Commonly used (and Funny) Volleyball Terms

Assist: awarded when a player passes, sets, or digs the ball to a teammate who attacks the ball for a kill.

Attack: an attempt to terminate the play by hitting the ball to the floor on the opponent's side; can be awarded for a tip.

Attack line: sometimes called "3 meter line" or "10-foot line;" the line parallel to the center line and three meters/10 feet back from the net.

Back row attack: when a back row player attacks the ball by jumping from behind the attack line before hitting the ball; if the back row player steps on or past the line during take-off and sends the ball over after contacting it above the height of the net, the attack is illegal.

Block: awarded when a player thwarts an attack, deflecting the ball onto the opponent’s court for a point.

Block assist: awarded when two or three players participate in a successful block; each player receives credit.

Campfire defense: when a ball falls to the floor in an area that's surrounded by two or more motionless players; it appears the players are encircling and staring dumbfounded at a campfire.

Carry: a misplayed ball involving "prolonged contact;" ("Come on Ref, she carried that ball!"); also called a lift or throw.

Center line violation: player encroaches on opponent's court under the net; no violation if some part of the foot or hand (i.e. the heel) remains in contact with the center line.

Chester: to be hit in the chest (cousin to the dreaded "six-pack").

Coach kill: when an opponent serves the ball into the net or out immediately after a time-out or substitution called by the coach.

Cover the hitter: players on the attacking team cluster near a spiker in order to retrieve rebounds from the opposing blockers.

Cut shot: a spike from the hitter's strong side that travels at a sharp cross-court angle across the net.

Deep dish: a soft set where the ball is caught, dragged down to chest or even navel level, and then back up before being released; contact lasts long enough for the player to check the ball pressure and read the label; see carry.

Dig: the act of retrieving an attacked ball; awarded when a player successfully passes a ball that has been attacked by the opponent; sometimes called an "up" as in "great up, dude!"

Facial: see six-pack.

Fish: a player who gets caught in the net; see tuna.

Floater:  served ball that doesn't spin; it will suddenly shift its flight path like a "knuckleball" in baseball.

Friendly fire: being hit in the head by a teammate's serve.

Free ball: an easy return from the opponent.

Heat: a particularly hard spike.

Husband-and-wife-play: a ball drops untouched between two players because they failed to communicate;  the situation generally will not improve unless somebody apologizes.

Jedi defense: play where immobile defender thrusts one arm at the ball, resulting in a miraculously perfect pass and prompting the coach to mutter "Hmm, the force in her, strong it is."

Joust: two opposing players contact the ball simultaneously above the plane of the net.

Jump serve: a serve in which the server tosses the ball, makes an approach, jumps, and spikes the ball, causing fans to hold their breath and then cheer if it works--but shake their heads and loudly question the coach's I.Q.  if it fails.

Kill: an attacked ball that strikes the floor or lands out of bounds after touching an opponent.

Kong: a one-handed block similar to the move King Kong performed on those biplanes in the original movie.

Line shot: a ball spiked down the opponent's sideline.

Lollipop: a very soft serve; if you serve too many you get licked.

Mintonette: the original name of the game of volleyball.

Monument valley: area between two tall players who can't play defense.

Net violation: illegal for any part of the player's uniform or body  (except for the hair) to contact the net.

Paint brush: when the hitter swings hard but only "brushes" the bottom of the ball; ball often drops behind the blockers for a kill.

Pancake: one-handed defensive save where the hand is extended and the palm is slid flat (like a pancake!) along the floor as the player dives for the ball; timed so the ball bounces off the back of the hand.

Pepper: warm-up drill in which two players pass, set, and hit the ball back and forth.

Prince/Princess of whales: a player who spikes the ball as hard as possible no matter what; see whale.

Popcorn: when a serve or hit is shanked off the digging arms of a receiver or passer, usually high up into the stands. see shank.

Quick set: a set (usually 2 feet above the net) where the hitter approaches the setter, and may even be in the air, before the setter delivers the ball; requires precise timing.

Rainbow: a soft shot over the blockers that arcs like a rainbow.

Red card: a penalty for extreme misconduct; results in a player/coach being disqualified and the team losing the point.

Redwood: a tall, but not particularly agile, blocker.

Roof: when the blocker smothers the hitter; see stuff.

Screening: a deliberate (and illegal) attempt to obscure the start of a teammate's serve by obstructing an opponent's line of sight.

Service ace: a serve that hits the floor or causes the passer to misplay the ball such that no player can make a second contact.

Set: a maneuver in which a ball is purposely directed to a spiker; however, in the south, it can also mean to be seated: "I reckon y'all better come set here on the bench."

Shank: an awful pass that flies up into the cheap seats.

Side out: receiving team wins a rally, earning the right to serve.

Six-pack: occurs when a blocker gets hit in the head or face by a spiked ball; also known as a "facial" or "Tachikara tattoo;" if the victim has to come out of the game, it's a "facial disgracial."

Sizzle the pits: hard spike that travels past blocker's raised arms.

Spike: a ball contacted by a player on the offensive team with the intent to terminate the ball on the opponent's side.

Strong side: when a right-handed hitter is hitting from the left-front position or when a left-handed hitter is hitting from the right-front position.

Stuff: a monstrous block straight down into the floor; a true stuff block should hit the ground before the hitter lands; see also roof.

Tandem: a combination play in which one player attacks directly behind another; designed to confuse blockers and parents.

Tip: placement or redirection of the ball with the fingers, sometimes referred to as a dink or dump; a tip is counted as an attack attempt and, if successful, a kill.

Tool: deliberately hitting the ball off the block to score a point--sometimes called a "wipe."

Trap set: a set very tight to the net and often very low, invariably leading to a stuff; a hitter that wants another set, however, knows better than to suggest the setter is at fault.

Tuna: player who commits a very flagrant net violation.

Whale: verb: to heedlessly swing at the ball with maximum force without regard for the blocker's location, the score, ball position, or coach's express instructions.

Yellow card: warning for misconduct indicated by display of a yellow card.

All credit goes to: former Western Albemarle volleyball coach Lance Rogers.