Monthly Archives: April 2011
A few weeks ago in a tournament my assistant coach was giving me a few ideas that he had. Like most ideas Head coaches receive, I said, let me try my idea first and if my idea doesn’t work as planned, we will try yours. I had very little intention on actually implementing his idea as I felt it held little merit and was something I had tried before in the off-season during club volleyball.
After thinking about his idea, I decided, “I’ll give his idea a try first, then we’ll know it doesn’t work and we can get back to my game plan.” So instead of waiting I immediately implemented his line-up change and we played. As you probably derived by now, his game plan actually worked!
So what is my point?
After years of coaching and learning and studying the sport, my assumptions and coaching “gut feeling” was wrong. If you haven’t looked into the competitive cauldron yet, this is just another reason why I use it. Unfortunately in this case, there were a few intangibles that came into play that couldn’t be tracked by statistical measures.
After implementing the new line-up for the remainder of that tournament, we did well. (5th Place) The next Tuesday and Thursday we came out with the same line-up and on Thursday we won the biggest game of our season yet. The team was ranked top 3 teams by all the local authorities and we ended beating them in 4 sets, winning each set by an average of 7 points.
Upcoming this Tuesday we have an even bigger game against the top team in state. With our new line-up in place, we have the opportunity to compete and possible even win the match! With our old line-up we lost to them in 3 sets, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23.
The road this year hasn’t been as glorious as I had previously supposed. Teams that were supposed to be average have become top teams and teams that began as the best are now mediocre.
The road to a state championship isn’t necessarily a straight path. Changes are necessary along the way and sometimes, just sometimes an assistant coach can show you the path to head down.
State playoffs begin in 2 weeks! The end of the fairytale story is near. The future is unclear, the goal was stated prior to the season. The game is still the same, first to twenty-five wins!
See you on the court!
1) Approach in the Direction of the Attack
When attacking a volleyball, moving in the direction of where you are going to attack will bring significant increases in your attacking speed. Many athletes line up on the outside and then run right down the side line to attack the volleyball. This is perfect if you are planning on attacking down the line. If you were planning to attack angle, it would be ideal to approach angle. (This is assuming you are only trying to hit harder)
2) Use Your Core to Activate Your Whole Body
The ab crunch while attacking the volleyball is a thing of the past. Using your core to hit a volleyball is the future. By using your torso to induce rotation, you can engage more muscles and utilize your body’s full potential!
3) Arm Swing
In order to hit harder, you need to hit faster! You don’t need to work on your muscles and get big “hitting muscles”; rather you need to work on moving your arm fast! A simple exercise that I tell athletes to do is that every time they drop something, try and catch it before it hits the ground. If you don’t drop things often, grab a pencil and drop it. Wait as long as you can before chasing the pencil and trying to catch it. If you want, add a friend and have them drop it and you try and catch it.
4) Whip of the wrist
While we don’t push the wrist snap for top spin or getting the ball to drop anymore, we do believe that it is part of the “whip” of your arm. Just like when a whip cracks, the hand is the last piece of the whip that snaps and gives it some extra speed. The wrist snap is something that naturally occurs when the rest of the arm swing is in sync.
5) How much you fall…
Do higher jumpers hit higher? Not always in the lower levels. The more you fall after the peak of your jump, the greater speed that transfers to the downward velocity of your attack.
6) Mass of your hand
Some people have this and some people do not. As a smaller player, when I slap hands with the bigger guys, I notice how much heavier their hand is than mine. This added mass gives them an advantage when it comes to hitting hard.
7) How hard is your hand?
It is a delicate process to make your hand firm and hard while attacking, while at the same time keeping it loose enough to be able to whip your arm and wrist around, but its necessary. The harder your hand is the more force from all of the above aspects you can put into the ball.
8) Contacting the ball in the center
If I contact 100% in the center of the ball, then 100% of the velocity I hit the ball with gets transferred to the volleyball. If I miss the ball even slightly, I lose a percentage of that transfer.
One thing that all of these have in common is that they require practice. As GREAT volleyball players develop, they all begin to do these things and become better and better at them as time goes on. Some things in volleyball you will be able to change and some you cannot change, the important part is understanding what you can change and working from there.