10 Verbal and Non-Verbal Signals in Volleyball

August 31, 2023

Volleyball, a sport of rapid movements and split-second decisions, relies heavily on effective communication. Players use a combination of verbal calls and non-verbal signals to convey strategies, warn teammates, or celebrate points. Understanding these cues is essential for both players and fans to fully grasp the game's intricacies. In this article, we'll delve into ten crucial verbal and non-verbal signals in volleyball, shedding light on the sport's unspoken language.

Calling "Mine!" (Verbal)

  • Overview: This is perhaps the most fundamental call in volleyball. When a player shouts "mine," they're signaling their intent to play the ball.
  • Importance: Clear communication prevents collisions and ensures that the best-placed player takes the shot.

Setter's Signals (Non-Verbal)

  • Overview: Before serving, the setter often uses hand signals behind their back to indicate the type of set they plan to make.
  • Importance: This allows hitters to anticipate the set and position themselves accordingly, keeping the strategy hidden from the opponents.

Calling "Out!" (Verbal)

  • Overview: When an opposing player serves or hits the ball, and it appears to be heading out of bounds, players shout "out" to warn teammates not to touch it.
  • Importance: This ensures the team doesn't play balls that would give them an advantage if left untouched.

Thumb Pointing (Non-Verbal)

  • Overview: When blocking, players might point their thumb down or to the side, indicating the direction they intend to block.
  • Importance: This signal helps coordinate team blocks, ensuring there are no gaps for the opponent to exploit.

Calling "Short" or "Deep" (Verbal)

  • Overview: Players use these calls to alert teammates about the trajectory of an incoming ball, whether it's landing near the net or toward the back of the court.
  • Importance: Early calls help players adjust their positioning and prepare for the next play.

Wiping the Hand Down (Non-Verbal)

  • Overview: After a successful spike, players might wipe their hand down, signaling that they've "wiped" the ball off an opponent's block.
  • Importance: It's a celebratory gesture, boosting team morale and indicating a strategic play.

Calling "Free!" (Verbal)

  • Overview: When the opposing team can't execute a controlled play and resorts to a simple overpass, players shout "free" to alert their team of an easy ball.
  • Importance: Recognizing a "free ball" allows the team to transition quickly from defence to offence.

Closed Fist or Open Hand (Non-Verbal)

  • Overview: When serving, players might use a closed fist to indicate a float serve or an open hand for a topspin serve.
  • Importance: This pre-serve ritual helps the server focus and lets teammates know the type of serve coming up.

Calling "Tip!" (Verbal)

  • Overview: If an opponent taps the ball lightly over the blockers (a dink or tip), players call out "tip" to alert the back row to move forward.
  • Importance: Quick calls help defenders react promptly to these sneaky plays, increasing the chances of a successful dig.

Pointing to the Floor (Non-Verbal)

  • Overview: After a successful play, players might point to a spot on the floor, indicating where they intend to place the ball next.
  • Importance: It's both a strategic signal for teammates and a psychological play, challenging opponents to defend that spot.

In the fast-paced realm of volleyball, clear and concise communication is paramount. These verbal and non-verbal signals, while seemingly simple, play a pivotal role in a team's success. They bridge the gap between strategy and execution, ensuring all players move in harmony, anticipating plays, and reacting in unison.

For aspiring volleyball players, mastering these signals is as crucial as honing physical skills. It's a testament to the sport's depth, where mind and body work in tandem, and every shout, gesture, or signal can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Note: While this list covers some common signals, volleyball communication is vast and can vary based on team strategies and regional nuances. Always ensure clear understanding among teammates to avoid miscommunication.

Looking for an easy way to find pickup volleyball games? Javelin is the easiest way to find volleyball pickups near you!

Latest POSTS