Ultimate Guide to the Opposite Hitter Volleyball Position

opposite hitter volleyball position

Ever wonder about the superstar who smashes those fantastic shots from the right side of the court?

I call him the powerhouse of attacks and the wall of defense.

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You got it right!

I am referring to the opposite hitter volleyball position, the team’s secret weapon for some serious action.

Quick Answer: The opposite hitter in volleyball is a key player positioned on the right side of the court, excelling in attacking and blocking. Their role is vital in offensive and defensive strategies, crucial for a team’s overall performance.

In this guide, I will explain what makes the opposite spikers so cool.

I will also discuss their key roles, the skills that set them apart, and some insider tips on mastering this position.

So, are you geared up to explore the high-energy world of opposite hitters?

Let’s jump right in and get the excitement started!

What is an Opposite Hitter in Volleyball?

The opposite hitter in volleyball, often called the right-side hitter or ‘right-side spiker,’ is a crucial position on the team.

This role has gained significant importance in modern volleyball over the years.

Before the 1960s, volleyball required all players to contribute offensively and defensively.

As the volleyball strategies evolved, the need for a player who could excel in multiple skills became crucial.

It leads to the development of this versatile role.

an opposite hitter striking the ball hard
Photo by Codeson Fotos

Opposite hitters are now often among the tallest and most athletic players on the court, having incredible vertical jumps.

Regarding their position on the court, they typically stand at position 2 in the front row and position 1 in the back row. 

Their primary role is to be a strong attacker from the right side of the court, often performing the most challenging spikes. 

They also excel in blocking, especially against the opposing team’s left-side hitters.

Right-side hitters are typically essential in all rotation systems, but they shine particularly in the 5-1 rotation.

The reason is that in this formation system, they help the team both in attacking and defending. 

Since there’s only one setter in a 5-1 rotation, the opposite hitter can attack from the front and back of the court.

It means they can always be ready to make strong plays, no matter where they are standing.

What does the Opposite Hitter do in Volleyball?

In volleyball, the opposite hitters are the jack-of-all-trades on the court, masterfully balancing both attack and defense.

Their role is about powerful hits and a blend of strategy and skills.

Regarding their responsibilities in the court, we can divide them into defensive and offensive ones.

Let’s discuss the offensive duties of right-side spike first:

  • Powerful Spikes: The Opposite Hitter delivers strong attacks from the right side to achieve maximum kills.
  • Consistent Scoring: He acts as a primary source of points and improves the defensive part of his team.
  • Back Row Attacks: He executes attacks from behind the 3-meter line.
  • Adapting to Setters: The job of right-side hitters is to work in sync with setters for effective plays.
  • Strategic Placement: He analyzes the gaps at the opponent’s end and aims shots there.

Talking about the defensive duties, he has the following duties:

  • Blocking: The Opposite Hitter blocks the opposing Outside Hitters, particularly in the front row.
  • Backcourt Defense: He contributes to digging and passing in the back row, especially complex dives like pancakes.
  • Serve Receive: The Outside assists in receiving serves, maintaining the team’s formation, and stopping the competitors from scoring the aces.
  • Court Coverage: He has the specialty to cover large areas of the court, especially in the back row.
  • Reading the Opponent: The Right-Side Hitter anticipates and adapts to the opposing team’s attacks.
an opposite hitter in defensive mood
Photo by Chris Michaels

Essential Skills for Opposite Hitter Volleyball Position

In volleyball, the right-side hitter is like an all-rounder in a superhero team.

This player combines athleticism with strategic awareness, making their role complex and critical. 

They have many fantastic skills that make every game exciting and unique from other players.

Let’s discuss a few of them below:

1) Attacking Skills

The right-side spiker in volleyball is incredible at attacking the ball over the net.

He is like a sharpshooter, finding and exploiting weaknesses in the opposition’s defense. 

Also, he positions himself for every hit because of his proficiency at reading the setter’s cues.

Besides just powerful spikes, he can do gentle roll shots and quick tips over the blockers, surprising the other team.

2) Blocking Techniques

In volleyball, the right-side hitter is like the team’s secret weapon at the net.

They’re always ready to jump and block the ball when the other team tries to spike. 

