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T3 – Doubles Formations – I-Formation

The last formation in our survey of doubles formations is the I-Formation, possibly the hardest formation to execute, but most effective when executed correctly


Set Up

The server will line up close to the center hash mark (as if they were serving in singles) and the net player will line up, squatting low, straddling the center line about halfway between the service line and net. Depending on the height of the net player they may need to be further back in the service boxes to avoid getting hit with the serve. The net player will have to call the play.


The I-Formation is quite simply the formation that has the highest offense potential of any formation. If you call the right plays, the net player should be able to hit a winner on every return.

The other benefit of the I-Formation is that it places the server in a position to cover wherever the net player is not.

A last benefit is that it essential makes any move that the net player makes a “poach”. This allows them to have great offense and to take the returning team off guard.


The biggest drawback is that it while it generates a lot of offense, it also requires a good deal of skill and mobility. In order for I-Formation to work the server MUST be able to hit their targets, and the net player must be able to cover a good amount of ground quickly.

Another drawback is again that miscommunications in the play calling can create mis-matches on the court that your opponents can exploit.

When To Use

Because I-Formation has the highest offense potential, it should be used when you want to be very aggressive to hold serve. Another great time to try out I-Formation is if you have a particularly adept volleyer on your team.

That ends our survey on the different doubles formations and their pros and cons. Try some and let us know how they worked in the comments or on our Facebook. Good Luck Everyone!

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