What Is A "6-2" In Volleyball?

If you’re a new coach, you’ve probably heard the terms “6-2”, “5-1”, “6-3”, etc… And if you’re like most new coaches (and most new volleyball players), you probably thought to yourself, “ummmm…. what is a 6-2??”

These are all terms for offensive systems, which sounds intimidating at first but is rather simple… AFTER you understand what the terms mean.

Today I’m going to break down a 6-2 offensive system for you, which is basically a fancy way of saying what your players do when they’re standing in different spots on the court.

Since this is a fairly difficult concept to understand through words alone, I created some images (which I shared on the Instagram account for @getthepancake) and will share those here! Click through and read at your own pace for a basic explanation, and then we’ll dive into a few more details after you’re done.

WHY USE A 6-2:

A 6-2 is one of the most common offensive systems in use today, right alongside a 5-1. A 6-2 has a ton of benefits, which make it one of the more popular options:

  1. Players do not specialize as much as they do in a 5-1. This will be discussed more once a 5-1 is covered, but because you’re giving your setters (in some instances) an opportunity to hit in the front row, you don’t pigeonhole your players into only practicing one major skill.

  2. It is easier to balance playing time. With younger teams or teams where the focus is on more equal playing time, a 6-2 offers substitution opportunities more frequently, allowing more players to get on the court.

  3. Once your players understand Rotation 1, 2, and 3, they basically understand Rotation’s 4, 5, and 6. This is helpful with younger teams who struggle to even remember to run to their base position, let alone where to stand on the court at different times. If someone doesn’t remember, there’s likely a teammate who will notice and be able to help them out. This lightens a coach’s responsibilities too!

  4. You ALWAYS have 3 hitters in the front row. Other offensive systems sometimes eliminate a hitter (because they are setting) which makes it much easier for your opponent to prepare for your attack. With three hitters, your opponents cannot get ready for your hit as early.

  5. You aren’t as pressured to chose tall setters. Height (typically) matters in the front row (ok, it’s reach, but… height usually helps with that.) With your setter coming from the back row in a 6-2, you do not need to chose someone to set who ALSO has height. You still need a player who is able to contribute on defense, but fortunately height is less relevant there.

One of the most confusing aspects of volleyball for those who are new to the sport, is learning BASE and ROTATIONS. Understanding how to rotate in volleyball is actually pretty simple when you break it down! This description is perfect for coaches of 5th grade volleyball teams, up to beginner 8th grade teams. These basics of volleyball should help you get started!


While a 6-2 is one of my favorite systems, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks… Here are a couple of cons to using the 6-2 system:

  1. Your setter is not able to attack in the front row. This allows your opponent to focus on reading the hitters instead of worrying about an attack from the setter. This is a small drawback, but if you have a talented setter who can also attack in a deceitful way on a second ball, you lose that opportunity with a 6-2.

  2. Your setter is not able to block in the front row. This is fine. However, if the ball goes over the net quickly, sometimes young and inexperienced players will jump up to block right away out of reflex. This will result in a violation and loss of a point if it happens, so be sure to train your setter on what they can and can’t do in the front row.

  3. It is very common, so may teams will have familiarity playing against it. Other teams will be able to pick apart weaknesses easily because they’re familiar with it, giving you no competitive advantage.

No matter what offensive system you chose, it is best to teach your team their rotations EARLY. Many teams focus too much on basic skills in practice (how to hit, how to pass, etc.) but when it comes to game time, if your players don’t know where to stand, NONE OF THAT MATTERS!

Good luck! Be sure to follow @getthepancake for more coaching tips.