Understanding a Back Row Attack in Volleyball

Back row attack volleyball
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A back row attack in volleyball occurs when one of the three back row players attacks the ball and contacts it at the top of the net.

In a back row attack, the back row player jumps from behind the white line, also known as the ten-foot line, or the three-meter line and contacts the ball.


In a back row attack, the back row attacker must jump from behind the three-meter line. If the player attacks from in front of the three-meter line, a penalty is called.

Other Common Volleyball Terms

Volleyball is a game of ample terminology. Here is a list of some other common volleyball terms:

Ace: A botched serve after which the opponent is awarded a point.

Antenna: Vertical rods mounted above the sidelines and close to the edges of the net, and usually used for indoor courts.

Approach: Moving quickly toward the net or ball in an attempt to make a play.

Assist: Helping a teammate set up a kill.

Attack Block: A receiver's attempt to block a spiked ball.

Attack Error: An attack botched in one of five ways: It lands out of bounds, the ball goes into the net, the opponent blocks the ball, the attacker commits a center violation, or the attacker illegally contacts the ball.

Attack Line: Also called "the 10-foot line"; the line that divides the front row players from the back row players.

Attack: The offensive act of hitting the volleyball.

Attacker: Also called "hitter" or "spiker." An offensive player who tries to hit the ball to end a play and ultimately earn a point for his team.

Back Court: The space from the end line to the attack line.

Back Set: A set delivered from behind the setter to an attacker.

Beach Dig: Also called "deep dish", a method of receiving the ball open-handed.

Block Assist: Two or more teammates help block a spiked ball.

Block: A defense play by teammates intended to keep a spiked ball in the offense court.

Bump/Bump Pass: To pass the ball using locked forearms.

Campfire/Campfire Defense: Two or more players surround a ball that lands on the floor.

Carry: A botched pass involving prolonged contact with the ball.

Centerline Violation: Crossing the centerline and entering the opponent's half.

Centerline: The floor line running the length of the net that divides the court in half.

Chester: A hit to the chest.

Closing the Block: Teammates close the space between two blockers to prevent the ball from passing between them.

Coach Kill: The opponent fouls immediately after the coach calls a time-out or substitution.

Cover the Hitter: Attacking players surround a spiker to protect opponent rebounds.

Cross Court Shot: An attack delivered at an angle across the court from one side of the net to the other.

Cut Shot: A spike delivered at a sharp angle across the net.

Decoy: An offensive play set up to disguise the receiving spiker.

Deep Dish: Also called "beach dig"; to receive the ball open-handed.

Deep Set: A set hit away from the net in an effort to throw off blockers.

Dig: Diving deep to pass a spiked or fast-moving ball close to the floor.

Dink: A one-handed move gently around blockers using the fingertips.

Double Block: Two players working in tandem to deflect a ball hit close to the net.

Double Hit: Two or more hits in a row by the same player.

Double Quick: Two hitters quickly approach the setter.

Doubles: Most commonly played on sand, a game involving two players per team.

Down Ball: A defense call on a ball hit overhand so far from the net that the defense chooses not to block it.

Dump: A soft hit near the net, as opposed to a spike, intended to throw off the offense.

Facial: Also called "six-pack"; a blocker gets hit in the head or face by the spiker.

Fish: A player who gets hung up in the net.

Five-one: A six-player team that involves five hitters and one setter.

Five-set: Also called "red set"; the back row sets a play to the right front player.

Flare: A strategic move from the inside out designed to fake the opponent. A teammate runs a deceptive play, then the attacker quickly moves from the inside to attack on the outside.

Floater: A served ball with no spin.

Forearm Pass: Or simply "pass", a play made with the inside forearms locked at the wrists.

Foul: Rule violation.

Four Set: Also called "shoot set"; a set one foot from the sideline and one to two feet from above the net for the outside hitter.

Four Two: Six-player team using four hitters and two setters.

Free Ball: A ball returned on a pass and not on a spike.

Free Ball: A gentle return of the ball by the opponent.

Free Zone: Area outside the boundaries of the court.

Free Zone: Area outside the court boundaries.

Friendly Fire: A light blow to the head with a serve.

Front Slide: Sliding into position in front of the setter.

Front: The front net position to block the attacker.

Heat: A very hard spike.

Held Ball: A ball resting in a player's arms or hands resulting in a foul.

Hit: A jump strike of the ball with the palm of the hand.

Hitter: The "spiker" or "attacker".

Hitting Percentage: Total kills minus total attack errors divided by the number of attempts.

Husband-and-wife Play: Slang phrase referring to a ball that drops between two players who fail to communicate.

Inside Shoot: A strategic play in which the attacker feigns a quick hit for a medium-height hit.

Isolation Play: A play intended to pit the attacker on a specific defender.

Jedi Defense: Slang for a surprisingly powerful pass pulled off by an immobile defender.

