The opposite hitter, also known simply as the opposite, is a key offensive player in volleyball. Positioned on the right side of the court, they are renowned for their strong attacks and diverse abilities. Playing alongside volleyball legends such as Jochen Schöps, Mitja Gasparini, Mitar Đurić, and Theo Lopes has given me a clear perspective on the essential qualities and depth of skill required to excel as an opposite hitter. Now, let’s explore the role and significance of the opposite hitter in detail.
Opposite hitter Quick Overview
Here’s a breakdown of the key responsibilities of an opposite hitter:
- Primary Attacker: The opposite typically carries the most offensive responsibility, delivering strong and varied spikes to overwhelm the opponent’s block.
- Fast Attacks: They often involve fast, high sets close to the net, requiring precise timing.
- Tactical Variety: Beyond raw power, they showcase tactical awareness, exploiting holes in the defense and using deceptive attacks like tips and dumps.
- Serving: Powerful serves can disrupt the opponent’s rhythm, create scoring opportunities, and pressure their reception.
- Blocking: Opposite hitters are key contributors to the team’s defensive block, using their height and reach to deflect attacks at the net.
- Digging: When not blocking, they cover open areas and dig spiked balls, contributing to overall court defense.
Opposite hitter positioning on each side out of the rotation in a 5-1 system
The only rotation they play in Zone 4 is when the setter is in positioned in Zone 1.
Attacks are the primary actions that lead to scoring points. To execute these attacks effectively, teams need a skilled setter who can distribute the ball strategically to their hitters.
Among all hitters, the opposite hitter often plays a pivotal role, receiving the most sets and shouldering the responsibility of converting those opportunities into points.
To excel in this demanding position, opposite hitters must possess a diverse arsenal of attacking techniques.
Zone 2 attack
When attacking in zone 2, They should be proficient in spiking the ball toward the line or diagonal (Hitting angles), executing accurate tips or rolls, and utilizing their refined skills to either block out opponents or recycle the action to give another opportunity for the team and for the teammates.
A situation where the opposite is tipping the ball
Zone 1 attack
Attacking from Zone 1, the back row attack, presents unique challenges compared to Zone 2.
First, players must carefully avoid stepping over the 3-meter line, which marks the restricted area near the net.
Second, attacking from zone 1 is often more difficult to adjust or recycle due to the greater distance from the block. Additionally, transitions between offensive and defensive positions are more seamless from the front row than from the back row.
A situation where the opposite Hitter is attacking from Zone 1
Due to these challenges, many teams try to use double substitution. This strategic option allows the team to have the opposite hitter remain in the front row for three consecutive rotations. This tactic maximizes the team’s offensive firepower by providing the opposite hitter more opportunities to attack and score points.
While the opposite hitter’s primary role lies in attacking, they also play a crucial role in blocking, particularly when positioned in the front row. Their primary focus is to block the opponent’s outside hitter. Still, they should also be prepared to assist in first tempo blocks, especially if the opponent’s middle blocker approaches for a KC or K7, which is placed two to three meters in front of the setter.
The positioning of the block depends on the team’s strategy, either closing the line or the diagonal. If the situation warrants, the opposite hitter should be ready to join the triple block, but clear communication is essential to ensure synchronized execution. A common signal for initiating a triple block is the simple word “Three!”
Notably, when a team implements a triple block, they must close the line, adhering to the standard volleyball rule. This strategic alignment limits the opponent’s attacking options and increases the likelihood of a successful block.
Contrary to the misconception that opposite hitters don’t need to be adept defenders, their defensive skills play a significant role. While they may not be directly involved in defense for the entire match, they still spend a substantial amount of time in zone 1, where they must be prepared to handle various defensive situations.
In zone 1, opposite hitters are often tasked with defending the most common attack angles, including tempo, diagonal, and line shots. Additionally, they should be ready to anticipate and dig tips behind the block, mainly if they can execute effective digs.
When positioned in zone 2, opposite hitters may have fewer defensive responsibilities. However, they should still be prepared to defend sharp diagonal spikes and assist the libero in covering tips that drift toward the middle of the court. This proactive approach ensures that no easy points are given away to the opponent.
Opposite hitters are often considered the strongest servers on the team due to their explosive jumping ability and powerful arm swings. In high-level volleyball, teams often utilize the opposite hitter’s serving prowess to inflict maximum damage on the opposing team.
Jump serves, mainly when executed with velocity and precision, can be incredibly challenging to receive, disrupting the opponent’s rhythm and creating opportunities for easy points. Many teams prioritize strong serves from their opposite hitters, even in tight game situations.
