When you begin playing at a higher level, tracking player stats becomes a very important part of the game of volleyball.
Hitting percentage, otherwise referred to as hitting efficiency or kill efficiency, is one of the most useful stats to help coaches determine exactly how effective an attacker is.
A good hitting percentage varies based on position and level of play, but as a general rule of thumb, a hitting percentage of .250-300+ is considered quite good.
Before we get into the details, we’ll have a look at how this stat is calculated and how it differs from similar stats.
Finally, we’ll look at some hitting percentage benchmarks for different positions at different levels of the game and what you can do to up your efficiency.
How To Calculate Hitting Percentage In Volleyball?
When discussing hitting percentage, technically we’re referring to what’s known as hitting efficiency.
But people often use different words to express to express similar concepts…
Multiple Terms Mean The Same Thing
There’s actually 3 different terms people use interchangeably to refer to this volleyball stat: hitting percentage, hitting efficiency, or kill efficiency.
So if you hear any of those terms, just know they all refer to the same thing.
Because it’s most commonly called hitting percentage, we’ll refer to it as that.
Volleyball Hitting Percentage Formula
It’s calculated as follows…
Hitting Percentage = (No. Kills – No. Errors)/Total Attempts
So where do we get these numbers from?
Begin By Recording Stats
In order to determine hitting percentage, a coach will need to manually write down how many kills, errors, and attempts a player makes.
Every kill a player makes is logged down on the stat sheet as a ‘+’.
Every error they make is a ‘-‘.
Every time they make an attempt that results in neither a kill nor an error (i.e. the rally continues), it’s logged as a ‘0’.
I should probably mention that a kill is an unreturnable hit that results in us winning the point.
Tracking A Player’s Hitting Efficiency
Suppose we want to track the hitting efficiency of our star outside hitter…
Throughout a set the coaching staff might log something that looks similar to the following.
From this we can derive the total kills by counting all the plus symbols which is 10.
The total errors made was only 4.
And there were 6 zero plays which gives us 10+4+6 = 20 total attempts.
Use The Volleyball Hitting Percentage Calculator
We can now plug these numbers into the volleyball hitting percentage calculator to get our hitting percentage.
We find that our outside hitter has a hitting percentage of 0.300.
A hitting percentage of 0.300 expressed verbally would be a ‘three hundred’. However, some people will refer to this as ‘30% hitting efficiency’.
I’ll explain shortly what this number means and whether it’s a good hitting percentage or not.
Hitting Percentage Vs Kill Percentage
This is where it gets a little tricky and people can confuse the terminology…
Kill percentage is not the same as kill efficiency/hitting efficiency/hitting percentage.
Put simply, kill percentage is the number of kills/total attempts.
In the above example, our outside hitter made 10 kills from 20 attempts, so she has a 50% kill percentage.
You can see how these stats differ slightly – she has a hitting percentage of .300 but 50% kill percentage.
Why Does Hitting Percentage Matter?
Hitting percentage is not as simple to calculate as kill percentage, but it’s a lot more nuanced and tells considerably more about exactly how well a player is spiking.
The Problem With Kill Percentage
Remember our outside hitter with the 50% kill percentage who hit 10 kills from 20 attempts?
If we only used kill percentage to track her performance, we wouldn’t know whether she made 10 errors or if the opposition team made 10 really great digs to keep the point alive…
There’s a huge difference.
Hitting Percentage Reveals True Offensive Efficiency
If our star player got stuff blocked every one of those 10 attempts that she didn’t get a kill, she’d be far less efficient than if she managed to skillfully guide the ball over the net to make the best of a bad situation.
By adding the variable of errors into our equation, we get a much fuller picture of how well a player is hitting the ball.
What Is A Good Hitting Percentage In Volleyball?
The first thing you need to understand about hitting percentage is that position plays a large role.
Different Positions Will Have Different Hitting Percentages
Outside hitters, opposites, and middle blockers each have different benchmarks for hitting percentages.
Middle Blocker Hitting Percentage
A middle blocker will usually have the highest hitting percentage on a team.
This is because they’re really only being set the ball when there’s a good pass from the back court.
As shown above, 24 out of the top 25 NCAA D1 women’s players with the highest hitting percentage this year have been middles.
For middle blockers, a hitting percentage of .350 or more is considered quite good. Anything over 0.400 is excellent.
