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Women’s Volleyball Recruiting Guidelines: How Tall Do You Have to Be to Play Volleyball in College?

Women's volleyball recruiting guidelines.

Has your family ever wondered if your athlete is tall enough to play college volleyball? Is her vertical jump high enough? Does she have the skills she needs to make it to the next level? To find out the average heights for college volleyball players by division, we went to the source: college volleyball rosters. We pulled data from all NCAA and NAIA volleyball teams’ rosters. Then, we averaged the heights for each position at all division levels.

But coaches aren’t just recruiting athletes based on their size—they also have a list of skills those recruits need to execute, such as vertical jump, standing reach, attack jump and approach jump. We worked with our partner the American Volleyball Coaches Association to get numbers around these volleyball-specific measurements. AVCA has hosted combines and tested volleyball players during college tournaments at all division levels. They compiled the data in their avcaVPI™ database to provide the average scores of college-level volleyball players, plus the scores in the top 80th percentile. We’ve included these numbers below to give families a good idea of where athletes need to be at to compete at the college level—and at the most competitive level.

How to use the volleyball recruiting guidelines

To get an idea of what it takes to be a college volleyball player, athletes need to consider the average height of college volleyball players, as well as the desired measurables for their position and necessary club experience. Here’s why each of these factors are important to include:

  • Average height of a college volleyball player: These are the average sizes of current college volleyball players. At D1 colleges and higher level D2 programs, most volleyball players are close to these average heights when they start the recruiting process. However, at the NAIA, D3 and junior college levels, athletes might still be growing into their height while in high school and even as freshmen in college. In other words, recruits don’t necessarily need to be this size as freshmen to get recruited, but they probably do need to be close to these averages if they’re serious about competing at the D1 level.
  • Club and high school experience: In volleyball, club experience is one of the most important factors in the recruiting process. Not only does club participation increase an athlete’s likelihood of getting noticed by college coaches, but it also shows coaches that athletes have been tested against some of the best volleyball players in the country. Within the club volleyball scene, there are different levels of competitiveness. Athletes interested in competing at a D1 college need some experience competing at the most elite level of club competition to prove they’re ready for the rigors of D1 play.
  • Volleyball-specific stats: When coaches evaluate recruits, they do a quick check of their height, block jump, approach jump, attack jump and standing reach (position dependent) to make sure recruits have the baseline requirements for playing at that school. However, the requirements that coaches look for will change slightly from school to school. These guidelines represent an overall average, based on data from the AVCA, as well as the top 80th percentile. Athletes should also check in with college coaches of interest to discover what their specific requirements are for recruits. 

These guidelines aren’t going to answer every question on how good an athlete needs to be, but they are meant to be used as just that: guidelines. Families should use them to get a better understanding of what division levels their athlete is best suited for. 

Volleyball recruiting tip: College coaches are always interested in seeing a recruit’s third-party verified stats. This shows the coach that an impartial measurer accurately captured these numbers, versus the recruit inventing them or taking them on imperfect equipment. The easiest way to get verified numbers is to go to the AVCA College Prep Combine.

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What is the average vertical jump for a volleyball player?

The average vertical jump for volleyball players will depend on the athlete’s position and division level. Overall, 19–20 inches is the average vertical jump for outsider hitters, right side hitters and middle blockers. The average vertical jump for setters is approximately 18–19 inches. Defensive specialists and liberos have an average vertical of about 18 inches.

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What is the average height of a college volleyball player?

Overall, the average height of a college volleyball player is around 5’10”. However, there are position- and division-specific averages that volleyball players should take into account when trying to determine their best division level. For example, the average Division 3 setter is 5’7”, but the average Division 1 right side hitter is 6’1”. Review the averages for division levels and positions below. 

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What is a good standing reach for volleyball?

A 7’9” standing reach is the college average for middle blockers and outside and right side hitters. The college-level standing reach for setters is approximately 7’5”, and liberos should be around 7”.

