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Defensive Specialist

Defensive specialist is a specialized back court position.  

Attitude and Determination

Anyone can become a good defender if they have the heart and desire to dig. 

As the game has evolved, players of all shapes and sizes make great defensive saves that are seen at all levels of play in volleyball. All these players have a common desire to keep the ball in play and of the floor. 

Role of the "DS"

The DS (defensive specialist) comes into a match to just play defense in the back row. 

They usually come in for middle hitters who concentrate on hitting and blocking or for another front-row player who lacks good ball control skills. 

Defensive specialists can only come in the game in one spot in the rotation. This is different than the libero. The libero can come in and out of the game for different back row players whereas the DS must use a substitution. 

Defensive Specialist

Defensive Techniques

When preparing to dig, be in a position ready to move left, right, or forward without falling to your knees. 

Gently bend at the waist and lower your shoulders to just in front of your knees. Your hips should be just above your knees so that you can move efficiently and effectively. 

Keep your hands apart, and ready to move at all times. 

Digging Hard Driven Balls 
Keep your defensive posture low when digging hard driven spikes. 

To dig an off-speed shot or a deflection from the block, maintain a medium-to high posture position and either dig the ball with your forearms or overhead dig the ball. 

Keys to digging..

  • Establish good floor position. The key to digging is being in the right place at the right time. If are able to be in the spot where the attacker is hitting the ball, you are more likely to dig the ball successfully. Good anticipation skills make digging much easier.

  • Establish good body position. If you have good body position, you're more comfortably going to make the play. With good position you'll have to make less adjustments to playing the ball.

  • Establish good posture. When playing defense, your body posture is high if the ball has been deflected by the block. Your position should be medium if you're defending an off-speed shot or tip to have some time to react. Your position should be low if you are defending a hard driven spike. Remember to always face where you want to pass the ball.

Other Players Need to Learn Defense

Many players as possible on the team should learn to play defense. Even though defensive specialists are there to play defense, players at the net need to play defense when not blocking. 

Defense is a skill everyone should spend time learning. As long as players stay in system on defense, good team defense can carry a team to victory.  


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