The Secret Language of Volleyball: A Guide to Volleyball Slang Terms

Uncover the hidden world of volleyball slang terms and learn how they add flair to the game. From ‘rooftop’ to ‘roll shot,’ delve into the secret language of volleyball.


Volleyball is a fast-paced, exciting sport that requires quick thinking and communication between teammates. In addition to the technical jargon used on the court, volleyball players have their own unique language of slang terms that add an extra layer of fun and camaraderie to the game. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a newcomer to the sport, it’s essential to understand the slang terms used in volleyball to truly appreciate the game’s culture.


A sideout occurs when the receiving team wins the rally and earns the right to serve. This term originated in the early days of volleyball when points could only be scored by the serving team. When a sideout happens, it signals a change in momentum and is a crucial moment in a game.


When a player jumps high above the net and blocks an opponent’s spike, it’s known as a rooftop. This move requires precise timing and good vertical jump skills. A rooftop can energize a team and demoralize the opposing side.


A pancake is a defensive move where a player lays their hand flat on the ground to save a ball from hitting the floor. This move is named after the flat, round shape of a pancake and is a last-ditch effort to keep the ball in play. A successful pancake is a crowd-pleaser and a morale booster for the team.


When a hitter uses the block of the opposing team to score a point, it’s called tooling the block. This move requires excellent timing and precision to redirect the ball off the defender’s hands and out of bounds. Tooling the block is a smart strategy for hitters to score points against a strong defensive team.


A dig is a defensive move where a player passes a spiked or fast-moving ball with skill and control. A well-executed dig keeps the ball in play and prevents the opposing team from scoring. Digging is a crucial skill for defensive specialists and liberos in volleyball.

Roll Shot

A roll shot is a finesse move where a player lightly taps the ball over the block and into an empty spot on the court. This shot is effective against a tall block and can catch the defense off guard. A well-placed roll shot can score points and keep the opposing team guessing.

Setter Dump

When a setter decides to attack the ball instead of setting it to a hitter, it’s known as a setter dump. This move is unexpected and can catch the opposing team off guard. A setter dump is a clever way for setters to score points and keep the defense guessing their next move.

Float Serve

A float serve is a type of serve that doesn’t spin and moves unpredictably in the air, making it difficult for the receiving team to pass. This serve requires precise technique and can lead to aces or weak passes from the opposing team. A well-executed float serve can put pressure on the opposing team and disrupt their offense.


Understanding volleyball slang terms is essential for players and fans to fully appreciate the game’s culture and dynamics. Whether you’re cheering from the sidelines or playing on the court, knowing the secret language of volleyball adds an extra layer of excitement and camaraderie to the sport. So the next time you watch a volleyball game, listen closely for these slang terms and see if you can spot them in action!

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