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Choose a skill: Passing Setting Hitting

Hitting: The Approach

After you go up to block and the ball either goes around you or over your head, what is the next thing you do. If you're like some players you stand at the net and wait for the setter to set you. What you should do is turn, find the ball and then retreat to the ten foot line to set up for your attack approach. I call this "circling". After the block, you begin a large circle that brings you back to the blocking position after you complete your attack.


So how does one properly approach the ball to attack it. Most hitters use a three step approach. Stand at the ten foot line and take one step back. With your right foot slightly behind your left, the approach is right, left, hop, leap. After the right left step, as your left foot touches the ground, push with your left foot so that you hop to the point at which you will leave the ground. At the end of the hop, land with your right foot first and slightly behind your left foot. Then push off with both feet and leap into the air. Along with the footwork you also need to swing your arms and lift with your upper body. To do this, as you plant both feet at the end of the hop, swing both arms back behind you with your palms facing the sky. Then as you leap, swing both arms forward and up, thus lifting with your upper body.

Having done both of these tasks, all you have to do now is contact the ball. But where is the ball? Ideally it should be one ball length in front of you. It should not be directly above you and it definitely should not be behind you. So what do I do if the ball is above me? Only you can fix this and the only way you can fix this is to RECOGNIZE that the ball you just hit was above you and not in front of you. If you do not recognize this you will never fix it. Once you are aware of the fact the ball is above you when you are hitting it, you can adjust your approach and consciously leave the ground before you get to the ball.

Ok so I tried everything you said and I tripped and fell. Have you heard the GirlHit term, muscle memory? My body just does this, I no longer think about what I'm doing. Until you've done this a couple of thousand times (seriously!!) you may feel a little awkward. The best place I've found to practice is the doorway in my kitchen (when my wife is not around). I stand back from the doorway, take my three step approach, leap and swing at the top of the doorway (if there is a door make sure its open).

Do all this, give it some time, and by next season at the very least you will be doing roll shots over the net.

Hitting: The Swing


Did you read the "approach" instruction above? Did you give it a try? Did you realize that not only do you have to get to the ball but you have to hit it too? To learn how to swing and to perfect the swing once you've learned it, you have to hit a few balls into the net. This is one of my favorite drills. I probably hit close to two hundred balls into the net each weekend (this is not counting the ones when I'm playing).

Stand about eight feet from the net. With both hands hold the ball in front of your face. Toss the ball straight up about six feet into the air with both GrassHit hands. If the ball is tossed straight up it should be in front of you. As you toss the ball with both hands, leave your left hand above your head. With your right hand near your ear, reach as high as you can and contact the ball. Contact the ball with your hand right below the finger line. Now the most important thing! The swing is now only half complete, it does not stop when you contact the ball. Drive your hand through the ball and continue your arm swing so that you finish with your arm and hand on the right side of your body and your fingers pointing to the ground. Pick the ball up and repeat. Repeat this a lot of times!

By repeating this drill you will build arm strength and coordination. This will enable you to hit the ball to where you want.

Give this some thought. At High School and College volleyball camps they teach the approach and swing with two tennis balls. The hitter holds a tennis ball in each hand. As the hitter leaps into the air, they reach over the net with their left hand and drop the tennis ball in their left hand over the net. Then they toss the ball in their right hand over the net. This is the same motion described above:

Tossing the ball with your left hand and leaving it raised, is just like dropping the tennis ball over the net. Reaching as high as you can with your right hand and contacting the ball is just like tossing the tennis ball over the net.

Finally, this IS NOT EASY! It takes time and effort on your part. The more effort one puts into it, the less time it will take to perfect. This last tip should help the most! During the learning process (this summer and next) have the setter set you about five to six feet off the net. This should take the net out of the process. You will not have to concern yourself with hitting the net or going under the net. You can just focus on hitting the ball over the net to an open area of the court.

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