4-2 Serve Receive
Rotations for running a 4-2 offense

The 4-2 serve receive is the most basic volleyball offensive system. In a 4-2 system you have 2 setters and only 4 hitters. The two setters play opposite one another on the court. The setter that is on the front row sets for that rotation.

With a 4-2, it's much easier to adjust the formation because the setter lines up near the target because they are always a front row player.

Basic strategies for a 4-2 serve receive are...

  • Pass to the middle
    Most beginner teams that run a 4-2 should pass the ball to the middle, then the setter has the option to set the hitters hitting outside and weakside. For a more advanced 4-2 offense, the setter can set out of Right Front. The hitters then have to the option to hit outside, middle, or back.

  • Train your setters to attack the second hit
    Since the setters are always on the front row when setting, they should be given the option to attack. Since you only have two players attacking at the net, the setter dumping or tipping can be an effective strategy.

  • Have an outlet
    If your attackers are forced to receive the serve, or if the pass is so off target that you can't run the play, have an outlet set. Set a back row player to hit a 10 ball or set a ball high outside as an outlet for bad passes.

The following are basic 4-2 rotations. If your team has primary passers, plays a libero, or defensive specialists then adjust your serve receive accordingly.


Volleyball Rotations - Setter in Zone 2

4-2 serve receive formations, strategies, and tips

The setter is Right Front. The Outside Hitter backs up to help out with passing.

4-2 serve receive formations, strategies, and tips

Volleyball Rotations - Setter in Zone 3

The Setter is now Middle Front. If needed, the other front row players can back up to help out with passing the serve. 

4-2 serve receive formations, strategies, and tips
4-2 serve receive formations, strategies, and tips

Volleyball Rotations - Setter in Zone 3

This is an advanced 4-2 serve receive rotation for when the setter is Middle Front. The front row players are stacked to the left side of the court. The purpose is so the Outside hitter can more easily get positioned outside ready to hit. 

4-2 serve receive formations, strategies, and tips

Volleyball Rotations - Setter in Zone 4

The setter is Left Front. The other front row players are ready to hit middle or weak side. 

4-2 serve receive formations, strategies, and tips

Volleyball Rotations - Setter in Zone 4

Again, this is an advanced 4-2 rotation. The setter is Left Front and the other two front row players are stacked to the left side of the court. Again, the purpose is to run an effective play for the outside and middle hitters. 

4-2 serve receive formations, strategies, and tips

Remember, these are just examples of 4-2 serve receive rotations. How you line up depends on many factors such as your teams playing level, experience, substitutes coming in for back row players, and using a libero.

All these factors need to be considered when thinking of running a 4-2 offense.


32 Serve/Receive/Defense Tactics

Learn how to serve smart and anticipate on defense. More info here.


4-2 Serve Receive Related Pages

Serving Tips

Learning Rotations

5-1 Alignment

6-2 Alignment 


› 4-2 Serve Receive


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