They move quickly from side to side, ensuring they’re in the perfect spot to stop the ball.

When they jump to block, they use their hands smartly to cover as much space as possible.

It makes it challenging for the other team to score.

An interesting rule is that opposite hitters can double hit the ball as a defensive strategy, and that’s completely legal!

the opposite hitter in defensive mood

3) Defensive Responsibilities

If you think right-side hitters in volleyball are only about spiking, think again.

They’re crucial for defense, too.

Picture them teaming up with the libero in the back row.

Together, they both are a defensive powerhouse.

These hitters are always ready to leap and dive, ensuring the ball never touches the ground.

They cover a wide area on the court, always watching the ball closely.

With their quick reflexes and sharp decision-making, they can turn challenging defensive situations into scoring opportunities.

4) Setting and Serving Abilities

When I mentioned the versatility of opposite hitters before, I meant it.

The reason is that they are not just good at hitting and blocking but also have the skills to set or serve.

When it comes to setting, they often step in to help out, especially if the primary setter can’t play the ball.

They must quickly set up the ball for their teammates to spike.

And for serving, yes, the rule allows them to serve (that I will explain in detail later on).

They’re fantastic at it, too.

They serve the ball in tricky ways, making it hard for the other team to hit it back.

It can give their team a significant advantage in the game.

the volleyball players trying to stop a serve
Photo by KLM Volleyball

Physical and Mental Attributes

Opposite hitters in volleyball are remarkable not only for their playing skills but also for their distinct physical and mental traits.

These attributes make them one of the most demanding players on the team.

Let’s discuss a few physical attributes of right-side hitters below:

  1. Opposite hitters in volleyball usually stand out with their height, often being the tallest on their team. This extra height is a significant advantage, allowing them to reach higher for powerful spikes and effective blocks. According to NCSA, the standing reach of an opposite hitter is 7’9″, surpassing that of their teammates.
  2. They are athletic and have good strength, which allows them to dominate the net and helps them in powerful hitting.
  3. Their ability to move quickly and change direction helps in both attacking and defending.
  4. The Right-Side Spikers have better stamina than their fellow players, which helps them to maintain energy and performance throughout long matches.
  5. A solid vertical leap is vital for spiking and blocking effectively, and that’s what they are famous for. The average vertical jump of an opposite hitter is approximately 20.5”.

It’s time to elaborate on some of the mental attributes of Opposite Hitters:

  1. They think strategically and properly analyze the game, plan attacks, and adapt to the opposing team’s strategies.
  2. They stay calm and focused under pressure, especially in crucial game moments.
  3. One of the finest traits of right-side hitters is effective communication and collaboration with their teammates, which is crucial for the team’s success.
  4. Resilience is another prominent characteristic as it helps them recover quickly from setbacks and maintain a positive attitude.

Rules for Opposite Hitters: Debunking Misconceptions

There’s a common misconception that opposite hitters have specific rules and regulations in volleyball.

In reality, they follow the same standard rules as other players. 

They must stick to their team’s rotation order.

In the front row, opposite hitters take their position on the right side, focusing their efforts on attacking and blocking.

Then, as they rotate to the back row, their role transitions to focus on defense and serving.

right side hitter trying to stop the ball

For attacks, they can hit the ball above the net height at the front, but when they’re in the back row, they need to jump from behind the 3-meter line for their attacks.

As blockers, their primary task is to block spikes from the opponent’s outside hitters.

Most importantly, they must avoid reaching over the net or touching it during blocks, as these actions would break the game’s rules.

Right Side Hitter Volleyball Tips

To become a better right-side hitter in volleyball, consider these suggestions.

