At the Show-Me National Qualifier in Kansas City, MO this past weekend, I came across a unique and simple variation to a 6-2 offense. It’s basically a 6-2 offense with half the time the setter on the front row sets.
This is video of one of the top club volleyball Under-18 teams in the United States.
I would like to share with you some observations and why I believe this system to be so effective.
I’ll discuss below some advantages to this style of play and if this offense is right for your team.
Some basic conclusions…
Both setters stay in the game then entire time and are a critical part to success.
Back row setter for serve receive. The back row setter runs the offense for all balls serve received (runs the offense for just the served ball).
Front row setter for transition. The front row setter runs the offense for 1) all plays in transition, and 2) all plays run when the team is serving.
(The setters are #13 and #1 in the red uniforms)
In this video you’ll notice the team uses both setters, but sometimes the setter on the front row sets.
When the team is in serve receive, the setter in the back row runs the offense.
However, after the ball is sent over the net, if play continues, the setter in the back row focuses on defense and the setter on the front row now becomes the setter.
So, you could say when the team is in serve receive, for the first attack, the setter on the back row sets. Then, when in transition, the front row setter runs the offense.
Advantages to this system…
You still have 3 attackers in serve receive. In serve receive you always have 3 attackers. With a 5-1 offense, you have 3 attackers half the time (because the setter is on the front row for 3 rotations). With a 6-2, you always have 3 attackers.
No double block on transition attacks. In transition, when you have a good pass, your attackers likely won’t be up against a double block because the setter being front row will draw a blocker. Passing to the middle of the net will help you get a 1 on 1 for your outside or middle (playing opposite).
Back row setter available to track down poor passes. You don’t have to worry about a non-setter setting the ball when the back row setter makes the defensive play. The front row setter is on the front row ready to set in transition.
In transition, you’re basically running a 4-2 with a setter available out of the back row. I think this is valuable because often your team will make defensive plays where the ball is dug up off the net. In these situations where the pass is way off the net, the back row setter can step in to set. The point is you have a setter available in the back row to set errant digs. And this is much easier than the setter starting at the net then sprinting off to retrieve the ball.
A few other things I noticed…
Middle blocks the strong side attacker. I noticed the setter on the front row also sometimes blocks middle. I bet this is to allow the middle to move to right side to block the opposing strong side hitter.
Middle attacks from the right side. Also with the middle blocking strong side, they are out there ready to hit on the right side in transition. They wouldn’t be able to do this if they were blocking middle (unless they wanted to hit a slide).
The setter focuses on defense. With the front row setter setting in transition, the back row setter can focus solely on making defensive plays. No worry about transitioning to the net to set.
The setter doesn’t have to ever transition from the back row to set. In serve receive, the setter can push to the net. For transition plays, the setter is already at the net because they are front row.
You may be wondering, can your team run an offense like this?
To run this offense effectively, you’re going to need 2 setters that are very skilled at not just setting, but also attacking, blocking, and defense. And they also need to effectively dump/attack the second ball.
Most teams have trouble finding one setter that can do all those things, but you’re going to need two!
Your team will also need to play defense really well. You can’t pull your digs too far off the net because you don’t want to pull your front row setter off. The whole idea to using the front row setter instead of the back row setter is to freeze the opposing block which creates some holes for your attack.
Pulling your digs off the net keeps your setter from being a threat to attack. Not only that, but with the front row setter not a threat, you only have 2 attackers at the net!
This style of play could work really well for a good blocking team because a good block can make it much easier to play defense. A big block will help with positioning on defense and making accurate digs.
Setter Has Many Options
Digging the ball to the net allows the setter to have many options…
1) Attack/Dump, 2) Set the outside attacker, 3) Set the Middle Attacker, 4) Have the middle run a slide, 5) Have the Middle stay right side and attack from there.