The Ready Position in Volleyball

Get into proper position to make a play

A men’s volleyball match.
A men’s volleyball match. Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

The ready position in volleyball is a general positioning of the body that enables a player to be physically prepared and in good position to react to an upcoming play. In a proper volleyball ready position, the knees are bent, the hands are out in front of the player at waist level and just outside the knees, and the player’s weight is balanced forward. It's important that the player’s weight is balanced forward on the body because this will help the player gain momentum.

If you're feeling uncomfortable, stiff, or awkward, you're most likely not doing it right. These steps should help you perfect the stance. 

Proper Ready Position

The ready position is an extremely important aspect of playing volleyball because when it's properly performed it can help a player react more quickly to an incoming ball. A player who is set up in proper ready position before any given play will automatically have an advantage because he'll be physically prepared to react and to get to that incoming ball.

A player can follow three steps in make sure he's in proper ready position. Setting up improperly could have negative effects on the play, just as setting up in the ready position properly can have positive effects on the play.

The First Step

Proper ready positions begins with good weight distribution—the first step. The player’s weight should be evenly distributed on the balls of his feet. His weight should not be on his heels because this will slow down his reaction time. He wants to surge forward, not fall backward.

With his weight distributed evenly across the balls of his feet, the player will be balanced and prepared to use his weight as momentum when the time comes to make a move. It's also easier to move laterally if he must when his weight is on the front of his foot.

The Second Step 

Balance is extremely important to the ready position. The player’s feet should be properly spaced apart—this is the second step of a proper ready position. The feet should be spread at about a shoulder-length from each other. The knees should be bent slightly, but not too much.

The Third Step 

Finally, as the third step, the player’s arms should be out and ready for action. His head should be up with his eyes on the ball at all times.

Similarities to the Triple Threat Position

The ready position in volleyball is similar to the triple threat position in basketball. In fact, volleyball and basketball have a lot in common, both in training and in execution. Both sports require endurance, strength, teamwork, and the ability to jump.

The triple threat position in basketball allows a player who receives the ball to be equally prepared to pass, shoot, or dribble. The ready position in volleyball operates on a similar concept because it aims to have players prepared to receive, return, or pass an incoming ball. Depending on what the player needs to do, ready position puts the body in proper position to react quickly.