|Written by Mark Kaschke |
|Monday, 25 February 2008 |
Most coaches want their players to play harder. Most
players think they are playing hard. The disconnect between players and coaches is often that players do not know what it
means to effectively “play hard” and most coaches assume that players instinctively understand what this ethereal
Successful volleyball requires that
a player get into the correct position, which allows that player to make a successful contact with the ball, whether passing,
setting, digging, hitting or blocking. This simply means proper fundamental movement with consistently high intensity and
focus, which includes verbalization (communication) with teammates. This is what a coach means when she yells, “move
your feet and stay focused.” It includes the proper movement between the ears.
Proper fundamental movement
is different for different positions and for different volleyball skills. Coaches must define each movement and players must
commit to attempt each movement in the fundamentally proper manner. This article will not deal with the correct technique
aspects of individual volleyball skills. The following movement definitions simply relate to what it means to “play
hard” in differing positions with an emphasis on verbalization:
Outside Hitter (Left or Right) Front Row
Run, do not walk, to your approach
position (3 feet outside the court at the 10 foot line)
Scream the set you want, 5 / 4 / 31 / 2 / A / B / C / D / Etc.
Adjust to the setter’s movement to the ball (the more the setter moves off the net, the further outside you adjust
your approach position)
Delay your approach until you know where exactly the set is going and approach very fast to
Run to your cover position if you do not get the set and scream "cover"
Run to the net with your hands up as soon as the ball goes over the net
Scream out the
result of the opponent’s pass: On / Off / Over (In-System / Out-of-System / Overpass)
Scream out the opponent’s
set: Outside / Middle / Back / A / Shoot / Two / Etc.
Beat the set (do not track the set by moving with the slower pace
of the ball) if you have blocking responsibility and set the block as early as possible
Scream out the blocking timing:
Ready / Ready / Up
On defense when digging:
Repeat steps 1-3 above
Shuffle or drop
step cross-over as fast as possible to the defensive read position
Scream out the where the opponent is hitting (Line
/ Cross / Tip / Roll / Etc.)
Run, do not walk, to your approach position after digging
Drop step and drive as fast as
possible to your approach position as soon as your feet return to the floor after maximum blocking effort
body to follow the ball as you move to your approach position
Scream the set you want, B / C / D / A / Etc.
the fake of the hit you called if you do not get the set
Follow the set as soon as possible to cover your teammate’s
On defense when blocking:
Scream out the result of the opponent’s pass: On /
Off / Over
Scream out the opponent’s set: Outside / Middle / Back / A / Shoot / Two / Etc.
Beat the set
(do not track the set) if you have blocking responsibility and set the block as early as possible
If the opponent’s
pass is “OFF” go immediately to the outside blocking position
Close to the outside blocker’s position
and adjust with the outside blocker
Scream out the result of the opponent’s
pass: On / Off / Over Scream out the opponent’s set: Outside
/ Middle / Back / A / Shoot / Two / Etc. Beat the set (do not track
the set) if you have blocking responsibility and set the block as early as possible Scream out the blocking timing: Ready / Ready / Up Find
the ball immediately upon landing and release to the setter target position facing the ball
Go to base position as fast as possible Scream
out the result of the opponent’s pass: On / Off / Over Scream
out the opponent’s set: Outside / Middle / Back / A / Shoot / Two / Etc. Go to your read position as fast as possible Unless the
ball is hit to you, sprint to the setter target position all the way to the net Beat the pass with your feet, using quick push, drive, slant footwork Get behind the ball and adjust feet and hips to the hitting target and center the ball Go cover your set as fast as possible Get
back to base as fast as possible
Back Row (Left, Middle, or Right)
Go to base position
as fast as possible
Scream out the result of the opponent’s pass: On / Off / Over
Scream out the opponent’s
set: Outside / Middle / Back / A / Shoot / Two / Etc.
Get to your read position as quickly as possible, staying square
to the ball with hips
DO NOT GO TO YOUR READ POSITION AND STOP MOVING – you must constantly adjust your read position
to the set and to the block
Adjust to where the opponent’s set goes to either clear yourself of a properly set
block by the front row players or move to fill the hole if the block does not close
Scream out the where the opponent
is hitting (Line / Cross / Tip / Roll)
Start to move to where you think the hitter will hit the ball – DO NOT
WAIT TO MOVE TOWARDS THE HITTER’S LINE OF ATTACK UNLESS YOU THINK THE HITTER IS HITTING RIGHT TOWARDS YOU
step (to the left, right or forward) or shuffle to dig if possible - run to the ball if it is outside of shuffle range
Move forward as soon as you read a tip or roll shot - do not wait or the actual shot
If the ball is not hit towards
you, flow (move) towards the opponents attack and help with the second contact if the setter cannot get to the ball
towards the middle attack to cover your middle hitter
If the set does not go to your middle hitter, immediately go to
your outside cover position
Get back to base as soon as possible
ALWAYS FLOW (MOVE) TOWARDS THE BALL
Remember, “Playing Hard” has both physical and mental elements. If you challenge yourself to constantly move
and verbalize on the court during the point, you will not have to worry about intensity and focus, both will follow naturally.
