Volleyball is a popular sport played around the world, and volleyball players come in all shapes and sizes. However, height is often considered an advantage in volleyball, leading many to wonder – how tall is a typical volleyball girl?
The average height of a female volleyball player competing at the highest levels, such as the Olympics or professional leagues, tends to be quite tall compared to the average woman. Factors like arm length, jump height, and the ability to spike over the net make height a desirable trait in elite volleyball players. However, shorter players can still excel with proper technique and by playing certain positions.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the average heights of female volleyball players across different levels of competition. We’ll also discuss the ideal height range for certain positions and how shorter players can maximize their abilities on the court. With the right skills and training, volleyball players of any height have the potential for success.
Average Height in Elite Volleyball
Female volleyball players competing at the absolute highest levels, like the Olympics and professional leagues, tend to be very tall. According to most estimates, the average height for an elite female volleyball player is around 6’1” to 6’3” (185-190 cm).
The table below shows the average heights of Olympic and professional women’s volleyball teams from around the world:
|USA Olympic Team||6’1″ (185 cm)|
|China Olympic Team||6’2″ (188 cm)|
|Brazil Olympic Team||6’3″ (190 cm)|
|Italy Serie A League||6’2″ (188 cm)|
|Turkey League||6’1″ (186 cm)|
As you can see, teams like Brazil and China, which are volleyball powerhouses, have average heights of 6’2”- 6’3” for their elite players. The tallest position is typically middle blocker, where heights can reach up to 6’6” at the Olympic level. However, even shorter positions like libero average around 5’9” for pro players.
The exceptional height of these athletes is likely due to a combination of genetics, nutrition, and focused training from a very young age. Countries that excel at volleyball emphasize early talent identification and recruit exceptionally tall young girls into their national programs to develop their skills over time.
Height is clearly an advantage when spiking and blocking against other elite players in the 6’+ range. However, height alone does not guarantee success. Factors like vertical leap, coordination, reaction time, and positional skills also impact performance. But at the absolute highest levels, being over 6’ tall as a female player is typically the norm.
Height in College Volleyball
The average height of female volleyball players at the college level is typically a bit lower than their Olympic and professional counterparts. But college volleyball players are still quite tall compared to the general population.
Here are some average height statistics for female college volleyball players at the NCAA Division 1 level in the United States:
– Outside hitters: 6’0” – 6’2” (183-188 cm)
– Middle blockers: 6’2” – 6’4” (188-193 cm)
– Opposite hitters: 5’11” – 6’2” (180-188 cm)
– Setters: 5’9” – 6’0” (175-183 cm)
– Liberos: 5’5” – 5’8” (165-173 cm)
The middle blocker position tends to have the tallest average height, since their role is largely centered around blocking spikes at the net. Setters and liberos tend to be shorter than hitters, but still average several inches taller than typical women their age.
Compared to the average American woman’s height of 5’4” (162 cm), college volleyball players are noticeably taller across all positions. While not quite as tall as their Olympic role models, collegiate players still average around 6’0” overall.
Being over 6’ tall is not essential for success at the college level. High-level skills, athleticism, and positional expertise can allow shorter players to excel. But height and reach provide definite advantages when it comes to blocking, hitting power, and court coverage.
Height in High School and Junior Volleyball
Once we look at younger volleyball players, such as those competing at the high school and junior club levels, the average height tends to be lower.
Here are some typical height ranges for girls playing volleyball at these levels:
– High School Varsity: 5’6” – 6’0” (168 – 183 cm)
– High School Junior Varsity: 5’4” – 5’9” (162 – 175 cm)
– 13 and Under Club: 4’8” – 5’6” (142 – 168 cm)
– 15 and Under Club: 5’2” – 5’10” (157 – 178 cm)
– 17 and Under Club: 5’6” – 6’0” (168 – 183 cm)
As you can see, the average height increases with each age group as players grow and develop. Very tall players over 6’0” are still somewhat rare at the high school level. Though girls over 5’9” often have an advantage and may be encouraged to keep playing.
At the 13 and under club level, many girls are still growing and developing their skills. Height is not as crucial of a factor yet compared to athleticism, coordination, and passion for the game. By ages 15 and up, average heights reach the 5’6”-5’10” range, but plenty of shorter players can still excel with proper technique.
Ideal Height by Position
In addition to the overall team averages, ideal heights can vary significantly based on playing position:
Outside Hitter: 5’9” – 6’2” (175 – 188 cm). Outside hitters benefit from height and reach for powerful spikes, but excellent jumping ability can compensate for shorter stature.
