How to Hit a Volleyball
Techniques for the Spike Attack

Learning how to hit a volleyball is not only important for success, but also a ton of fun. 

Volleyball skills for attacking consists of 4 parts...

1. The approach
The purpose of the approach is to position your body in the air ready to hit.

2. The take-off
Develop volleyball skills to quickly get off the ground using both legs to jump. The shorter the ground contact time is on the last two steps of the approach the more elastic energy you can utilize for exploding high.

3. The mid-air contact
You want to get positioned with your arm stretched upward about six inches behind the ball, then contact the ball at your highest point in the jump.

4. The landing
Cushion your landing by landing on the balls of your feet with your knees bent. 

How to Hit a Volleyball

Approach Fast, Jump High, and Attack the Ball.

How to Hit a Volleyball for the 4 Step Approach

This is the conventional 4 step approach jump for a right handed hitter.

the order of steps are...


Right step
The first step is a small step with the right foot. This step gets you moving.

Left step
The second step is a bigger and quicker step. You should take this step towards where you think the ball is being set.

Big right step and quick left
This right step should be taken to place you at the best take-off spot. The left step is taken quickly to help your body transfer your momentum into an explosive jump.

Take off spot
Where you jump from the ground is critical to contacting the ball high and in front of the body.

Swinging arms back
Attackers should develop the ability to swing their arms down and back as they approach. Attackers should swing their arms back as they are taking their big right step and then bring them up in front of their body as they are jumping.

How to Hit a Volleyball for the 3 Step Approach

the order of steps are...


The 3 step approach and 4 step approach are basically the same. The only difference is the 3 step approach doesn't have the extra step to help guide you in the right direction. So it may be best to use the 4 step approach if you have a great distance to travel when hitting.

Middle hitters and other attackers that hit quick sets often use 3 step approaches. The placement for quick sets are more consistent and easier for a hitter to adjust their approaches to.

Fundamentals of How to Hit a Volleyball

  1. Your arms and hands should be coming up in front of your body as you are jumping.

  2. Continue to bring your hands up above your head as you are flying through the air. If you drop either arm you will lose vertical momentum and height.

  3. With both arms up, bring your hitting hand back by bending at the elbow.

  4. Swing your arm forward making contact with the ball with your arm fully extended.

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How to Hit a Volleyball

How to Hit a Volleyball for Effective Attacks

You will often come up against tall players that have developed really good blocking skills. It is to your advantage to develop a variety of volleyball skills for hitting.

Tipping over the block
If the defense of the opposing team position themselves well for digging your hard driven spikes, tipping the ball over, around, or through blockers may be a good option.

Hitting off speed shots
When hitting off speed shots, the arm swing is slower and you have more control of the ball.

When approaching to hit an off speed shot, the approach should look the same as if you are going to hit hard.

The better you are able to approach the same way each time you hit, the harder it will be for your opponents to defend because they will be unsure of what's coming. The more volleyball skills for shots you learn and perfect, the better hitter you can become.

Tipping a Volleyball

Tooling the block
Players can develop volleyball skills for tooling or hitting off blockers hands and arms.

Right handed hitters, attacking on the strong side...

  1. To tool blockers inside hand, finish your arm swing with your thumb pointed up.

  2. To tool the outside hand, finish with your thumb pointed down.

Do the opposite if you are hitting left handed.

This hand action makes it more difficult for blockers to block and good defensive players to make a play on the deflected ball.

When tooling the block, it's usually best to hit off the blockers outside hand or arm because this is the most vulnerable area of the block.

How to Hit a Volleyball Out of the Back Court

The back row attacker must jump to hit from beyond the attack line. Contact may be made with the ball in front of the attack line as long as the back court attacker is still in the air or part of the ball is below the top of the net.

Broad jumping is very effective for back row attackers because a broad jump enables them to fly through the air contacting the ball closer to the net.

Possessing great volleyball skills for attacking from the back court can often be an effective way to score because...

  1. It gives a setter another attacking option.
  2. It is often a more difficult hit to block because it's harder to time the jump to block.
  3. Opposing blockers may jump with the front row attackers which may leave more areas open for attacking.

How to Hit a Volleyball with a Slide Attack

The slide approach (single leg take-off) allows an attacker to jump off one foot and hit the ball while flying through the air.

Four parts to the slide approach...

  1. chase the ball

  2. line up with the ball on your hitting shoulder

  3. jump off your left foot (if you're right handed)

  4. drift through the air as you make contact with the ball
Spiking a Volleyball

Two methods for a slide approach…...

  1. Approach at a 45 degree angle to the setter or antennae. The footwork is similar to performing a lay up in basketball.

  2. Approach running parallel to the net. If you go parallel the set must be quicker and more accurate because you are closer to the net.

Volleyball skills for hitting slides can be very effective because it's often much easier to adjust your steps and timing than taking an approach jump off two feet.

A slide attack is difficult to defend because…...

  1. The attacker can hit the ball at various heights and speeds.

  2. It can be difficult to tell where the hitter is going to be set.

  3. The hitter can run parallel to the net when approaching which makes it more difficult for blockers and defenders to get in the best position to make a play.

  4. Blockers may drift in the direction the hitter is flying which tends to open up holes in the block.

It is to your advantage to develop a wide range of hitting strategies.

Hitting Volleyball Skills Related Pages

Hitting Drills


Attacking Terms

Shoulder Warm Up Drills
› How to Hit a Volleyball