Volleyball requires speed, agility, and teamwork. Whether you’re an experienced or inexperienced player, good players know that there’s always room for improvement. Learning which areas of your game could use a little work can help you develop as a player, improving your skills, teamwork, and all-around fitness.
Improving Your Skills
- Practice your serving pitch. For each type of serve, toss the ball to your hitting hand and aim for the lower part of the ball. Try hitting the ball not with your palm but with the horseshoe part of your hand for a more accurate serve. Make sure you have positioned yourself and aimed correctly or the ball will go haywire.
- Experiment with force. What’s too much? What’s too little? Soon enough your muscles will remember what works and you’ll be able to aim the ball like a bullet out of a gun.
- Develop the proper form to pass. Hold your arms straight in front of you and put one palm inside the other, using the space between your elbows and wrists to guide the ball. Cup one hand and place your other hand on top of the cupped palm. Bring your thumbs together so that they face out and away from you, but do not cross your thumbs.
- When you bump, you want the ball to hit the inside part of your forearm. This will be more sensitive at first, but it allows you to have a flat, even surface for the ball to bounce off. Practice passing back and forth with a partner, trying to put the ball in the same place every time you pass. You don’t even need a net.
- Place your hands above your head so that when you look up, your index fingers and thumbs create a triangle shape (without your hands touching). When you are attempting a set, you should be attempting to center the ball in this triangle and using only the pads of your fingers to push the ball back up.
- Try shrugging your shoulders while bending your arms at a slant during your sets and bumps. If you’re moving from your elbows, chances are that you aren’t going to get maximum power. When you set, it also helps if you form your hands into a diamond and look through as you’re hitting the ball.
- Practice hits with one teammate, letting one player pass, the partner set it back, so the first may hit it down to the partner, who digs it up. Repeat this process in the opposite rotation. After a few rounds, you’ll be developing the fundamental skills and improving significantly.
- The best blocking drill involves three people and a net, letting other players practice shooting simultaneously. Let one teammate set, one hit, and one block. Let the two offensive players practice setting and shooting and the other player attempt to jump as high as possible and block.
- If you don’t have a net, practice blocking by working on your vertical leap. Practice jumping effectively and improving your power and the height in your jumps.
Developing Your Teamwork
2. Hustle. Go after every ball, even if you don’t think that you can get it. Go for every ball like it’s your last hit, giving it your all each and every time you’re on the court. If you’re in it 110%, everyone else will feel the pressure, too. Soon enough, your entire team will be firing on all cylinders3. Communicate with your teammates. The game of volleyball relies on good communication and the best team on the court is usually the team talking the most. Call “got” or “mine” really loud to avoid confusion between you and your teammates. Yell whether the ball is in or out. If you see a tip coming let your team know. Your whole squad will benefit from just one person talking.
4. Be coachable. Good volleyball players know that they always need to get better. Learning to take constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement is an important part of improving your play, whether you’re on a volleyball team or playing informally with friends. If someone, a coach or a teammate, makes a suggestion, listen openly and try to integrate new ideas into your practice routine. Make it a goal to get better.5. Be a mentally tenacious player. If you hit a ball out or shank a pass, try to stay positive. Just move on and focus on the next serve. Volleyball is a mental sport and by getting down, you will greatly impact your game in a negative way. Stay focused and intent on winning. Find the zone and stay there. When your teammates see you playing with intensity and poise, it’ll rub off on everyone and improve the team as a group.6. Encourage your teammates. High-fives, vocal encouragement, and positive vibes should always be coming from good players. Whether you’re on the court or on the bench, always be cheering your team on and focused in with the game.Be alert, even if you are winning with a 10-point lead, the game could easily turn around with a good server. Focus on seeing a game through till the end and not changing your focus until the job is done.Be a good sportsperson. Know that even if you don’t win, you can always play another game and hit the ball twice as hard next time. Your teammates will appreciate your good attitude, regardless of your performance.
Improving Your Fitness
- Practice wind sprints and side-to-side shuffle runs to improve your ability to move around the court quickly and effectively. Learn to be in the right place at the right time.
- Practice with a jump rope. This is one of the most amazing tools for general fitness, as it increases endurance, and helps your jumping muscles. Look up some good jump rope routines.
- Try wall sits. If you “sit on a wall” then your muscles in your thighs will get strong. You need strong thighs in volleyball because you need to squat down a little bit to show that you are down and ready.
- Try a circuit-training regimen, if you’re looking for a good all-around fitness workout that will benefit your volleyball skills. This can be a good way to incorporate aerobic exercise, strength-training, and stamina-building workout skills, improving you as a player.