Movements in Volleyball
Footwork for Executing Skills

Movements in volleyball help you get to the ball to make the play. Learning how to move your feet is important for success in volleyball. You also need to learn hand-eye coordination for skills such as blocking, passing, hitting, serving and setting. 

Footwork is a critical skill in volleyball that is often overlooked. To execute skills successfully, you must get to the correct position to make the play. The footwork is essential. Volleyball players need to practice the footwork patterns for each skill so they are able to get to where they need to be quickly and efficiently. 

Making plays comes down to split-second movements. If you are just a fraction of second late to dig a ball for example, you will struggle to make a good dig. 

Movements to Pass

Footwork. The best passers are good with their feet. If you move your feet well, it will be easy for you to get in position to pass. 

Here are some tips for passing footwork.

  • Stay on the balls of your feet. You don't want to be back on your heels. If you are on your heels, you will need to take time to get on your toes to start to take a quick step in the direction you need to move to get to the ball. 
  • Stay low. You don't want to stand straight up. Knees should be bent. As the server is tossing the ball to serve, be in a low position with weight on the balls of your feet. 
  • Do a pre-hop. If you take a hop or step as the ball is about to be sent over the net, you are in a good position to take your first step. 
  • Take a step back. In serve receive, if your first steps are back away from the server, then you are in good position to move backwards to pass the deep serve. It's much easier to move back and then change directions to come forward than it is to step forward than have to move back. You don't want to make the mistake of coming forward then have to change directions to move back. 

Ball/Arm Coordination. Volleyball is a very unique sport in that you need an odd skill of being coordinated to pass a ball off the forearms. This arm/eye coordination is a skill that most people find difficult to develop. 

In combination with moving the feet to get to a good position, you need to angle the arms so the ball deflects off the arms in such a way that's deflected to the target area you want the ball to go to. 

Here are some tips to help with arm and body movement when passing. 

  • Get the platform out early. Stay low and get the passing platform out long before the ball arrives. 
  • Face where the ball is coming from. Don't make the mistake of trying to face where you are passing. You want to face the ball. Face the ball and angle the ball to the target. 
  • Take the ball inline when possible. If you can move your feet and get in position in time to take the ball inline, then do it. If it's too difficult to get in position to take the ball inline, then take the ball off line. 
  • Practice passing the ball inline and also offline. You won't be able to take every ball inline. There will always be situations where the ball must be taken offline. Practice for both situations. 

Spike - Movements in Volleyball

A lot of people say spiking a volleyball is one of the most difficult skills in all of sports. Getting to the correct position to spike can be very challenging. Footwork for spiking is important because good footwork will help you get to where you need to be quickly. 

You don't want to be stumbling as you approach. The best spikers have developed consistent footwork. You want consistent steps to the ball. 

Here are tips for developing consistent spiking footwork 

  • Use the same last two steps every time you approach. If you are right handed, finish right-left. If you are left handed, finish left-right. 
  • Practice either a 3 step or 4 step approach. Get comfortable with taking multiple steps before you approach to spike. Always remember to get the last two steps correct.
  • Take a bigger step to the spot you need to plant to jump. You need to anticipate where you need to plant to jump. As you read the ball, take a big step to the spot you need to plant to jump. 
  • Bring the arms back as you plant to jump. The arms are an important part of jumping high and getting the arms in the correct position for starting to spike. 
  • Jump straight up. There will be some forward momentum, but focus mostly on jumping straight up.

Here are tips for the arm movement. 

  • Bring both arms up. As you are jumping up, bring both arms up in the air. 
  • Open up to the ball. The shoulders should be opening up as you draw your spiking hand back. Think of it like drawing an arrow. Think of it as a "bow and arrow" movement. 
  • Elbow comes forward followed by the hand. If you get the elbow coming first, you will have an easier time having a vertical arm when contacting the ball. 
  • Clawlike action on the ball. The hand should be curved when contacting the ball. You want a clawlike position in order to create topspin. 

Blocking - Movements in Volleyball

Stepping laterally along with jumping straight up are the primary movements for blocking. 

When blocking with a teammate, it can be important to move in sync. 

To be good at blocking, timing is critical. Learn the footwork for blocking and practice this skill to get good at timing. 

Setting - Movements in Volleyball

Just like other skills, you need to learn the footwork for setting. The setter needs quick feet to get in position to set. The setter should be in a low athletic position ready to move any direction. 

The setter needs to react quickly to the ball being passed. 

The setter should develop footwork patterns that will help to move efficiently to the ball. The setter can improve quickness just by using consistent foot movements. 

Defense - Movements in Volleyball

For playing defense, the ball will come quick and the defensive player will need to move and react quickly. Staying low and moving the feet quickly will allow the defensive player to get in position fast. 

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Volleyball Movement Skills | How to Move Faster