Middle Blocker: 6’0” – 6’4” (183 – 193 cm). Middle blockers rely heavily on height and reach to deflect spikes at the net, making them the tallest players on average.
Opposite Hitter: 5’9” – 6’2” (175 – 188 cm). As primary hitters, opposites benefit from height but can make up for it with vertical leaping ability.
Setter: 5’7” – 6’0” (170 – 183 cm). Setters require coordination and agility more than height, but being taller can expand their court vision.
Libero: 5’3” – 5’10” (160 – 178 cm). Strong defensive skills and passing control are more vital for liberos than height.
So while general team averages give us a good sense of typical volleyball girl height, the ideal range ultimately depends on the specific position and role of each player. Developing individual strengths and skills for your role is more important than focusing on height alone. Proper technique, agility, and vertical leap can allow shorter players to excel.
Success Factors for Shorter Players
While height can provide some advantages on the volleyball court, there are many highly successful players at all levels that are shorter than the team average. Excellent jumping ability, quickness, positioning, and sheer determination allow them to overcome any height disadvantage compared to their teammates or opponents.
Here are some tips for shorter volleyball players to maximize their abilities:
– Improve vertical leap through plyometrics and leg strengthening exercises. A higher vertical provides greater reach when hitting and blocking.
– Develop lightning-quick foot speed to get to balls and transition around the court faster.
– Master precision ball control and passing skills to negate any reach disadvantage.
– Study gameplay strategies and court awareness to always position yourself optimally.
– Time your approach perfectly when hitting and increase your hitting power through arm strength training.
– Enhance your flexibility and core strength for better body control at the net.
– Watch elite players who are your height or shorter to learn their techniques.
– Believe in your abilities and establish confidence playing against taller opponents.
With dedicated training focused on their individual strengths, shorter volleyball players can most certainly find high levels of success. Collegiate volleyball features many star players under 6’0”, and even a few Olympic team members have been 5’10” or less. Height helps, but skill ultimately prevails.
Setting Appropriate Height Expectations
When striving to play volleyball at a high level, it’s important for girls and their parents to set realistic expectations around height that correspond to their age and skill level.
For younger volleyball players still growing, focus on developing coordination, movement, ball control, game sense, and passion above all else. Avoid intense position specialization too early.
In high school, start to consider ideal heights for various positions, but do not make this the sole factor in determining where to play. Take into account your abilities and strengths first and foremost.
At the college recruiting level, height starts to become a bigger consideration for elite teams. But various college divisions and programs provide opportunities for athletes of all body types.
Ultimately, skills trump height at every level. Develop your athleticism, positioning, and volleyball IQ as much as possible. With the right training and determination, players of any height can achieve volleyball excellence.
The Importance of Overall Fitness
While the average height of a volleyball girl gets a lot of attention, overall fitness, strength, and conditioning are equally if not more important for achieving volleyball success.
No matter your height, these athletic attributes are vital:
– Cardiovascular endurance to outlast opponents and recover quickly.
– Muscular strength and power for hitting, jumping, and serving force.
– Agility for quick changes of direction and reflexes.
– Flexibility and balance for coordinated court movements.
– Core stability to generate power and prevent injuries.
Dedicated cross-training, strength work, and conditioning allows players to maximize their physical abilities on the court, no matter their height. Prioritizing overall fitness helps shorter players overcome any height disadvantages compared to taller opponents.
Eating healthy and nutrient-rich foods fuels performance and aids muscle growth as volleyball players go through their adolescent growth spurts. Making smart nutrition choices can help players reach their ideal height and fitness levels.
With advanced training, conditioning, health habits, determination, and proper coaching, female volleyball players of any size have the potential to compete at a high level in the sport they love.
In conclusion, elite female volleyball players are often taller than average, with heights around 6’1”-6’3” at the absolute top levels. But average heights decrease to 5’9”-6’0″ at the high school level and below.
Ideal height varies by position, with middle blockers being the tallest and liberos and setters shorter on average. But possessing the necessary athleticism, skills, and competitive drive allows shorter volleyball players to excel.
Rather than obsessing over height alone, developing all-around fitness, proper technique, court awareness, and volleyball IQ should be the priorities. With dedicated training tailored to their abilities, volleyball girls of any size can play at a high level if they have the dedication and passion for the sport.
While height can provide some advantages, volleyball ultimately comes down to skill, smarts, and determination. Players and coaches should avoid making height the sole focus when evaluating potential and setting goals. By leveraging their strengths and abilities, volleyball girls can thrive on the court no matter their stature.