  • Improve Your Spiking Technique: The more you practice spiking, the better you’ll get. Regularly practice with a setter to work on your timing and coordination. Focus on hitting with power and precision, and try different spikes to keep the defense guessing.
  • Enhance Your Blocking Skills: Work on your jump timing and hand positioning for effective blocks. Watch YouTube videos of top players to learn how they anticipate and counter opponent’s moves.
  • Boost Your Defensive Play: Defensive skills like digging and passing are crucial. Practice these regularly to improve your reaction time and agility. Participate in drills that mimic game situations for the best results.
  • Step Right, Hit Better: When you move to hit the ball, put your right foot just behind it. It helps you hit the ball better. Also, turn your left side towards the net when preparing for the next move.
  • Swing Your Arm Faster: Start moving your arm a bit sooner than usual when you hit the ball. Doing it can make your spike quicker and more powerful.
  • Work on Mental Toughness: Stay focused and maintain a positive attitude, even during tough matches. Learn to handle pressure and bounce back from mistakes quickly.
  • Seek Feedback: Regular constructive feedback from coaches is essential. Use their guidance to refine your techniques and strategy.
  • Increase Your Physical Fitness: Volleyball requires stamina, strength, and agility. Incorporate exercises such as weight training, cardio, etc., into your training sessions that build these attributes.
opposite hitter trying to stop a spike

Best Opposite Hitters in Volleyball

Well, this is a difficult question to answer!

In volleyball, numerous exceptional outside hitters exist in both men’s and women’s categories.

Wallace de Souza is my choice for the best men’s outside hitter, and Paola Egonu shines as the best in the women’s category.

Wallace de Souza is a Brazilian outside hitter with a spike height of 360cm.

He has been awarded the best MVP award for VNL 2021 and the best spike award for Club World Championship 22/23.

He’s known for his explosive power and precise technique. 

His impressive performance in international competitions, including the Olympics, shows his status as one of the best right-side hitters in the world.

Honestly, I can’t get my eyes off him when he outranks his opponents through his blazing-fast spikes.

Paola Egonu is an opposite hitter from Italy, with a spike height of 335cm.

She has won multiple awards, including MVP in Turkish Cup 22/23 and best opposite in Champions League 22/23.

Egonu is known for her incredible attacking power and high vertical jump.

Her spikes are so powerful that it makes it almost impossible for the opponents to defend.

I have massive respect for her because, in the women’s category, there are fewer right-side hitters known globally.

Opposite Hitter Drills and Exercises

To truly excel as an opposite hitter, specialized drills and exercises are super important.

There is a belief that volleyball training is uniform for all positions.

But in reality, each role, including the right-side hitter, benefits from tailored drills.

These specific exercises help sharpen the skills needed to shine in this position.

I personally recommend three drills for opposite hitters: the Spike Approach, Block & Transition, and Back Row Attack.

The step-by-step procedure for each drill is given below:

1) Spike Approach Drill

This drill focuses on perfecting the spike approach, which is crucial for effective attacking.

To perform it, follow the simple steps:

  1. Begin in the back row.
  2. Rapidly approach the net with a three-step or four-step spike approach.
  3. Work on timing the jump to hit the ball at its peak.
  4. Repeat this process at least 10-12 times.

2) Block and Transition Drill

This drill enhances the ability to switch from defense (blocking) to offense (spiking).

The procedure is:

  1. Start at the net in a blocking position.
  2. Execute a jump to simulate a block.
  3. Immediately transition to an offensive role.
  4. Prepare for a quick spike, focusing on agility and transition speed.

3) Back Row Attack Drill

This drill is excellent for practicing the timing and power needed for effective back-row attacks, an essential skill for opposite hitters.

The steps are:

  1. Begin in your base position in the back row, ready to move.
  2. As your partner sets the ball, approach the 3-meter (10-foot) line quickly. Focus on your footwork to maintain proper form.
  3. It is important to time your jump so you’re taking off just behind the line. This step is crucial to avoid a back-row attack fault.
  4. Position your body and arm to hit the ball at its highest point while you are in the air.
  5. After making contact with the ball, follow through with your arm and body
  6. Land safely, bending your knees to absorb the impact, and quickly get ready to transition back to your defensive position.

Final Words

To wrap it up, the role of an opposite hitter is a blend of powerful offense with solid defense. 

I have covered their key responsibilities, essential skills, and the specific drills in this guide.

If you dream of becoming a skilled opposite spiker, focus on these specialized drills and fully grasp the significance of your role, both in offense and defense. 

Most importantly, work on improving your physical and mental game. 

With dedication and practice, you can excel in this dynamic position and, eventually, contribute to your team’s success.

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