Offensive systems are a frequent talking point in the Coaching Volleyball group on Facebook. I’ve written before on the subject of the best offensive system for young players, and why no high level teams playing a 4-2 system. As such, I won’t go down that path in this post. Instead, I’m going to focus on the idea that a 4-2 system only has 2 attackers.

Yes, it’s obviously true that in a 4-2 system (which features a front row setter in either Position 2 or 3) only features two front row attackers. But front row players aren’t the only attackers in volleyball. There are 3 players in the back row as well who are perfectly capable of hitting. At least they should be!

Generally speaking, when we’re talking about using a 4-2 system we do so in the context of a younger team. This offers up two strong arguments in favor of making the back row attack a feature of your offense. First, at the younger ages we want them working on all skills. Second, back row hitting can be easier for smaller players. I’ll also throw in that back row hitting, because it essentially requires deep hits, develops good attacking habits. And for those thinking competitively, do you really want to waste 3 rotations of your best hitter(s) because they’re not in the front row?

And since back row hitting is such a big part of the game as one moves up the ladder, it’s good to start developing that ability early.

Please note here that I’m not just talking about bailout type of back row attacks. You should think about it intentionally, as I discussed in this post.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

    2 replies to "Only 2 attackers in a 4-2"

    • Tino

      Why do you only have 2 attackers? 2 setters, 2 attackers, what do the other 2 plyers do?

      • John Forman

        There’s only 1 setter at a time, so the correct question is what do the other 3 players do. Which is the whole point of this post, of course.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.