5-1 Volleyball Rotation: Explained With Animations

5-1 Rotation is the most common rotation in volleyball. But, a lot of people, especially beginners, find it confusing to understand. However, It is crucial for players to know and understand rotations, as it determines their positioning on the court and ultimately affects their performance.

Here, we will break down the 5-1 rotation and explain it in detail with the help of animations. So, let’s dive in!

What is a 5-1 Rotation?

As the name suggests, a 5-1 rotation consists of five hitters and one setter. It means that there are five players on the front row who can attack, while the setter stays in the back row to set up plays.

To understand rotation better, let’s first look at each position on the court:

There are two rows in the court, the front row and the back row and 6 players in these two rows. The positions are of these players arranged as follows;

  • Right Back: This is where the setter starts, and it is also known as “zone one”.
  • Right Front: The outside hitter plays in this position, and it is called “zone two”.
  • Middle Front: This is where the middle blocker 2 plays. It is also called “zone three”.
  • Left Front: The opposite hitter plays in this position, and it is known as “zone four”.
  • Left Back: The Outside hitter 2 takes this position. It is called “zone five”.
  • Middle Back: This is where the middle blocker 1 starts, but we’ll let libero play instead of middle blocker 1. It is called “zone six”.

Now, before moving to 5-1 rotation, let’s understand the two important concepts of rotation.

Rules of 5-1 Rotation:

First, “Player’s Positions on the court are determined by the players adjacent to them. You can’t pass or cross over the players adjacent to you.”

For example, the setter needs to be in-between outside hitter 1 and the libero, outside hitter 1 needs to be in-between middle blocker 2 and the setter, and middle blocker 2 needs to be in-between opposite hitter and outside hitter 1 and also in front of libero.

Similarly, the opposite hitter needs to be in-between middle blocker 2 and outside hitter 2, Outside hitter 2 needs to be in-between opposite hitter and libero, lastly, the libero needs to be in-between outside hitter 2 and setter and also in the back side of middle blocker 2.

If any of them try to pass, it’ll be considered as out of the rotation.

Second, you also need to know the concept of base or defensive position. This means “when the ball crosses the opposing side, players switch to their base position.”

Here, the outside hitter 1 moves from right front to left front, while the opposite hitter moves from left front to right front. However, all the other players maintain their existing positions.

5-1 Rotation in Action:

Now, let’s see how the rotation works.

Service 1:

As the setter goes back to serve the ball, the players come close to each other. This will make it easier for outside hitter 1 and opposite hitter to switch their positions.

When the setter hits the ball, the rules of rotation no longer apply, all the players will move to the base position.

Rotation 1: (Serve Receive)

For serve receive, we’ll step up a three-person receiving system, where outside hitters 1 and 2, along with the libero will be responsible for the serve receive.

The outside hitter 1 goes back to hide the setter, so he can quickly transition to his setting role once the serve is received. Here, if you take a look all the players are still in rotation and not overlapping each other.

As the opponent’s serve contacts, the setter quickly moves towards its setting position. After the team successfully returns the ball, everyone shifts back into base positions.

Service 2:

After we win the point and it is our turn to serve, we will rotate positions. This will start rotation 2.

Now, the Outside Hitter 1 will go back to serve. The setter will move to the right back, as the outside hitter is out of the court and Libero gets to the middle back. In the front row, the middle blocker 2 will move towards the middle.

As the ball is connected by the server, the opposite hitter moves to its base position at the right front and outside hitter goes to the left back.

Rotation 2: (Serve Receive)

As the opponent wins a point and it is their turn to serve, we will go to regular and then set up for serve receive. But, the problem is the setter is in the centre of the court and we’ve to hide him from passing the ball.

Keeping in mind the overlap rule, we’ll move the setter to the top and rotate all three players to the right side. The libero will move to the middle back and the outside hitter will rotate to the back row for serve receive. So, if we apply the overlap rule, all the players are still in rotation.

