Tag Archives: Volleyball

The Basic Skills Used in Volleyball

There are six primary skills in the sport of volleyball. They are as follows:

Serving – Every play in volleyball starts with the serve. It is the only skill of the game which is completely in the control of the individual player. The serve may be executed either from a standing position or while jumping. The two primary types are float serves, which are hit with no spin so as to knuckle in the air, and top spin serves, which are struck so as to cause the ball to dip down toward the end of its flight.

Passing – Passing is the act of directing a ball coming from the other team in the form of either a serve or other non-attack form of play toward the net where it can be set. Quite often these passes are executed using the forearms (sometimes known as bumping), but they can also be done overhead (at least in the indoor game).

Setting – After a ball is passed (or dug) on the first contact, a second one is used to provide an attackable ball to a hitter. This set is usually executed overhand in the indoor game, though can also be accomplished using a forearm pass. You will see the latter – generally referred to as a bump set – in the beach game quite often where the restrictions on ball-handling are somewhat tighter.

Hitting – Also known as spiking, hitting is the process of attacking the ball into the opponents court. The objective is to score a point by causing the ball to land on the floor or to be played out of bounds by a defending player. This is generally accomplished by jumping and hitting the ball above the height of the net with a downward trajectory.

Blocking – The first line of defense against a hitter is the block. In blocking, a player (or players) attempt to prevent the ball from being played into their court by stopping it from crossing the net at the point of attack. This is executed by jumping very near the net and extending the arms above the head, and into the opponents side of the court for those with the height and/or jumping ability to do so.

Digging – Executed in a similar fashion to passing, digging is the handling of an attacked ball. It can be done either using a forearm pass or overhead, though generally speaking the ball is coming at a more rapid pace than in the case of normal passing. The idea, however, is the same in terms of playing the ball in the direction of the net to then be set.

How to Increase Your Speed in Volleyball

Volleyball is a game which requires a lot of skill and good reaction time. The extra second it takes for you to get on the ground and bump the ball up could be the difference between losing a set or winning it. In many situations, Volleyball games are extremely close, meaning the sets are played almost point for point. Make an error that could have been easily avoided and you will regret it! There are many ways in which you can improve your speed in Volleyball, and I’d like to share them below.

The first, and most obvious thing to do is practise. The more balls you have hit at you the faster you will be able to react. If you are finding you still take too long to decide whether to bump or set the ball, you need more practice. It’s just a matter of dedicating that time to practice, and you will increase in leaps and bounds.

One of the biggest problems I see regularly is the position that players stand in. In Volleyball, they often call it the ‘ready’ position, because you have the best posture for moving at the blink of an eye. Try this little experiment – stand up straight and put the weight on the rear of your feet, and have someone yell go when you aren’t expecting it. Time how long it takes you to move to a set position, whether that be forward, to the side or backwards.

Next, try the same experiment but instead of putting the weight on the rear of your feet, stand on your toes and lean forward. You will notice that you can move much quicker. Even better than this, you should be standing crouched down a little bit, with your feet spread apart and the majority of your body weight on the front of your feet. Have a look at the professionals – they all stand with the weight forward so that they can react within the shortest time.

You will find that the more time you spend leaning forward the better your posture is, and the more comfortable you become. I guarantee with practice and the correct ‘ready’ position you will be able to move considerably faster than any other technique. Most of all, don’t give up. Everyone can react quickly with the right training, and its just a matter of getting to the stage where it is second nature!

How Volleyball Is Played

Compared to other team sports, volleyball may involve less physical contact but it is still a challenging sport for the reason that the game entails constant motion. Being purely a rebound sport, no player can hold the ball but can only pass, set, hit, spike or block the ball.

The court

Volleyball is played by two teams on a court which is divided crosswise by a net. The offensive goal of each team is to send the ball – without holding the ball — in such a way that it lands on the ground of the opposing team.

The players

Each team consists of 6 players who must rotate in a clockwise position every time the team wins back service time. Three players are at the net positions and the other three are at the back. Only the players at the net can block or spike near the net. Those at the back court can also block or spike provided that they jump from behind the three-meter-line, also known as the attack line.

The starting line-up usually includes such specialists as the setter, two center-line backers, two receiver-hitters and what is known as a universal spiker. In 1998, the International Federation of Volleyball introduced a new specialist player position called the libero who is the only one that does not take part in rotation.

The libero serves a critical role in receiving service and playing defense in the backcourt. Although he cannot serve, spike or rotate into the frontline, he holds the key to making his team run a successful offense by a combination of excellent passing and ball-handling.

