Volleyball hitting techniques are often the hardest skills to master when it comes to learning beach volleyball. Consistent approach, armswing, vision, and spiking with deception are keys to successful hitting on the beach.
1. Consistent Approach
One characteristic of a great beach hitter is the ability to consistently approach hard every time, making your opponent think you are going to hit hard every single time you approach. If you don't approach hard, the defense will go into scramble mode and get ready to anticipate a shot instead of a hard hit.
The key is to freeze the defense with your approach and armswing. Every approach and armswing should look exactly like the previous one.
Any deviation in your approach or armswing sends clues to the defenders about what you're going to do.
It's only at the very last second when you contact the ball that the defense can tell what you are doing. By this time, it's too late for the defense to react.
A Consistent Approach and Armswing Leads to Success
Another key point: Remember to jump to maximum height or near maximum height every time you approach. This is very important in convincing the defense you're going to swing hard.
2. Hitting Options
You want to develop an array of volleyball hitting options. The more options you use, the less predictable a hitter you'll be.
Also, each opponent you face will have unique strengths and weaknesses. If you have many hitting options, you can concentrate on using specific hits against certain teams.
Jump to Maximum Height to Help Disguise Your Shots
The difference between hitting "line" and hitting "angle"...
Hitting line" basically means the ball travels parallel to the sideline.
if the left side hitter hits line, the ball usually travels outside the
blocker or over the blocker to zone 1 near the sideline. If the left
side hitter hits the ball "angle", this usually means the ball travels
inside the blocker or over the blocker to zone 5 or zone 4.
"Angle" or "cross court" is usually the safer hit because most hitters have an easier time keeping the ball in bounds when hitting cross court.
The best hitters can comfortably use any of these 7 options depending on what the circumstances call for.
Vision basically means being able to "see the court". When you're shooting the ball, if you can see the behind-the-block defender, it's then just a matter of placing the ball where the defender isn't.
If you decide to hit the ball hard, you must see the block and drive the ball away from the blocker.
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See the "Court" or the "Block"
Also, you need to be prepared for when the blocker decides to pull off
the net and play defense instead of
attempting to block. If the
blocker decides to pull, and you're able to recognize this happening,
you can drive the ball down the middle or make the pulling
blocker try to dig the ball.
Very few players can dig the hard driven ball while pulling off the net, especially if they have to reach to make the play.
Being able to "read" the play is one of the most difficult skills to develop in doubles volleyball.
Many players wail away at the ball and just hope they don't get dug. Developing good court vision eliminates this risk.
The key to successful off-speed shots is making the behind-the-block defender believe you are going to hit the ball hard. The belief freezes the defender just long enough for the shot to be successful.
Be Deceptive when Spiking
Also, there will be situations where you won't be able to hit the ball
hard. In these circumstances, the defender is only thinking about
running down your shots. Therefore, you must be deceptive.
For example, you can make it look like you're going to hit the ball angle, then at the last second hit down the line.
It is in these situations that having an arsenal of shots that you can pick from will allow you to sideout comfortably, even in difficult situations.
The following summarizes the key points to smarter beach volleyball hitting...