September 30, 2009

Club Volleyball Offensive System Choice for Setter

My daughter is currently a junior in High School and feels like she has a difficult choice to make between clubs. One of the clubs wants her to set and hit in a 6-2 while the other club will have her set in a 5-1. She has become a very good setter, however, even though she is only 5'9" she has hops and can be an effective hitter and is a good defensive player.

From a recruiting standpoint is it better to hi-light her all-around game in a 6-2 or show her setting skills in a 5-1? Do college recruiters view setters who hit/set in a 6-2 differently than they do setters that play in a 5-1? K. Fan

As a Junior in high school, your daughter would most likely play in the 17's age division of club volleyball (provided she started school at the traditional age). Even with the accelerated time frame of college volleyball recruiting, the 17's age group is still the most important segment. To this end, Prospective Student Athletes (PSA's) need to be clear about their college playing goals.

It sounds as if your daughter has been blessed with athleticism, in addition to setting skills. Being able to set and hit effectively is a wonderful spot to be in as a high school player, but the college game, even more so than club volleyball, is one of specialization. I cannot remember the last time that I saw a Division I women's volleyball team running a traditional 6-2 offense with the setters attacking. 6-2 offenses in college today are front/back substitution systems with a setter-opposite player.

By the last part of your question, I would anticipate that your daughter is looking to set in college. Since colleges don't have setters attacking, then your daughter should be in a 5-1 system as a 17's player. The 17's age group is when college coaches are taking the hard look at players to determine ability and potential. We really don't care about setter's all around game, as much as we care about seeing a setter run an offense. With rally score volleyball, sideing out is the most important part of the game and having a setter who understands how to run an offense (not just set the offense), who has the technical setting skills to stay fundamentally sound during pressure situations, to lead and manage hitters, are all very impactive for a college volleyball team's success.

At the 17's age group, seeing a setter in a 6-2 offense is not a negative situation, because we can still view her skills/abilities. But, it is not as positive as seeing a setter in a 5-1, just because of the translation into college volleyball. Yet, college coaches understand when a club team would need an athletic setter hitting to ensure a successful tournament or season.

It would be incorrect to make this choice into one of huge ramifications because this is not the case. A talented player will be seen and college coaches make their living by bringing talented PSA's to their programs. My concern would be to present your daughter in the best possible light and to allow her the experience of running a 5-1 offense over the course of a couple of club seasons in preparation for her collegiate future.

Good luck!


  1. AnonymousMay 05, 2016

    Thank you for all your great advice! You mention that it's preferable to have daughter run a 5-1 by the time she's a 17s setter. Assuming you believe it's a good idea for younger players to develop all around skills, when would you like to see a young setter transition to running a 5-1 from a 6-2 where she sets half the rotations and hits opposite the other half? 14s/15s/16s?

  2. 17's also works - This gives a player 2 years within the 5-1 with physically developed hitters, before going to college


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