Even when the ball isn't on your side of the court, it is important to be ready for it to get there. Hitting back at exactly the right time is an important defensive rule for any volleyball game. There are several techniques that can be used for the defense part of volleyball; all which will help prevent the team from missing the hit.
The first thing that will need to be done as a defensive team is to be ready for the serve. The best way to do this is to make sure that everyone is positioned in order to block the ball from falling. Being in a position where knees are slightly bent and the legs are ready to move in any direction is a good beginning. Generally, you will want to make sure that both the front line and back line are covering a wide range of space and are able to hit the ball. Often times, coaches will have the front line step slightly back and have the back line step forward in order to cover the space that is needed.
After everyone is set in the right positions, they will need to be ready to attack the ball when it gets to their side. This will begin by being ready for the attack. It is best to get the ball when it is right below your chin. This will make it easier to hit, and you will be able to do so with more power. You will also want to get under the ball in order to keep it off the ground and going towards the other side of the court.
From here, the most important part of playing defensively is to block the ball. Each player should act like the ball is coming towards them, and should be ready to stop it from a fall when they see it. Part of the blocking may be to make sure that if a block is missed, someone else grabs the ball. Other players should be ready to block the ball by the net, just in case it comes too close to hitting the net and falling.
By being prepared and paying attention for the serve, a game can easily take the turn from a defensive line to an offensive one. If your team is getting ready to receive a ball from the other side, you will want to make sure that they are also ready to defend their territory. By doing this, they will be able to set the ball like they want and get it away from where they don't want the ball.