Scoring

Volleyball has adopted since 1998 a standard scoring system known as the Rally Point System which allows a team to score a point regardless of whichever of the two teams is serving. This is unlike the traditional scoring system in which only the team at service can score.

The ball is hurled into play by a service. Each team is allowed only 3 hits in the service reception. The ball is volleyed back and forth in what is known as a rally. The rally goes on until the ball gets grounded on the playing court, goes out of the court or is not returned properly. Whoever wins a rally scores a point.

A receiving team which wins a rally not only gains a point but also wins the right to serve and the opportunity to rotate clockwise.

Matches

Matches are staged via best-of-five sets. The first four sets are all played to 25 points while the last or fifth set is played to only 15 points. A team wins a set if he out scores the opponent by at least 2 points. As there is no ceiling point, a set continues until a team wins by 2 points.

Uniform

During the early years of volleyball, the usual attire consists of baggy shirts and shorts. Today, volleyball uniforms are less baggy and more formal-looking. Shirts could either be sleeveless, short-sleeved or long-sleeved and paired with either trousers or shorts. Players also wear volleyball shoes.

Strategies for Effective Use of Volleyball Drills

Face it, volleyball drills can be a real drag, whether you are a coach or a player. The players continually drill, essentially doing the same thing everyday, while the coach watches them to see if they are working hard and doing what they are supposed to. In reality, volleyball drills are not fun, and can cause burnout rather quickly. There are many ways that you as a coach can make these inevitable occurrences a little more bearable, if not downright fun at times.

One way to relieve the boredom of volleyball drills is to make a competition of them. Throw in some friendly competition, and you will notice that your players seem to work just that little bit harder. Faster runners, harder hitters, higher jumpers, all of these can play into the overall game. A good way to promote this is to provide a grand prize that your team can shoot for. Perhaps find a way to have a weekend stay at a nice hotel at the end of the season. For every competition that a player wins, they can have their name put in a raffle. After the season, at the awards dinner, the winner is drawn from all entries. You could even have second, third ad so on winners. This gives a tangible goal for players to shoot for. To keep everyone interested, you might even have intermediate drawings for smaller prizes throughout the season. Before you know it, you will see your players working extra hard to improve in their volleyball drills.

Because your players know that they are going to be doing volleyball drills for every practice, it will be easy for them to burn out. Instead of letting them burn out, take a few days each season “off”. Rather than doing drills on a hot day, take the team to the community pool and let them just splash around and have some fun. There is no greater exercise than being in the water. Every movement is met with resistance from the water around you. This is actually a really good physical workout, disguised as a day of fun. In keeping with the sport itself, feel free to toss a ball in the pool with them to hit over the net. This can also serve a secondary purpose. Because of the resistance of the water, the players’ moves will be slowed down more than normal. Watch them and take note of little things that may need to be worked on. That will give you something to work on the next day, when you return to volleyball drills. After all, improving form and skill is the reason you practice your team in the first place.

A favorite way to make volleyball drills more enjoyable is to have the players teach them to younger players. It is a well-known fact that you can’t teach something if you don’t know it well. Teaching a set of drills to a younger player is a great way to see if your players understand exactly what the purposes of the drills are. Your players will find themselves looking at the volleyball drills from the same point of view as you are. You will shortly find that they are able to grasp the reasoning behind them much quicker when you start teaching them new and harder drills. If your players know why they are working on a particular set of drills, they will be able to understand the best way to get the most out of them. You may even find that your players begin to offer suggestions on how to make certain drills better for the team that you have missed.

In the end, the volleyball season will consist of a long stream of volleyball drills, repeated over and over. They will become second nature to your team. That doesn’t mean that they have to be boring and repetitive. Using just a little bit of creativity, you can make your volleyball drills more enjoyable and less work. Since they are more enjoyable, your team will have less reluctance to try their hardest. Before long, you will find every member of your team improving, and chances are, they won’t even realize it until their next game. When they win their next game, and see the ease with which they did it, you will find the biggest factor in making the incessant drilling more bearable: Your team’s sense of pride.

Condition Your Team With Volleyball Drills

For any team, no matter what the sport, practice is not fun. No matter what kind of fun you put in your volleyball drills, the fact of the matter is that they still involve a lot of practice, and are just plain hard work. Like any sport that requires conditioning, after the first few weeks of practices, you will find out who is really there to play. These first few weeks are generally considered the conditioning weeks. Volleyball drills and conditioning go hand in hand. It is hard for your team to understand exactly what the reason behind this conditioning is.

