Volleyball features a number of strategies used by players to gain an advantage. One of these is the back row attack, which is when players attack the ball from behind the attack line instead of from the front row.

This technique can be a useful tool for surprising the opposing team, but it also presents certain challenges.

This article will explore the rules and challenges associated with back row attacks, as well as strategies for blocking them and methods for communication.

Rules and Challenges

Back row attack rules prevent overwhelming net play. However, there are still challenges such as limited space, time, and angles, reduced spatial awareness, and less time to react.

Hitting from different angles is also difficult for a back row player, as they have less space to approach the ball. As a result, opposing teams may be better prepared to defend back row attacks.

Blocking back row attacks depends on the situation and is effective if the attacker is close to the net. However, it may not be effective against strong hitters, and can be used strategically in a close game.

The libero is limited to playing in the back row and cannot make a back row attack except when serving.

Dumping the ball is not a common strategy for setters, but can be used to surprise the opposing team.

Communication for back row attacks is usually verbal, with the setter calling out the back row player’s name for a set and the back row player calling out ‘set me’ to request a back row hit.

Blocking Strategies

Blocking strategies can be effective when the attacker is close to the net. Blockers must position themselves wisely to maximize their chances of success. The blocker must consider the attacker’s approach angle, the attacker’s momentum, and the opposing team’s defensive strategy. For instance, if the blocker is on the left side of the court, they must be ready to block a ball coming from the right. Additionally, if the attacker is powerful, the blocker must have good arm strength and timing to block the ball.

Pros Cons
Effective if attacker is close to the net Limited space, time, and angles
Blockers’ position determines success Reduced spatial awareness
Can be used strategically Less space to approach the ball
May not be effective against strong hitters Less time to react
Hitting from different angles Opposing teams are better prepared to defend back row attacks


Verbal communication is typically used among players when a back row attack is called for. Setters call out the back row player’s name for a set, and the back row players call out ‘set me’ to request a back row hit. Other types of verbal communication are used for back row plays, such as giving last-minute instructions or warnings. Beach volleyball players also use hand signals for communication.

Three important areas of communication regarding back row attacks include:

  1. Verbal communication to set up the attack.

  2. Last-minute instructions and warnings.

  3. Hand signals used in beach volleyball.

Communication is essential for executing a successful back row attack and can be the difference between winning and losing a game.