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Outside hitter recruiting guidelines

Skill College Average 80th Percentile of College Athletes
Standing reach 7'9" 7'10.5"
Attack jump 9'1" 9'5"
Vertical jump 19.9" 22.6"
Block jump 9'1" 9'5"

Division 1

  • Average height of college volleyball player: 6’0”
  • Average height range: 53% of players 6’0” and over
  • Club experience: Open-level playing experience

Division 2

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’10”
  • Average height range: 19.8% of athletes are 6’0” and taller; 61% of athletes are between 5’9” and 5’11”
  • Club experience: National-level experience; open level preferred

Division 3

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’9”
  • Average height range: 58.4% of players are between 5’8” to 5’10”
  • Club experience: National and regional club level experience

NAIA

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’10”
  • Average height range: 55.7% of athletes are between 5’8” and 5’10”
  • Club experience: National-level experience; open level preferred
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Opposite or right-side hitter recruiting guidelines

Skill College Average 80th Percentile of College Athletes
Standing reach 7'9" 8'1"
Attack jump 9'3" 9'7"
Vertical jump 20.5" 23.2"
Block jump 9'3" 9'7"

Division 1

  • Average height of college volleyball player: 6’1”
  • Average height range: 74.5% of athletes are 6’0” and taller
  • Club experience: Open-level playing experience 

Division 2

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’11”
  • Average height range: 41.7% of athletes are 6’0” and taller
  • Club experience: National-level experience; open level preferred 

Division 3

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’10”
  • Average height range: 52% of athletes are between 5’8” and 5’10”
  • Club experience: National and regional club level experience 

NAIA

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’10”
  • Average height range: 51. 9% of athletes are between 5’10” and 6’0”
  • Club experience: National-level experience; open level preferred
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Middle blocker recruiting guidelines

Skill College Average 80th Percentile of College Athletes
Standing reach 7'9" 8'1"
Attack jump 9'3" 9'7"
Vertical jump 19.8" 23.1"
Block jump 9'3" 9'6.5"

Division 1

  • Average height of college volleyball player: 6’1”
  • Average height range: 43.2% of athletes are 6’2” and over
  • Club experience: Open-level playing experience

Division 2

  • Average volleyball player height: 6’0”
  • Average height range: 60.3% of athletes are between 5’11” and 6’1”
  • Club experience: National-level experience; open level preferred

Division 3

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’11”
  • Average height range: 61% of athletes are between 5’10” and 6’0”
  • Club experience: National and regional club level experience

NAIA

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’11”
  • Average height range: 60.6% of athletes are between 5’10” and 6’0”
  • Club experience: National-level experience; open level preferred
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Setter recruiting guidelines

Skill College Average 80th Percentile of College Athletes
Standing reach 7'4.5" 7'8.5"
Attack jump 8'9" 9'1"
Vertical jump 18.9" 21.5"
Block jump 8'9.5" 9'1.5"

Division 1

  • Average height of college volleyball player: 5’10”
  • Average height range: 52% of athletes are between 5’9” and 5’11”
  • Club experience: Open-level playing experience

Division 2

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’8”
  • Average height range: 54% of athletes are between 5’7” and 5’9”
  • Club experience: National-level experience; open level preferred

Division 3

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’7”
  • Average height range: 52% of athletes are between 5’6” and 5’8”
  • Club experience: National and regional club level experience

NAIA

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’7”
  • Average height range: 47.6% of athletes are between 5’6” and 5’8”
  • Club experience: National-level experience; open level preferred
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Libero recruiting guidelines

Skill College Average 80th Percentile of College Athletes
Standing reach 7'0" 7'2.5"
Attack jump 8'5" 8'8.5"
Vertical jump 18.3" 20.4"
Block jump 8'3.5" 8'8"

Division 1

  • Average height of college volleyball player: 5’6”
  • Average height range: 50% of athletes are between 5’5” and 5’7”
  • Club experience: Open-level playing experience

Division 2

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’5”
  • Average height range: 64% of athletes are between 5’4” and 5’7”
  • Club experience: National-level experience; open level preferred

Division 3

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’5”
  • Average height range: 54.6% of athletes are between 5’4” and 5’6”
  • Club experience: National and regional club level experience

NAIA

  • Average volleyball player height: 5’5”
  • Average height range: 48% of athletes are between 5’4” and 5’6”
  • Club experience: National-level experience; open level preferred
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