|Finding The Kill
|Written by Davis Ransom on
Wednesday, June 21, 2006 |
Sports Performance 18 Elite's Megan Fesl is a premier attacker because
she has all the shots. Photo by www.arcticferret.us
The best offensive players
in volleyball are those who are able to consistently find a way to get kills for their team while making
very few (a relative term) errors. As simple as this statement sounds there are many factors involved in becoming
a big-time kill finder. In this article I will outline four ideas that can help any hitter find more kills for their
Develop a strong foundation of skills. A great armswing
that allows the hitter to hit the ball very hard and as high as possible, with as much topspin as possible, is absolutely
essential to becoming a ball-killer. Many players neglect focus on their armswing and think that if they just jump high
they will be able to get lots of kills. An imperfect armswing can also minimize hitting power, increase the likelihood
of injury, and limit a player’s ability to make certain plays in the air. Also, hitters need to develop
an arsenal of shots that they can use to get out of trouble situations or find a kill. Many players only practice
hitting angle as hard as they can. This may be a great shot sometimes, but turns, shots, and tools are also important
for hitters who want to make the most out of every situation. Developing these skills before you get to competition
can greatly increase your chances of getting kills.
Second, be as physical as possible. The
best hitters jump really, really high and hit really, really hard. Working hard to improve these areas
can greatly increase a player’s ability to kill the ball. But, let’s face it, not all volleyball players
are going to be able to jump as high as others. The best thing a player can do to increase your chance for more
kills now is to engage your physicality as a player and try to be as athletic as possible on
every play. Many players underestimate the value of being physical simply because they are not the best athlete on the
floor. Being relentlessly athletic and physical is a great way to get more points. In addition, being aggressive
to the ball helps the hitter get a better relationship to the ball in the air, which creates more options and allows for more
opportunities to do something with the ball. Taking pride in being a player who does not take plays off is a great
way to make a name for yourself and your team. More “lucky breaks” go to the more aggressive team.
Every time you spike the ball over the net should be with a max jump. Sure, there are times in a match that you really
cannot take a big jump to the ball (a horrible set, etc.), but the best hitters go up hard on every set to keep the defenders
back, creating a greater likelihood of their shots working.
Also, hit hard. Swing away. Go for it. I’m sure all
of the best hitters in the world can remember some of their worst hits that went flying out the back of the court by some
ridiculous distance. Some players simply never take a big swing for fear of hitting the ball out, but the only way to
learn how to control your big swings is to take them. The harder the hit the less time the defense has to react; a simple
formula for more kills. Hitting hard at the top of the swing is another factor that separates many of the best hitters
from the pack. Lots of hitters can hit hard and low to the net (in the “easy for the team to block” zone),
but the best hitters hit hard and high, with their ball crossing very high over the top of net.
big-time hitters know the opposing team’s defense and what they are going to try to do to stop them.
This, too, sounds, simple, but often players limit their ability to get kills not due to the quality of the spike itself,
but due to the quality of their choices. For example, that straight down angle hit that every hitter loves is simply
not going to work if you have a block in front of you. Good teams put up a solid block and play solid defense, so if
a hitter continually makes poor choices, eventually even the best attacks will be stopped. Awareness
of the opposing team’s strategy is critical to getting kills because the best hitters are continually trying to be one
step ahead of the other team. A big-time hitter should constantly be searching for an advantage.
A great hitter might say to him/herself: “I saw this team warming up, they do perimeter defense, they swing block mostly
angle, they have one huge middle, and a shorter setter” or “This team likes to drop into the angle when they only
have one blocker up” or “I think I can get my line this next play”. The point is: an intentionless
attempt is a wasted opportunity. Where is the kill? Keep working to find the answer to this question, vary
your attack, take some speed off of the ball, hit the sides of the court, tool the block, tip, set your blocker up, show the
defense one thing then do the other, hit off the top of the block, use all of your options and remember: KILL, KILL,
Quick armswing tip:
Try keeping your thumb of your hitting arm pointed towards the ground, with
your hand facing away from your face when pulling back on your swing. This will correct any reach and rotation
issues. It might feel strange, but give it a try, you might be surprised at how it helps your swing!
Setters and Leadership
Without a doubt, a team that is lead by their setter will have the best chance of reaching their full potential as a TEAM.
Your position as setter carries with it more responsibilities than any other position on the court, period.
responsibilities are the following;
1. Take responsibility and assume accountability for the success of your hitters.
Don’t demand a perfect pass in order to deliver a hittable set.
3. Do however stress the importance of an “in-system”
(“in-system”- within an area that allows you to set various hitters effectively.)
4. Voice your desire
to set various positions to keep your opponent off balance.
5. Know your hitters strengths and highlight them.
your hitters weaknesses and keep from setting a weakness when the game situation calls for high percentage opportunities.
Stay late or arrive early and work on your setting skills.
8. Offer to stay late or arrive early to work with hitters on
strengthening the more challenging parts of their game.
9. Be clear on the goals and expectations of your coach. Of you
and the team.
10. Be vocal, the game commands communication.
11. If you do the above, you shouldn’t worry about
whether you rub someone the wrong way by embracing your leadership role.
If your teammates see that you’re willing
to bust your butt in order to make them look good, …. they will bust theirs in order to help you make them look good.