By jump serves, opposite hitters can test the opponent’s receiving abilities, force them into defensive errors, and potentially gain an early lead. This aggressive serving approach can significantly impact the overall momentum of the match.
setting and passing
While the opposite hitter’s primary focus lies in offense, they also possess the versatility to contribute to other aspects of the game, including passing and setting. While passing and setting are typically not their primary responsibilities, they may occasionally be called upon to lend a hand in these areas, particularly under specific circumstances.
In situations where the opponent’s serving is particularly effective, opposite hitters may need to step in and assist other receivers, ensuring that the team can maintain a solid defensive foundation. Their strong jumping and passing abilities can prove valuable in these instances.
Similarly, when the setter is unavailable or under duress, the opposite hitter may set the ball to the outside hitter in zone 4. This ability to adapt to changing situations demonstrates their versatility and willingness to contribute to the team’s success in any way possible.
How to read the statistics of the opposite hitter?
Here’s a breakdown of some key stats and how to interpret them:
- Kills: Measures their direct offensive contribution but considers team averages and opponent level.
- Attacks: Shows their overall involvement but factors in errors for efficiency.
- Hitting Percentage: (Kills – Errors) / Attacks * 100, higher is better, but quick attacks often have lower percentages.
- Points per Set: Overall offensive impact, factoring in aces and serves.
- Aces: Direct points from serves, showcases serving power and pressure on opponents.
- Serve Efficiency: (Aces + Serve Errors) / Serves * 100, high efficiency is desirable.
- Blocks: Total attempts to deflect attacks, consider team blocking philosophy.
- Stuff Blocks: Direct points from blocks, reflects effectiveness in shutting down attacks.
- Block Assists: Shared blocks, highlight teamwork and coordination.
The Opposite Hitter: A Thriving Role for Left-Handed Players
Left-handed volleyball players often find a natural fit in the opposite hitter position, capitalizing on the unique advantage their dominant hand provides. Since opposite hitters primarily occupy the right side of the court, left-handers can unleash powerful line shots with greater ease, disrupting the opponent’s blocking schemes and opening up scoring opportunities.
Opposite hitters typically stand taller than other players on the court, enhancing their visibility and impact on the game. Their height allows them to reach higher for spikes, block more effectively, and command the opposing team’s attention. However, there are notable exceptions to this height requirement, as exemplified by Japanese opposite hitter Juyi Nishida. Standing at 185 cm, Nishida has defied conventional height expectations, establishing himself as one of the world’s premier opposite hitters.
Beyond raw power, they wield a diverse skillset, contributing with strategic attacks, tactical awareness, and defensive prowess. This complexity makes the position demanding but incredibly rewarding.
But wait, there’s more! In upcoming blog posts, I’ll delve deeper into the world of the opposite hitter, offering great tips and guides to help you hone your technical skills, sharpen your tactical thinking, and develop the mental fortitude needed to excel. Share your thoughts! Have we missed anything crucial about the opposite hitter? Leave a comment, and let’s discuss!
What is an opposite?
An opposite hitter, also known as a right-side hitter, is a player responsible for attacking from the right side of the court. They are typically the team’s tallest hitter and are often left-handed, which gives them an advantage in hitting line shots.
What are the responsibilities of the opposite?
Attacking: Opposite hitters are expected to be the team’s primary attacking force, receiving the most sets from the setter and converting them into points. They should be proficient in various attacking techniques, including spiking, tipping, and blocking out.
Blocking: Opposite hitters also play a crucial role in blocking, particularly when positioned in the front row. They should be able to effectively block the opponent’s outside hitter, disrupting their attack and limiting their scoring opportunities.
Defense: While not their primary focus, opposite hitters should still be competent defenders, particularly in zone 1. They should be able to dig tips, defend tempo attacks, and contribute to the team’s overall defensive efforts.
Serving: Opposite hitters are often among the team’s strongest servers, capable of delivering powerful and unpredictable jump serves. They can use their serves to disrupt the opponent’s receiving rhythm and create scoring opportunities.
What are the skills and qualities of a good opposite hitter?
Height and vertical jump: Opposite hitters should be tall and have a solid vertical jump to reach high for spikes and blocks.
Power and explosiveness: They should possess explosive power and strength to generate powerful spikes and tips.
Agility and footwork: They should be agile and have quick footwork to execute various offensive and defensive movements.
Adaptability and versatility: They should be adaptable and willing to step up and play different roles, such as passing and setting in certain situations.