Footwork in Volleyball

Likely the Most Important Skill You Aren't Training

When trying to improve footwork in volleyball, I think most people are focusing on stuff like... what are the best quickness drills or what's the best speed training to make me faster and more athletic? 

(Be sure to watch the videos below)

Don't get me wrong... drills that focus on speed, agility, etc are definitely important and necessary. There's no question about that. But when I talk specifically about footwork in volleyball, I'm referring to the ideal footwork patterns to execute successful plays

For example, there are specific footwork patterns that are ideal for getting in position to set. 

I like to use the setter position as an example because I see so many setters that don't seem to care about how they move to the ball!

Coaches tell them to get there faster and yet ignore how sloppy their movement patterns are. 

I see so many setters getting stressed out over their inconsistent sets. And most don't really know why they are setting the ball all over the place.

Very often the reason they are struggling is because they struggle to be consistent at getting into the correct setting position.

And the ability to consistently get into the correct setting position is all about what the feet are doing. Most don't understand this fact.

Please, please, do not ignore what you're doing with your feet.

Also, focus on the proper setter footwork in volleyball and the setter will become quicker and more agile because their movement is more efficient. The key here is to have pre-planned movement patterns.

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Footwork for Volleyball Players

The setter practices these different patterns over and over again to the point to where they don't need to think about how to step. And there are different movement patterns depending on the situation. For example, when the pass is far off the net, the movement pattern will be different than for a ball that's passed to zone 2. 

And then the same goes for hitting. A hitter must learn the footwork patterns for approaching to hit.

A hitter that has trained the same movement over and over again will have a big advantage over the hitters that haven't. 

Using a consistent approach will result in quicker movement and a higher jump. This is because the hitter will be moving more efficiently to the ball.  

And then there are also specific movement patterns for skills such as blocking, passing, and defense.

How to Train Footwork in Volleyball

So, when you work on improving your footwork, it's important to understand that you don't have to execute the skill perfectly every single time. Volleyball is very chaotic. In your training, start easier and gradually work to make things more difficult.  

So, the goal with your training should be to do your best to prepare for the possible situations that could occur. 

For example, as a setter, they'll be times when you can't get to a poorly passed ball while using the proper footwork for that ball. Most of the time you'll have to adjust your steps on the fly.

Or for hitting, maybe the set is much lower than you expected and you must go faster and you end up not using your arms to jump. 

It's hard to be good at volleyball because it's both a technical and chaotic sport.

Training to develop consistent footwork patterns is technical while focusing on these footwork patterns within game-like situations is chaotic.

This is basically the difference between the terms hard and soft skills.

So the bottom line: You need to practice the footwork for each situation. And through practice, you will become more comfortable and efficient moving to the ball. This results in the ability to make better decisions which allows you to get in a better position to make the play.

This way of thinking will give you a big advantage over players that aren't training for volleyball this way. 

Below are some videos I created recently that are specific to training footwork in volleyball. These videos are on my youtube channel. So, be sure to subscribe and share this page with your volleyball friends!

Footwork for Hitting

Footwork for Blocking 

Footwork for Setting