Teaching Volleyball Skills
Focus on Skill Training

Teaching volleyball skills is a skill that coaches need to develop to be successful at coaching volleyball. The best way to teach volleyball skills is by focusing on skills training.

There's an optimal way to perform each skill in volleyball. There are many ways to be successful, but the easiest way is to learn is by focusing on the most efficient and easiest way to perform the skill. 

Just because it works doesn't mean it's a good idea.

For example, a goofy-footed spiker can spike the ball pretty good. However, if the spiker had the proper footwork, it would be easier to spike the ball better. Backwards steps will result in losing momentum for spiking. Poor footwork can also lead to injury. 

If you are going to teach how to perform skills, then you might as well teach the most efficient, safest and easiest way to do the skill. 

How to Teach Spiking - Teaching Volleyball Skills

For learning volleyball skills, it's important to teach using progressions. 


For the spike approach, what's important is the last two steps. At first, teach your players to focus on just the last two steps. For righties, it's right-left. For lefties, it's left-right. 

The first progression for spiking footwork would be to master the last two steps. Next, practice taking 3 steps. Next, take a four step approach. 


The hand contact is the most important part of learning to spike. First, practice what it feels like to contact the ball. You need to get a feel of what it's like to contact the ball correctly. For spiking at the net, you want to create topspin. You create topspin by contacting the ball with the hand in a curved like position. Practice putting spin on the ball. When you miss hit the ball, recognize what this feels like. When you have a good contact, remember this. Try to do this every time you spike. 

Approach to Spike. 

The next progression is to bring the footwork and spike together. Take an approach to spike a ball. This ball could be tossed or set by a partner. If you have a device such as a spike trainer that could hold the ball, this will make it easier for you to have successful repetitions spiking. As you get more comfortable spiking, make things more difficult by working hard to get in position to spike. You need to challenge your timing. You do this by having someone set you the ball and you then must read the set and get in position to spike. Practice spiking a ball that's tight to the net. Practice spiking a ball that's set further off the net. Work on adjusting your steps to get in position to successfully spike the ball. 

How to Teach Serving - Teaching Volleyball Skills

Serving is a lot like spiking. Here are the steps to teaching serving.

  • Stand with the ball in the non-hitting hand. Hitting hand is on the ball. The foot opposite the hitting hand is slightly forward.
  • Draw the hitting hand back (think of a bow and arrow movement). 
  • Toss the ball and hit the center of the ball. 

Beginners will often struggle because the toss is inconsistent. Also, if the ball is served into the net, the ball was tossed too far in front.

How to Teach Passing - Teaching Volleyball Skills

Passing is a difficult skill for beginners because the athlete needs to get in a position to deflect the ball off the arms to a target. This isn't really hand-eye coordination. This is more like arms-eye coordination.

Just like other skills, positioning for passing is important. Do drills that work to get into good position for passing. 

Here are some tips for teaching passing.

  • Teach athletes to start low and stay low when they pass. If the athlete stands straight up when they pass, they will have less control and it will be more difficult to adjust their position.
  • Do drills that avoid swinging the arms. Many beginners get into a bad habit of swinging. A good drill to help with this is passing the ball to yourself. The athlete will naturally avoid swinging in this drill. Also, pass to a wall. Have the athlete pass to the wall consecutively. Have them work to keep the ball going. Again, this is great for teaching the athlete to move the body to pass instead of swing the arms. 
  • Face the ball. When the ball is coming to the passer, the athlete should be facing the incoming ball. 
  • Angle the ball to the target. Use the arms platform to angle the ball. Angle the arms in such a way that the ball rebounds to the target. 
  • Use consistent steps to the ball. Have the athlete become comfortable using the same steps. Focus on the last two steps. For example, have the athletes finish with a right foot step each time they pass. By have a plan for how they step, this will make it easier for them to be consistent each time they get in position to pass.  

How to Teach Setting - Teaching Volleyball Skills

Here are the keys to setting a volleyball.

  • Symmetrical hand position.
  • Triangle finger position is a good position for a beginner.
  • The start position and end position should be the same. Maintain the same hand position throughout the movement. 
  • Finish the steps on the right foot. 

For setters, here are some tips for teaching how to set.

  • Always square up to the passer.
  • Take the ball high and keep it high.
  • Focus on hand and wrist action, and less elbow bend. Hands should be used more than arms. 
  • Make a quick movement on the ball as the ball comes in to your hands.
  • Always finish the setting movement by facing the outside target area.
  • The hand position should be the same for setting the ball outside as it is for setting the ball back.

How to Teach Blocking - Teaching Volleyball Skills

Here are some beginner tips for teaching blocking. 

  • Start in a position with knees bent and hands in front of the body. 
  • Be ready to move laterally. 
  • Focus on penetrating the net when you block. This means getting the hands over the net onto the opponents side. The more you penetrate, the more space you take up to prevent the ball from crossing. 
  • Angle your hands so the ball is deflected into the opponents court. 

How to Teach Digging - Teaching Volleyball Skills

Digging is much like passing. Stay low and be ready to move quickly. 

On defense, it's important to be ready to move quickly to run down a tip, but also you need to be ready to dig a hard spike. 

Practice time should be spent working to read and react to tipped balls. Also, spend time digging hard driven balls. At first, don't work on both of the skills at once. Just focus on one situation. 

For example, practice reading and moving to cover a tip. Practice this situation for awhile.

Next, work on digging hard driven balls.

Each of those two situations are different skills. 

When covering a tip, you need to move quickly forward to get to the ball. To do this, you need to have weight on the balls of the feet. If you are back on your heels it will be tough to move to get to the ball. 

So, always start first on the balls of the feet then watch and read the hitter. When you can see the ball is going to be hit hard, you may then need to lean back to absorb the impact. 

As you get more comfortable, practice both situations and make the drill unpredictable. Work to read the play and work hard to get in position to dig.

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