in the birth of their son, Jamie. His nephew Tristan, who has autism, is honored every year with a volleyball tournament.

You can also read When Does Volleyball Season Start and End?

Jordan Thompson

Jordan Thompson

The USA Women’s Volleyball Team will be headed to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics by Jordan Thompson, an opposite hitter. She won a gold medal with her team. Her college years were marked by many records that she set during her time with the USA national team.

A record of 827 kills and 6.27 kills per set were set by her during her 2018 season at the University of Cincinnati. The NCAA record was broken here. Since 2020, she has been working professionally in Turkey.

Tyrone Doleman and Mary Thompson gave birth to Jordan in 1997. She comes from a family of sports players, as her dad played basketball professionally overseas and her uncle played football professionally for the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons.

In middle school, she played basketball, but later switched to volleyball, as she didn’t like it. She has been named the player of the year numerous times in high school and college.

Maxim Mikhaylov

Maxim Mikhaylov

Russian opposite hitter Maxim Mikhaylov plays for the team. As part of the Russian team that won silver in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he was named the Best Opposite Spiker.

His Olympic achievements include a bronze medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a gold medal from the 2012 London Olympics.

A medal was not awarded to him at the 2015 Rio Olympics. Over the course of his career, he has won many awards including Best Opposite Spiker, Best Blocker, Best Server, and Most Valuable Player. 

Born in 1988, Maxim was raised in the Leningrad Region of Russia. In this school, Valery Besprozvannykh introduced him to volleyball.

 His team was from Yaroslavl, Russia, and he played as a lefthanded outside hitter from 2003 to 2010.  After moving to Zenit Kazan in 2010, he has been playing there ever since. The couple has one son, Nikita, with their wife Anastasia.

Opposite Hitter FAQs

What is the role of the opposite hitter?

Right-handed opposite hitters are the most versatile players on the team as they are capable of both offense and defense. If a ball is hit over the net from the left side, they dig the ball, and if the setter needs help with the ball, they set it.

Where is the opposite hitter’s position on the court?

Right in front of the net is the position of the opposite hitter on offense. To aid with passing, the opposite hitter’s position on defense is behind the 10-foot line on the right side of the court. 

Does the opposite hitter get a lot of sets?

Opposite hitters typically get fewer sets than outside hitters. The setter often has to make a back set to the opposing hitter, which is harder for him. Their goal is to cover the setter and dig the ball, so it is hard for them to hit. 

Is the opposite hitter similar to the outside hitter?

A good opposite hitter must have great jumping ability, just like an excellent outside hitter. Opposing hitters have more defensive responsibilities than pitchers. 

Do opposite hitters block?

On the right side of the net, opposing hitters are responsible for blocking their team’s outside hitter. In addition to helping the middle hitter block, they are sometimes used to help a strong center hitter on the other team. 

Conclusion

Among the team’s players, the Opposite Hitter Volleyball Position has the most versatility. It is their responsibility to play both offensively and defensively. Volleyball matches include many duties performed by the opposite hitter, including hitting, setting, and passing. Observation is essential for this player. 

Practice as much as you can if you are trying to become an opposite hitter. Additionally, watching other opposite hitters play the position and practicing the above drills are good ideas. 

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