Volleyball is a very demanding sport. Because of this, your conditioning volleyball drills will push your players to the limits of their abilities, and beyond. One of the key components in the game is strength. A player must be strong enough to hit a blazing ball across the net. Their legs need to be strong enough to propel them into the air for that block that could mean the difference between winning and losing. However, pure strength isn’t quite enough. Your players will need to have a good dose of explosive strength. It is important to be able to go from a standing position to a powerful jump, with a blistering hit behind it. To this end, you should include some strength training into your volleyball drills, such as weight lifting, squats, or even working with a medicine ball.

Adding agility exercises into your volleyball drills will prove to be vital also. Agility is important in creating a winning team. Picture how boring the game of volleyball would be if there was no diving saves, or pinpoint serves. In every spike that is ever executed, agility and strength are important parts of the move. Even blocking, passing, and setting require some agility to be performed correctly. Adding such exercises as frog jumps or explosive push-ups into your volleyball drills will help your players’ agility become a stronger force with each practice.

The volleyball drills mentioned so far can be fairly tough. It is the hardest, yet most vital component of conditioning drills that will turn practice from a slight workout to a grueling thing of dread: endurance. It is great to be able to spike and serve beautifully in the first set of a game. Being able to perform the same move, with as much grace and power after playing for 45 minutes or more is what is going to make a winning team. Building the endurance of your team will make it so they can play just as well at the end of the game as they did at the beginning. Obviously, long distance running or extremely long practices could accomplish this, at least to a point. But this is where exercises like suicides and down-ups added into your volleyball drills will really pay off. These exercises are designed to cause a player to exert an amount of energy very quickly, followed by a short rest then repeating. This will help any player’s endurance become strong enough to last through an entire game.

Conditioning volleyball drills are, from a player’s point of view, the worst thing about any practice. They can be difficult to justify until an actual game is played. It is easy to see first hand what working on serving or setting will affect. These are visible gains that can be seen every time the ball is hit, either in practice or a real game. Conditioning isn’t visible, so progress can be hard to measure. That progress won’t be really shown until actual game time, at which time you and your team will see that of all the volleyball drills you worked on, conditioning can arguably be considered the most important skill to have worked on.

Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Volleyball

Volleyball is a sport beloved by many and can easily be played year-round. However, if you have the chance to hit the court outdoors when the weather’s good, why wouldn’t you try to get in some fresh air and sunshine while you play the game you love?

There are differences between indoor and outdoor (sometimes called “sand”) volleyball. These differences are not enough to be real game-changers, but there are some things to be aware of depending on your volleyball environment.

The Volleyball Court

Sand volleyball courts and indoor courts are fairly different in size. Beach courts are actually smaller than indoor courts. Indoor courts have a rule where players in the back row cannot advance behind a certain point in the court to hit the ball, whereas sand volleyball players can hit the ball from anywhere on their side of the net. The reasoning behind the smaller sand court size may be that getting any traction and running in sand is much more difficult than on a hard surface. A smaller court keeps the ball in play longer, keeping rallies more entertaining and face-paced.

Players Per Team

With the larger court size for indoor volleyball, it reasons that a larger amount of people would be needed to cover the area. Indoor volleyball requires six players per team, or side. Each player has a specialized position that rotates and switches throughout the game. Sand volleyball is usually played with two-person teams. One player hits from the left side of the court, one hits from the right. The serve is rotated between the two players. There are no specialized positions and each player is usually well-versed in all hits, blocks and digs. At competition-level sand volleyball, players can have dedicated positions such as one may block and one may dig, but both could still hit.

The Volleyball

The ball itself is one of the differences between indoor and outdoor volleyball. Indoor balls are made of leather and are somewhat heavier than balls used outdoors. These heavier indoor balls can be hit harder and tend to move more quickly than an outdoor ball. Sand volleyballs are bigger, softer and less heavy than indoor balls. The lighter weight helps them float through the air better, allowing more experienced players to use the weather to their advantage.

Keeping Score

Indoor volleyball has matches made up of five sets or games. Games are played until the first team reaches 25 points, and are declared the winners of that game. Three sets win the match. If both teams have won two sets, a tiebreaker game is played to 15 points. Teams switch sides after each game.

Sand volleyball has matches made up of only three sets or games. Games are played until the first team reaches 21 points, and if a tiebreaker game is necessary, it is played until 15 points.

In both versions, a game must be won by a minimum two-point margin.

Touches

The way the ball is touched or handled by players is different between the two types of games. Indoor volleyball allows players to block the ball without it counting as one of the three allowed hits for each team. Sand volleyball counts a block as one of the three hits allowed.