After the opponent contacts the ball, both the front row and the back row will change their positions. As the ball passes to the opponent’s side, all the players will switch to base positions.

Service 3:

After we’ve won the point and it is our turn to serve, we will rotate positions. This will put us into rotation 3.

Now, the libero is in the front row, but he can’t play in the front row, so we’ll replace the libero with middle blocker 1. We’ll let the Libero serve instead of middle blocker 2, as the Libero can serve for any player.

The Libero goes back to serve, all the players come close to each other so they can easily switch to their base positions. As the server contacts the ball, all the players will get to their base positions.

Rotation 3: (Serve Receive)

After the opponent sides out and it is their turn to serve, we will go to regular rotation and then set up for serve receive.

Here the setter is at the left back, so we’ll move the setter to the middle front and the outside hitter will rotate towards the left back. Again, we’ve to keep in mind your overlaps, so you are in the proper rotations.

After the opponent serves the players, both the front row and back row will need to make the switches to their correct positions for hitting the ball. As the ball goes over the net, all the players will switch back to their base positions.

Service 4:

After we win the point and it is our turn to serve, we will rotate positions. This will put us into Rotation 4.

When the opposite hitter goes back to serve all the players will come close to each other. So, they can quickly switch to their base positions.

As the ball is contacted by the server, the players move to their base positions, the setter will move to the right and outside hitter 2 will go to the left.

Rotation 4: (Serve Receive)

When the opponent wins the point and it is their turn to serve, we will go to regular rotation and then set up for serve receive.

Here, the setter will go to top left and middle blocker 1 and outside hitter 2 will go back to the setter, whereas outside hitter 1, libero and opposite hitter will stay in the back row, Again, You have to keep in mind your overlaps, so all the players are in the rotation.

After the opponent serves the players, both the front row and back row will need to make the switches to their correct positions for hitting the ball. As the ball goes over the net, all the players will switch back to their base positions.

Service 5:

When we’ve won the point and it is our turn to serve, we will rotate positions. This will put us into rotation 5. The outside hitter 2 will go back to serve. Again, all players come close to each other.

Now, the middle blocker 1 will come close to the setter and the opposite hitter and libero will move towards the right. As the server contacts the ball, all players will rotate back to their base position.

Rotation 5: (Serve Receive)

After the opponent sides out and it is their turn to serve, we will go back to regular rotation and then set up for serve receive.

Here, the setter will move towards the right, the opposite hitter will drop back a bit, the libero will rotate towards the middle and outside hitter 1 will move to the left back. You have to keep in mind the overlap rule, so you are in proper rotations.

After the opponent serves the players, both the front row and back row will need to make the switches to their correct positions for hitting the ball. As the ball goes over the net, all the players will switch back to their base positions.

Service 6:

As we won a point and it is our turn to serve, we will rotate positions. This will put us into Rotation 6.

Libero is again in the front row, so we’ll replace the libero with middle blocker 2. Middle blocker 1 will go back to serve, all players will come close to each other. However, the middle blocker 2 will move towards the middle, opposite hitter will also move to the middle back.

When the ball is contacted by the server all the players will move back to their base positions.

Rotation 6: (Serve Receive)

When the opponent wins a point and it is their turn to serve, we will go to regular rotation and then set up for the serve receive. Libero will come back and replace the middle blocker 1.

Now, the opposite hitter will hide back and the outside hitter 1 will move towards the left back. Again, you have to keep in mind your overlaps, so you are in proper rotations.

After the opponent serves the players, both the front row and back row will need to make the switches to their correct positions for hitting the ball. As the ball goes over the net, all the players will switch back to their base positions.

Conclusion:

That’s it. I know the concept is difficult to digest but if you read the article again, you’ll get more clear.

Kyle Parker

About Author:

I'm Kyle Parker, a former professional volleyball player turned coach. Here, I shares in-depth guides and practical tips to elevate your volleyball game. Learn more...

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