How to Set a Volleyball Perfectly

Group of young people playing volleyball on beach

A set is a quick motion that positions the volleyball for a hit. The ease with which setters put the ball up in the air is deceiving. Setting a volleyball correctly is the most difficult skill to learn in volleyball. The ability to accurately place the ball where it needs to be time and time again is a skill learned through continual practice. Practice alone will not be beneficial, however, if the correct technique is missing.

Hand Position

Bring your hands together above your head.

Face your palms toward the ceiling with fingertips touching.

Form a triangle with your thumbs and index fingers, opening up the rest of your hands.

Separate your hands so that a volleyball would fit nicely in the pocket.

Setter Posture

Place your feet shoulder-width apart for increased balance.

Bend your knees slightly.

Place one foot slightly behind the other.

Position your elbows out to the side with your hands over your forehead.

Ball Contact

Relax your hands as the ball drops into them.

Extend your arms and wrists, pushing the ball up immediately after the ball contacts your fingertips.

Follow through with a complete arm extension as the ball is released.


Watch the ball after you have set it. If it spins, you are not contacting it cleanly. Slow down your setting motion, which allows you to get more fingers on the ball for better control and less spin.


Avoid being called for a "lift." This is illegal and happens when the ball briefly stops on your fingertips before you set it.