Last week we talked about advanced volleyball plays from a setter’s perspective; this week we’ll look at the same plays from a hitter’s point of view.
Please review last week’s post for a basic overview of these plays, and most important the prerequisite for attempting these plays. And now, on to the hitting info:
Middle hitters sometimes think that a quick set will be super easy to run because all they have to do is charge right up next to the setter and jump. Or, even worse, that they can just dash up to the same spot at the net every time. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.
Hitter’s timing is vital when running all types of quick attacks, and this is no exception. The middle hitter must be jumping as the ball in entering the setter’s hands so that s/he can attack the set on its way up rather than on its way down. This speeds up the attack and can help prevent the attack from being blocked.
When running a quick, it’s also crucial not to overrun the setter and to keep your shoulders open to the setter. You overrun the setter when your approach carries you all the way past them; if you’d have to look over your shoulder to find the setter, you’ve probably gone too far. The image on the right shows good positioning of the hitter; this is a big issue and a common problem for hitters, so I’ll be devoting a separate post to it soon.
The timing of a slide depends heavily on the height and distance of the slide set that you’re hitting. For the shorter, faster slides you’ll need to leave only a few seconds later than you would on a quick set. Medium and long slides are set higher and give you more time, but they’re still not as high as an outside set.
Slide approaches are also unique in that hitters take off on one foot (the left for right-handed hitters) rather than two. This technique is useful because it allows you to turn your body back toward the court as you swing, giving you a better chance of hitting the ball inside the court.
The most useful thing you can do as a hitter when executing this type of play is to be vocal. Let your setter know where you are, and you’ll have a better chance of getting an awesome set.
As with the quick set, there’s a lot more detail that we can cover when it comes to hitting a slide, so keep your eyes out for a more detailed post on this attack coming soon.
These are probably the most straight forward attacks that we’re covering today, at least in terms of approach. You’ll use the standard left-right-left footwork (check out this post if you’re not sure what that is), so the biggest change here is the timing.
You have to be in the air, more specifically on your way up, when the ball is in the setter’s hands. This is the only way that the setter will be able to “shoot” the ball into your waiting hand for you to attack, but it’s a difficult skill to master.
Most hitters leave too early and are coming down or have already landed by the time the setter gets the ball. It’s also hard for many hitters to trust their setter enough to start an approach without a set to watch. Communicate carefully with your setter as you start practicing this skill so that you’re both in sync when it comes to timing.
And make sure that your priority is to get the ball over. In case the set is poor or your timing is off, you still want to make the effort to keep the ball in play whenever possible.
Have fun learning these plays — if done properly they can be an amazing addition to your offense!