Joust: Opposing players volley the ball above the plane of the net.

Jump Serve: A jump spike of the ball by the server.

Jungle Ball: An informal game involving people unapprised of the rules.

Key: Predicting the opponent's next move, based on play patterns.

Kill: A hit immediately resulting in a point or out.

Kong: A one-handed block so-named after the infamous King Kong's moves.

Let Serve: A net serve. Playable if it makes it over the net, dead if not.

Line Serve: A straight serve landing on the opponent's left sideline.

Line Shot: A spiked shot landing on the opponent's sideline.

Line: A straight sideline attack.

Lollipop: A gentle serve often resulting in getting "licked".

Middle Back: The back row middle player assigned to cover deep spikes.

Middle Blocker: The front row middle player assigned to block close-net spikes.

Middle Up: The back row middle player assigned to cover dinks and short shots.

Middle: The middle front or back player.

Mintonette: The original name for the game of volleyball, given by William G. Morgan.

Monument Valley: Space between two, tall, non-defending players.

Multiple Offense: The use of multiple sets.

Net Violation: A part of the uniform or body illegally contacts the net.

Off-speed Hit: A low-impact spike with a spin.

Offside Block: The net player opposite the attacker side.

Outside Hitter: A right or left-front attacker that approaches the ball from the outside.

Overhand Pass: An open-handed pass made from above the forehead.

Overhand Serve: Serving the ball with the palm of the hand above the shoulder.

Overlap: The rotation positions of players before the serve.

Paint Brush: A player attempts to strike the ball but instead brushes it.

Pancake: A bounce off the back of the hand by a player who dives to the floor to save the ball.

Pass: Also called "forearm pass"; a play using the underside of the forearms connected at the wrists.

Penetration: A block in which the player reaches across and breaks the plane of the net.

Pepper: A drill in which two players pass, set, and volley the ball.

Point of Service: An "ace", or point-winning serve.

Power Alley: A powerful hit that travels across the court.

Power Tip: A powerful push or control of the ball by the attackers.

Power Volleyball: A competitive method originating with the Japanese.

Prince: Also called "whale" or "Princess of Whales"; a flippant player who always hits the ball with as much power as possible with little regard for strategy.

Quick Set: An above-the-net strategy in which the hitter anticipates the setter's play and is in the air before the set is executed.

Rainbow: An arc-shaped shot.

Ready Position: A player's neutral, alert stance prior to moving on the ball.

Reception Error: A botched receive that could have otherwise been returned.

Red Card: The final penalty given by an official after two yellow card warnings, which could result in a player's or team's disqualification from the game.

Redwood: A tall, somewhat uncoordinated blocker.

Roll: Quick return of a close-to-the-floor ball whereby the digger or passer rolls the ball over his arms, back or shoulders.

Roof: A spike block that deflects the ball directly to the floor.

Rotation: The clockwise movement of players around the court after a side out.

Screening: Illegal obstruction of an opposing server's field of vision.

Serve: To set the ball in play.

Server: The player who sets the ball in play.

Service Ace: A serve that bounces off the floor or is struck by the passer so that a second hit is not possible.

Service Error: A serve in which the ball hits or fails to clear the net, the ball goes out of bounds, or the server faults.

Service Winner: The serving team earns a point directly after having served the ball.

Set: Strategic passes among players intent to direct the ball to a spike.

Setter: The second of three players in a series passes, who sets the ball up with an overhand pass to a hitter.

Shank: An extremely botched pass.

Side Out: The receiving team is given the serve because the serving team commits an error.

Six-pack: A spiked ball hits the blocker in the face or head.

Six-two: An offense using six players and two setters opposite each other on rotation.

Sizzle the Pits: A spike that whizzes past players' raised arms.

Sky Ball: An underhand serve that sends the ball high over the net and straight down.

Spike: A strike with intent to kill the ball on the opponent's side.

Strong Side: A right-handed hit from the left front row, and vice versa.

Stuff: Slang for "block", a hit deflected by blockers back to the attacker's court.

Tandem: A play intended to surprise blockers wherein a player directly behind another attacks the ball.

Tip: Control of the ball with the fingers, also called "dink" or "dump".

Tool: A "wipe" or hit that bounces off blockers' arms and out of bounds.

Trap Set: A low, tight set close to the net.

Tuna: A net violation.

Turning In: The outside blocker turns his body in toward the court in order to deflect the ball inbounds.

Underhand Serve: A serving style in which the ball is lightly tossed into the air and struck with closed fist turned up.

Weak Side: A right-handed player plays from the right front side of the court, and vice versa.

Whale: Also called "princess" or "prince; swinging carelessly at the ball without any regard to strategy.

Wipe: Also called "tool", a deliberate hit of the ball off a blocker's arms and out of bounds.

Yellow Card: A warning of misconduct given by an official to a player. Two yellow cards is an automatic red card, in which a player or team is disqualified from the game.