Volleyball hitting technique is critical to your success at spiking a volleyball.
What is a volleyball spike?
A spike in volleyball is when a volleyball player takes an approach to the ball and jumps up and hit's the ball toward the opponent's court. The goal for spiking is to hit the ball in such a way that it's difficult for the opponent to make a successful play on the ball.
Good attempts at spiking will lead to scoring points.
The hitter can score by spiking the ball off the blocker's hands or arms, the ball ends up going out of play. When the ball get's deflected out of bounds, the spiking team scores a point. Points can also be scored by a defender misplaying a spiked ball, such as catching and throwing the ball.
When the defender makes an unsuccessful attempt at digging the spike, the result is a point for the spiking team. The other way to score with a a spike is by spiking the ball down into the opponents court. When the ball lands inside the court boundary lines, the result is point for the spiking team.
Here are 4 drills to help a beginner learn how to spike a volleyball correctly.
The most important part of the volleyball hitting technique is the contact. To control the ball, you need to create a good contact on the ball. The claw technique is when you make your hand in the shape of a claw. Focus on clawing the ball to create topspin.
Claw drill. Stand holding the ball and focus on hitting the ball underhand to yourself continuously. Focus on creating spin. Make your hand into a claw-like position to create topspin. Focus on wrapping your hand over the ball.
Claw the ball to a partner or wall drill. Toss the ball to yourself and spike the ball to a partner or wall. Focus on creating the claw hand position as you contact the ball. Focus on creating topspin. This spin is what you want to create when you spike the ball.
After you learn to create a good contact, the next thing to focus on is learning the correct footwork for approaching to spike.
Positioning is critical to your success. Proper footwork will help you get into the correct position to spike. If you are right-handed, the last two steps are right-left. If you are left-handed, the last two steps are left-right.
Spike approach drill. Practice taking a three step approach. Left-right-left for right-handers. Right-left-right for left-handers. On the second step, swing the arms back and down. The arms should be relaxed. Focus on timing the arms so that after you plant and start to jump up, you are bringing your arms forward and up. Focus on jump up off both feet.
Spike trainer drill. Use a spike training device to hit the ball. If you don't have a device available, have a partner hold the ball high and spike the ball out of the hands. The goal is to get you to reach high when you spike. You want to be jumping as high as you can and have a vertical arm when contacting the ball.
Partner toss and spike drill. Have a partner toss the ball so you can take an approach and spike the ball. If you don't have a partner available, you can also do this by self-tossing. This is much like jump serving. Focus on taking the correct steps and contacting the ball correctly.
Partner set and spike drill. Toss the ball to your partner and have them set the ball to you so you can practicing taking an approach and spiking the ball. Hopefully by now you have developed a consistent approach and understand what it feels like to contact the ball correctly. The work now is to read the set and anticipate how to get to the ball. Timing is challenging in the beginning, but with practice your timing will improve.
Game like spiking drill. Have your partner set the ball off a pass. Focus on the setter moving to the ball to help you anticipate where the ball will be set. To make the drill more challenging, have your partner toss the ball to you so you can pass. You pass the ball, then get to the correct spot to start your approach. This sequence will teach you how to adjust your steps and focus on working hard to time the approach to spike.
Learning to time your spike can be challenging. To improving timing, you need to improve at anticipating. You need to watch the setter and anticipate where the ball will be set.
Be aware of the situation. For example, if the ball is passed tight to the net, the set will likely be tighter to the net. If you can see the setter is going to have to make a really athletic play on the ball, then you shouldn't expect a perfect set.
Know your setter's tendencies. In certain situations, the setter will set tighter to the net. In other situations, the setter will set the ball farther off the net. Know the tendencies so you can be prepared and anticipate what set you will get.
A common mistake for timing the set is approaching too soon and approaching too slow.
If you wait longer, you can anticipate better. The longer you wait, the better your judgement will be.
So, focus on waiting and then approaching fast. Wait so you can make a good judgement, then approach fast to the spot you need to plant and jump to spike.
To be successful at spiking, you need to learn how to hit the ball hard. You also need to learn how to hit off-speed shots. Having different options for how you spike will make it more difficult for the opponent to read and anticipate.
Develop a hard driven spike. Make it clear to everyone that you can hit the ball hard. Once you've established that you can hit the ball hard, you can now get your opponent caught on their heels and mix in off-speed shots such as an open-hand tip to the middle of the court. Combinations of hard hits and off-speed shots will help you become a dominant spiker.
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