Outside Hitter in Volleyball: Explained with Pictures

In volleyball, the outside hitter (OH) is one of the most important positions on the team. They are responsible for both attacking and blocking, and they play a key role in team dynamics.

This article will cover who is an outside hitter, the importance of the outside hitter position in team dynamics, skills, their roles and many more.

Let’s dive straight into it…

What IS Outside Hitter in Volleyball?

An outside hitter (OH) is a player who plays in the left-front position on the court and specializes in offensive attacks from the left side of the net. They also play a significant role in the team’s defensive efforts, including blocking and digging.

Outside Hitter Position in Volleyball

The outside hitter position is important in team dynamics because it is a versatile position. OHs can be both offensive and defensive players, and they can play a variety of roles on the team. This makes them valuable assets to any team.

Where Does Outside Hitter Play in the Court?

An outside hitter typically plays on the left side of the court when facing the net. He lines up in the front row on the left side alongside the middle blocker and opposite hitter.

outside hitter jumping

During rotations, the outside hitter moves through different positions on the court depending on the team’s serve and the player’s position in the rotation order. When in the back row, the outside hitter acts as a passer and defender, receiving serves and playing defense against the opponent’s attacks.

When the outside hitter rotates to the front row, they become the primary attacking option, receiving sets from the setter to execute powerful spikes and score points for the team. Their positioning on the left side allows them to attack from different angles and exploit gaps in the opponent’s defence.

Overall, the outside hitter’s court positioning and movement during rotations are vital to the team’s offensive and defensive strategies, allowing them to contribute in multiple areas of the game.

What does Outside Hitter do in Volleyball?

The outside hitter is responsible for both offence and defence. On offence, outside hitters are typically the team’s primary attackers. On defence, outside hitters are responsible for blocking the opponent’s attacks.

outside hitter hitting the ball

However, the main role of an outside hitter is to contribute to the team’s offence by scoring points through powerful and well-placed attacks.

Here are the key responsibilities of an outside hitter:

1. Attacking:

Outside hitters are primary attackers, meaning they receive sets from the setter and attempt to hit the ball over the net to score points.

They are expected to have strong hitting skills and the ability to generate powerful spikes that can penetrate the opposing team’s defence.

2. Spiking:

Outside hitters must possess excellent spiking techniques. They need to jump high, time their approach to the ball, and use proper arm swing mechanics to execute effective and difficult-to-defend spikes.

The ability to hit the ball with accuracy and power is crucial for success in this position.

3. Blocking:

Outside hitters also participate in blocking, which involves jumping near the net to intercept and deflect the opponent’s attacks.

Blocking is a combination of timing, positioning, and reading the opposing team’s hitters. By successfully blocking, outside hitters can disrupt the opponent’s offence and contribute to their team’s defensive efforts.

4. Serve Receive:

Outside hitters play a crucial role in serve receive, where they are responsible for passing the opponent’s serve to the setter, allowing the team to initiate an offensive play.

They must possess good passing skills, quick reflexes, and the ability to read the server’s intentions to accurately receive serves.

5. Defense:

Outside hitters are expected to contribute to the team’s defence by digging or receiving spiked balls from the opposing team.

They need to be quick on their feet, have good court awareness, and be able to react swiftly to hard-hit attacks.

Overall, the outside hitter is a versatile and dynamic position in volleyball, requiring a combination of attacking prowess, defensive skills, and strong teamwork abilities.

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What are the Attributes of an Outside Hitter?

When it comes to the game of volleyball, the outside hitter embodies a unique blend of athleticism, skill, and strategic prowess. To excel in this position and make a lasting impact on the court, outside hitters must possess a range of attributes that set them apart from their teammates.

Here are five key attributes that define an exceptional outside hitter:

  • Height. While not necessarily the tallest player on the team, outside hitters are often taller than other positions on the court. This gives them an advantage when hitting the ball, as they can reach higher and hit the ball harder.
  • Power. Outside hitters need to be strong and powerful in order to hit the ball hard and accurately. They also need to be able to jump high in order to reach the ball and hit it over the block.
  • Agility. Outside hitters need to be agile in order to move around the court and get into position to hit the ball. They also need to be able to change direction quickly in order to defend against the opponent’s attack.
  • Stamina. Outside hitters are involved in a lot of the action during a volleyball match. They need to be able to run and jump for long periods of time without getting tired.
  • Mental toughness. Outside hitters need to be mentally tough in order to deal with the pressure of being a key player on the team. They need to be able to stay focused and confident, even when things are not going their way.