Indoor volleyball also allows open-hand tips, or dinks, which send the ball just slightly over the net, however sand volleyball does not allow these types of moves.

If you enjoy volleyball, then it probably doesn’t matter whether you play it indoors or outdoors. In fact you may find that you do prefer one way over the other, but just getting to play the game you love any time of year is a big benefit. Educating yourself about both versions of the sport will help your game-play, and hopefully your enjoyment of the sport as well.

3 Tips for Being a Leader on the Volleyball Court

Leadership is something all teams need for success, but it’s not always something easily defined or developed. We can’t say do this and do that and you’ll be a great leader for your volleyball team. Here are a few tips to help you move in that direction, though.

Tip #1: Be a model player

A leader need not be the best player on a team, but they do need to represent its ideals. This is mainly about attitude and effort. Leaders turn up on time and follow team rules – written and unwritten. They work at least as hard as everyone else. They don’t complain or whine, but instead get on with what needs to be done. Leaders don’t make excuses. They also respect the coach(es) and everyone else associated with the team. I could go on, but I think you probably get the idea.

All of this may sound like stuff that isn’t part of on-court leadership, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It is the foundation of being the person the other players look to when it’s competition time. A leader doesn’t just turn up for match day and have everyone follow them. They earn that right by what they do in training, at meetings, during strength & conditioning work – basically in every facet of being part of the team.

Tip #2: Communicate

It doesn’t take a loud voice and a constant stream of chatter to be a good leader, but it does take the ability to communicate with teammates. Talking is the most obvious example of this, and all leaders do need to be able to speak at the right time and in the right manner for the circumstances. Communication can just as importantly come from a look, a pat on the back, or a gesture, though. It’s about being connected with teammates and making sure everyone is on the same page.

Tip #3: Put the team first

You cannot be a good team leader and a prima donna at the same time. A strong leader is focused on the team’s objectives, not on their own. Even if they are the best player, a leader nevertheless keeps the focus on the team, not on their own performance. They don’t let their own success or failure individually impact how they interact with their teammates, knowing it’s the team’s success which is what’s important at the end of the day. This is perhaps the hardest part of on-court leadership as we all tend to get caught up in how we are playing, especially if we’re struggling. A good captain puts that aside for the sake of the team.

Think of the word respect and how someone earns it. That will take you a long way toward understanding what you need to do to be a good on-court leader for your volleyball team. Leadership starts with respect. Everything else builds from there.

Ways to Tell You Are Serving Correctly in Volleyball

Consistent, accurate serving is the objective of every volleyball player – from youth to Olympic team member. To reach that point, however, it’s important to know if you are serving correctly. Here are some ways to do that.

The first way to tell whether you are serving correctly is whether the ball is going where you want it to go. I know that sounds very simplistic, but the reality of things is that proper mechanics tends to result in high levels of accuracy. If you are consistently hitting your target then chances are pretty good you’ve got things right. That said, chances are you’re reading this article because you aren’t as accurate or powerful a server as you’d like, so let me provide you with some checkpoints you can use to get yourself on track.

Are you finishing your serve balanced? If not, there’s something wrong. Usually, it comes down to your toss. If you toss the ball too far to the left or right you’ll end up leaning in that direction to try to make proper ball contact. Either that or you’ll be serving the ball in that direction when you didn’t intend to do so. If you find your weight well onto your front toes, then you’ve tossed the ball too far forward, while having to arch your back and lean backwards means a toss behind your ideal contact point. All of this can be fixed by improving your toss.

Is the ball spinning when you want it to float, or floating when you want it to spin? That is a function of your ball contact. You need to make sure you’re stricking the right part of the ball in the correct way to get the desired effect.

Is the ball coming landing short or going too far? Distance in serving is all about the speed of your hand at contact. Swing your arm faster to hit the ball farther (notice I didn’t say swing harder). Swing your arm slower to hit the ball shorter. Make sure to keep your ball contact firm, though. No floppy wrist or mushy hand!

Does your shoulder hurt when you serve? If so, it probably means your arm swing is off in some fashion – assuming you don’t simply have an injury from something else, of course. This again could be related to ball toss, but it could also be a function of your mechanics. This might be hard to judge by yourself, though. You’ll likely want the help of a coach in evaluating your arm swing – or at least the use of video.

Which brings up perhaps the best way to gauge whether you are serving properly. Video yourself serving and compare it to video of someone who serves properly. There are many tools out there these days that allow for side-by-side analysis. This will let you see how your technique stacks up against the good server in the areas of body posture, arm preparation, toss, footwork, and follow-through.

