You are here:

Volleyball/Problems with 4-2 defense


I'm in a gungho amateur level adult league rec league with 2 traditional short setters. And because everyone likes to play, we don't have subs. So out of necessity perhaps we run a 4-2.

Our problem is, when playing against some of the better teams in the league we have problems covering dinks with our 4-2 defense.

We started out playing the traditional middle back or perimeter style defense. Teams consistently dinked us middle and we couldn't get to it. We tried playing middle up with the other 2 back row players playing deep but we could not cover the dinks over the block.

What type of defense do you suggest for this situation? Specifically who should be primarily responsible for dinks?

PS With this level of players, our offense goes through our front row setter and there isn't really any changing that. Because both setters can't block it seems almost like they can't really defend at all, essentially meaning we are playing with 5 defenders. Any suggestions on what the front row setter should be doing on defense? And also, what role should the off blocker have?

Hello Tammy and welcome to

I used to be in a situation like yours for about seven years but with subs. Our first two months were very frustrating because it took us a long time to create an offense and defense that would help us win more with our 4-2 offense and with two short setters. I was one of those setter at 5'10" but I also played LIBERO, outside, and opposite hitter so that helped us a lot. Our other setter was only a setter and was shorter than I was. We won and lost a few games and we knew with which teams we were already going to win. We also had problems in that the setter will set to certain players more even though the easiest set would be our best chance to score a point. This is true because everybody gets to prepare themselves for the hit, unfortunately so did the defense. Even though we had all around players we lacked extra help. Nobody wanted to budge the team and sit out.

I finally took that step and rotated a full rotation with our other setter. The other setter returned the favor for about two games only and then became stingy again. The team decided to make a new team and leave him out. That made that setter decide to finally accept our terms and sub. It’s never fun to be in a team you are playing 100% of the time but loosing 50% of the time. We would win so many games after that because the subs, just like every other team would give us many advantages. These advantages helped us create a team of over 14 players which eventually moved our team play up to state games. If your team cannot exist without subbing, then several things must happen in order for them to win. These things will in the long run leave you in a worst place your team started off with.
Everybody in your team has put in the same practice time and has accepted to be in a team where everybody plays all the time. They should also accept that there are going to be a lot of loop holes in the defense and possibly the offense. It would be hard for me to give you a defense that will help you cover the field or give your team a better chance of picking up the dinks. Things have to change in order for your chances to increase in having a better chance of running a good defense.

Look at the other teams that have a similar situation like yours and see what is working for them and if it isn’t working for them, then maybe it’s for a reason. We were all club team coaches so that helped us play well and adjust easily to subs. You stated that your team is young. I would advice to not go through the long way of headaches and form a real team that would include many players and subs.

We ran a perimeter defense. I also played as a defensive specialist at that time and had all the back and the corners to myself. Those who had the line had the dink if they could not see the hitter hitting the ball. If the defensive player on the right side had a hitter dinking into the center then the right back had the dink. The same thing occurred when the ball passed the center line towards the left then the left back would run through the dink. There has to be a leader in your team that can hear from the team and make a decision if not there will never be a team in place.

Something to think about:

You can also have the two outside defenders start on the ten foot line when you serve and have them close to the 10 foot line when your team is blocking and divide the center by both of them. On the other hand to answer your question, the off blocker should be ready to pick up the ball by the ten foot line If you are blocking on the left side. The off blocker on the right side should be ready by the ten foot line to pick up the dig. The LIBERO should have all the back and corners and the right back should go into the center for all dinks which should be one of your setters. The same goes when the block is being done on the opposite side.

I hope this answers your question.

For the time is takes me to write all this information and possibly do research to give you the most updated information all I ask in return are two things.

1.   Please take the time to rate me. Any feedback you can provide for me will be great.
2.   Visit my website at plus:

You can also become a free member and learn the latest volleyball play systems, and newest volleyball serves plus much more.
See – Volleyball Offensive Systems – over 25
See - Over 31 different serves  
See - The Volleyball Gods
Get – FREE 28 play non system playbook just for being a free member
Get – FREE over 200 Volleyball T-Shirt Designs from the mind of ALIENTECH
See - Alien Attitude Balls
See - Over 200 Volleyball “Ball” designs

Please visit me at

Thank you for visiting

Coach Tovar  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Juan A. Tovar


I can answer question that deal - creating your own volleyball plays - creating your own volleyball offensive systems - creating new set types - I can teach them the lastest play techniques new to the world - I am an expert in serving types (37) Setting Skills, Blocking Skills, and Serving Skills Here's what I can teach them: How to Create volleyball plays for all level teams How to create plays for high schools, club teams, college teams, pro teams, and Olympic teams How to create basic volleyball plays, advanced volleyball plays, and pro volleyball plays. Basic Systems will allow you to create up to 125 plays or more per system. Advanced Systems will allow you to create up to 475 plays or more per system. PRO Systems will allow you to create up to 750 plays or more per system. How to create back row volleyball plays. How to create play for the 7th and 8th person. How to create back row hitting plays How to create back row placing plays. How to create back row decoy plays. How to dissect volleyball plays. How to create volleyball offensive systems. How to make UFO volleyball plays. How to create plays using 5 , 9 and rainbow plays. How to create Offenses for middle attacks, regular attacks, and outside attacks. How to create unlimited plays. How to create unlimited volleyball offenses.


1985 - 1988 Volleyball Club 1989 - 1992 Brownsville/Harlingen City Team 1990 - 1991 Mexican Team setter - Undefeated Season 1991 - 1992 UTB Men's Volleyball Club Defensive Specialist 1992 - 1993 UTB Men's Volleyball Club Outside Hitter 1993 - 1994 UTB B-Team Coach and Team Captain 1995 - 1997 City League Team Brownsville/Harlingen 1996 - 1997 Mexican Team Captain/Trainer 1997 - 1998 Mexican Team Offensive Defensive Coordinator/Coach 1997 - 1998 Assistant Coach Mexican Women's A - Team, 2nd Place 1997 - 1998 Offensive Coordinator Mexican Team Seminars 1997 - 1998 Team Captain 1st Place AREA CHAMPS 1997 - 1998 Team Captain 2nd Place Mexican A - Team 1997 - 1998 Team Captain - 1st place International Tournament 1997 - 1998 Team Captain -1st place Mexican Tournament Champions 1999 - 2000 7th Grade Volleyball Coach 7 - 0 Undefeated season Overall Record 7th and 8th 33-8 1997 - 1998 Produced one of the most explosive offensive system in the world! The Bomb Volleyball Offensive System book by Juan A. Tovar with over 500 pure plays.

Brownsville Club Team, Harlingen Club Team, Sea Horse International Club Team, National UTB Club Team

WordPress, www.volleyballplaystorun., ecrator stores

I Have a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology All Level from The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College 1998, as well as an ALL Level Special Education

Awards and Honors
1990 - 1991 Mexican Team setter - Undefeated Season 1997 - 1998 Assistant Coach Mexican Women's A - Team, 2nd Place 1997 - 1998 Offensive Coordinator Mexican Team Seminars 1997 - 1998 Team Captain 1st Place AREA CHAMPS 1997 - 1998 Team Captain - 1st place International Tournament 1997 - 1998 Team Captain -1st place Mexican Tournament Champions

Past/Present Clients
I have taught volleyball to students from 6 yrs to 55 yrs. for 8 years, taught serving types since 1985 to 1990. I have also trained many teams both in the USA amd in Mexico. I have trained some police departments as well as the fire departments in my home town.

©2017 All rights reserved.