In addition to these physical and mental attributes, outside hitters also need to have good volleyball skills. They need to be able to pass, set and hit the ball accurately. They also need to be able to communicate with their teammates and work together as a unit.

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What is the Difference Between Opposite Hitter and Outside Hitter?

The main difference between an opposite hitter and an outside hitter in volleyball lies in their positioning on the court and their specific roles within the team’s offensive strategy.

An opposite hitter, also known as a right-side hitter, lines up on the right side of the front row opposite the setter. Their primary responsibility is to be a strong offensive threat and provide a balance to the team’s attack. They often receive sets from the setter and are expected to execute powerful and accurate spikes from the right side of the court.

On the other hand, an outside hitter, also known as a left-side hitter, lines up on the left side of the front row. They are usually the primary attacking option and receive sets from the setter to execute powerful spikes from the left side of the court. Outside hitters are versatile players who need to possess strong hitting, passing, and defensive skills.

Here’s a table summarizing the key differences between an opposite hitter and an outside hitter:

Opposite HitterOutside Hitter
Lines up on the right side of the front rowLines up on the left side of the front row
Strong attacks from the right sidePrimary attacking option from the left side
Receives sets from the setter for powerful spikesReceives sets from the setter for powerful spikes
Strong blocking skills to defend against outside hitter attacksVersatile skills including hitting, passing, and defense
Plays on the opposite side of the setterPlays on the same side as the setter
Balances the team’s attackOften the primary offensive weapon

These distinctions in positioning and role help teams create a well-rounded and effective offensive strategy.

How to Become an Outside Hitter?

To become an outside hitter in volleyball, there are several steps you can take:

  1. Develop fundamental skills: Start by mastering the basic skills of volleyball, including passing, setting, hitting, and serving. Focus on building a strong foundation in these areas before specializing as an outside hitter.
  2. Enhance your hitting technique: Work on improving your spiking skills, including footwork, approach, arm swing, and timing. Practice hitting from different angles and positions to develop versatility.
  3. Improve your physical attributes: Outside hitters require good leaping ability, agility, speed, and overall athleticism. Engage in strength and conditioning exercises to build power, explosiveness, and endurance.
  4. Refine your defensive abilities: Outside hitters need to be capable defenders. Work on your digging, blocking, and overall defensive skills to contribute effectively in both offence and defence.
  5. Play in competitive environments: Join a volleyball team or club and participate in matches and tournaments to gain experience and exposure to higher levels of play. Seek opportunities to play against strong opponents.

Requirements to become an outside hitter include a combination of technical skills, physical attributes, and mental aptitude. You should have a strong hitting technique, good passing skills, and the ability to read the game. Physical attributes such as agility, speed, and leaping ability are also important.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called outside hitter?

The position is called “outside hitter” because these players typically line up on the outside edges of the front row, closer to the sidelines, during rotations. Their positioning on the court distinguishes them from the middle blockers who play closer to the net.

What are the main roles of an outside hitter?

The main roles of an outside hitter are to receive serves, attack the ball, block opposing hitters, and play defence. They need to have strong hitting and passing skills, as well as good court awareness and agility.

What are the skills needed to be a good outside hitter?

To excel as an outside hitter, players need to have powerful and accurate hitting techniques, good jumping ability, solid blocking skills, and strong passing and defensive abilities. They must also possess good anticipation and decision-making skills.

What is the typical position of an outside hitter?

An outside hitter usually lines up on the left front position of the net. They are often one of the primary scoring options for their team and work closely with the setter to execute offensive plays.

What is the difference between an outside hitter and a middle blocker?

While both positions involve attacking and blocking, an outside hitter typically plays on the left side of the net and focuses more on scoring points, while a middle blocker operates in the centre and has a primary role in blocking.

Can an outside hitter play other positions in volleyball?

Outside hitters are often versatile players who can adapt to different positions. They may occasionally play as opposite hitters or even as back-row players, depending on the team’s strategy and the player’s skills.

How can I become a better outside hitter?

To improve as an outside hitter, focus on developing your hitting techniques, footwork, and timing. Practice passing and defensive skills to become a well-rounded player. Watch professional matches and learn from experienced outside hitters.


In conclusion, the role of an outside hitter in volleyball is vital to the success of a team.

With their ability to attack, block, and defend, outside hitters play a multifaceted role that requires a diverse skill set. Their powerful hits and precise placement contribute to the team’s offensive firepower, while their defensive abilities help to neutralize opponents’ attacks.

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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