Hopefully you have a coach who is keeping an eye on your serving technique and helping you correct things as needed. If not, though, the tips here should help you identify problems and put you on a path toward more effective serving.

Why Use Volleyball Shoes

There are specific reasons that you should use the right kind of shoes for the right sport. Today I’m going to talk about volleyball shoes in particular. Why are they important? What makes them different? Can you use a different type of shoe such as a basketball or running shoe for volleyball? These are questions that get asked a lot about different training shoes. I hope this article helps you understand a little about the difference in shoes.

I did some research on volleyball shoes and asked a few people some questions about their thoughts and feelings on the subject. They gave me their feedback, some really good information and also answered the questions that I had.

The first question I asked was simple. Why are shoes so important? Shoes are some of the most important equipment that you will use. You need to have shoes that have good arch support and keep the foot stable. I know from personal experience that poor support can cause pain in the feet, knees or even the lower back. You also need to make sure that the shoe fits properly so that your foot does not move or shift around inside of the shoe. Not choosing wisely can result in injury.

Next I asked what makes them different. The sport of volleyball puts stresses and wear and tear on certain points of the shoe. For example, the toe area is reinforced which is the first area to wear out on these shoes because of the way your foot drags after serving the ball. The ventilation is also important. Each shoe has been designed with a ventilation system to help keep your feet dry and cool during the game. This helps prevent chafing and reduces the chance of fungus growth like athletes foot. They also have specially designed cushioning in the sole of the shoe. It helps to reduce impact on the athlete’s body after running or jumping. The shoes also have a specially designed rubberized out-sole that helps with traction on the court. This helps the athlete to change directions faster and more easily. Finally the support and stability of the shoe is designed around the rigors of the sport.

The final question was can you use a different type of shoe such as a basketball or running shoe? The simple answer is yes. Those types of shoes will work, but they probably won’t last as long. Also they will not perform quite as well on the court. You have to remember that basketball shoes were developed for basketball and running shoes were developed for running. Although sometimes people feel more comfortable playing in shoes they are more familiar with, that is OK even if it was designed for other sports.

Volleyball Rules: Player Behavior

As a volleyball instructor, you need to display control by supplying your players a set of rules and requirements which they have to know and comply with. Setting down the law during the initial week will be crucial if you want to run a well-oiled machine. I have produced a summary of some tips i believe would be the essentials.

UNACCEPTABLE Behavior

1. Engaging in anything other than watching and cheering when players are on the bench. The players should not be chatting about Jersey Shore or their boyfriends. They need to be paying attention to the game.

2. Distracting a player that is attempting to play a ball. This is along the line of good sportsmanship. Do not let your players fall into this as you really do not want to unliked by other teams. You will quickly make a name for yourself.

3. Yelling or swearing in anger. Once again, sportsmanship. I had a player yell the “F” word during a tight match with lots of people watching. The most unfortunate aspect was it was so quiet because it was such an exciting play. An extremely uncomfortable instant no doubt.

4. Questioning or criticizing an official’s call. Almost nothing bugs me more than watching players ask for a call after every play. Do not allow your players to do that. Let them understand that that is your job.

5. Hurling or kicking the ball in anger. If you have ever coached boys, you realize what I am talking about. They really like to kick the ball as far as they can. Plus, isn’t this like the very first rule of volleyball you ever learned? That and rolling the ball under the net (I really like throwing it over to the person serving).

6. Talking to the officials. You definitely need to make certain everyone knows only the captain can talk to the officials. It really is not entertaining to receive a yellow card at a critical part of a match.

7. Negative cheers. Recall this one?: We want a pitcher not a belly itcher. None of that please.

8. Blaming teammates. Another thing I feel that I observe way too much. Every team has that one player that loves to look at the person who screwed up and say some thing. That is the coach’s job. Do not allow that to get beyond control.

9. Pouting following a bad play. In the event that this happens, just take the player out. This is not really going to benefit the team.

Here is a list of points to encourage:

1. Help teammates off the floor
2. Compliment teammates and opponents on great plays
3. Roll the ball under the net
4. Run to get an errant ball and bring back to the server or referee
5. Cheering at the conclusion of each point (win or lose the point)
6. Cheering from the sidelines (“Jenny’s on fire, Ooh, Ah”, “Keep it up Sara, keep it up”, “Here we go Red, here we go”)
7. Motivating player which makes an error (“Don’t worry, you’ll get it next time”)