Middle blockers also don’t tend to hit that many back row attacks, which is another contributing factor to their high efficiency.
It’s a lot harder to kill a back row attack.
Outside Hitting Percentage
Outsides often have to spike stray balls that are no where near their ideal hitting window, making it often virtually impossible for them to kill the ball.
A good hitting percentage for an outside hitter is between .250-300 with 300+ being excellent.
On top of that, they are often matched up against a formidable opposite blocker who will make life very difficult for them at the net.
Opposite Hitting Percentage
Similarly, opposites tend to get a lot of scrappy sets released to them which will bring their hitting percentage down.
A good hitting percentage for an opposite hitter is between .270-320 with 320+ being excellent.
An opposite is also largely responsible for hitting back row attacks which naturally have a lower kill percentage, further decreasing their overall efficiency.
What Is An Average Hitting Percentage In Volleyball?
Again these numbers fluctuate based on position but generally speaking anything between .200-250 is considered fairly average.
For a middle blocker however, those numbers would mean they’re slightly underperforming.
Can You Have A Negative Hitting Percentage In Volleyball?
If your hitting percentage consistently starts slipping below .100, this is definitely cause for concern.
Technically a player with a .100 hitting percentage is winning points for their team, but not exactly at satisfactory rate.
A negative hitting percentage is also possible and means the player is more likely to make an error than they are to get a kill when hitting the ball.
This player, so far as spiking is concerned, then becomes a liability on the court.
Is A Hitting Percentage Of 0 Considered Average?
If your hitting percentage is sitting around 0, this means you’re neither winning nor losing points for the team.
Make no mistake, just because your PCT is at 0, this does not mean you’re performing around average…
In fact you’re definitely underperforming.
When we’re hitting the ball, we expect to get kills.
The whole point of spiking is that the ball has been served up on a silver platter for you to put it away and end the rally.
When we spike the ball in volleyball, we should be winning points. That’s just how the game works.
Volleyball Hitting Percentage Targets
Here are some figures that you and your team should aim to shoot for to be considered strong offensively.
That’s not to say you’re underperforming if you’re not hitting these numbers, but you should still be striving to reach these benchmarks.
How Do You Increase Your Hitting Percentage In Volleyball?
There is only two ways you can increase your hitting percentage…
To increase your hitting percentage in volleyball, you either need to get more kills or make less hitting errors.
…Or you could change your position to middle blocker, but that’s kind of cheating.
Get More Kills
I recently wrote a list of 10 things you can do to get more kills in volleyball, so I’d recommend starting there.
Make Less Hitting Errors
That might sound kind of broad, but really this comes down to just three things.
1. You’re hitting the ball into the net too much…
This can happen for a myriad of reasons.
Are you trying to hit the ball too hard? Are you trying to hit really sharp angles to impress your teammates?
Maybe you’re just inexperienced. Maybe you’re short and inexperienced.
Focus on contacting the ball nice and high and instead of trying to hit the ball really hard when it’s not in an ideal position, practice tooling the ball off the block or aiming for the back of the court.
2. You’re hitting the ball out of bounds too much…
At least you’re getting the ball over the net!
Chances are if you’re hitting the ball wide too often, you’re still trying to hit angles that are too sharp and you’ll be better served by aiming for the corners of the back court.
3. You’re getting blocked too often…
Lots of things could be causing this.
It could just mean that you’re up against an excellent defensive team.
But you’re probably not being smart enough about the placement of your shots.
Take some heat off the ball and just focus on aiming for an open area of the court. You won’t get many kills at first, but baby steps…
Volleyball Hitting Percentage FAQ
This will vary a lot based on what year you’re in.
For freshmen, a team hitting percentage of .200-250 is probably pretty decent, as errors are really common and few players have mastered spiking yet.
Chances are you won’t bother tracking stats at this level anyway.
For seniors who are exceptionally good playing against much weaker opponents, you could expect a team PCT of .400.
Individual players may even average north of .700!
This information is hard to come by at the professional or international level, but we do have some interesting records for women’s D1 volleyball.
For an entire season, Tyrona Clark once hit .519 in 1988.
And for an entire college career, Virág Domokos hit .423 from 1993-1996.
Men’s volleyball numbers tend to be quite a bit higher with Dylan Davis hitting .882 for a match (15/17) in 2011.