How to Play Volleyball
Tip Number One: Passing
The volleyball gets served with an easy hit. It sails cleanly over the net, where the libero is waiting. Posed in a squat, with hands open, her eyes watch the ball, judging the speed and the placement. At the perfect timing, she scoops the ball up with her arms and passes it neatly to the setter.
A pass looks incredibly easy, but to the new player, it's incredibly hard. How should I hold my hands? Where should my arms be? How straight do they need to be for the perfect pass?
The first thing I'm going to say is that passing looks different for different people. There isn't this one way that everyone has to learn. You just need to find that good spot that will put that ball exactly where you want it.
First you need to start with your platform. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees so that you're in a squat. Go down far enough that you can reach down with your fingers and touch the ground. When you're getting ready to receive the ball, avoid keeping your hands on your knees. That gives you less reaction time. Instead, keep them out with your palms up, ready to receive. When you hit the ball, try not to swing your arms. That will just make the ball go everywhere but the place you want it. Be controlled. Try to make sure that your wrists don't go past your waist.
One of the best ways to practice passing is with a friend. Stand across from each other and pepper. Practice getting into that platform and directing the ball where you need it to go. The more time you spend practicing, the better you'll be.
Passing looks different for different people.
Tip Number Two: Setting
The setter stands in the front row near the right corner of the net. She gets the second ball, which, if passed correctly, will give her the perfect setup for one of her hitters. A setter must have good hands, which means she has good control and light touch on the ball. She watches as the libero gets her hands on the ball and passes it crisply. It sails right over to the setter, who brings her hands up and gently pushes it off toward the hitter. It flies into the air, right along the net.
Some people think setting is easier than passing. Others think the opposite. The most important thing is proper placement of your hands and the proper form.
Start out with your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your left foot slightly in front of your right foot. Bring up your hands and position them over your forehead, keeping your elbows out. Bend your knees slightly as you make contact with the ball. Move your hands out, straightening your elbows and propelling the ball forward.
Again, it's good to practice with another player. Stand across from each other and focus on keeping the ball high enough to set back and forth. The more you practice, the more control you will have.
A setter must have good hands, which means she has good control and light touch on the ball.
Tip Number Three: Hitting
The hitter stands behind the ten foot line, her eyes transfixed on the ball as it sails toward the setter. With an easy push, the ball sails forward. The hitter approaches, her arms swinging. She leaps forward and spikes. The ball whips pass the defenders and to the back corner.
Hitting is a beautiful and exciting part of the game. The pros make it look so simple and easy, and in reality, it is. The important part is that you have the approach (for power), and the correct timing. Everyone likes the sets different. For example, I like my sets off of the net. Others like it nice and tight.
Start with your feet shoulder width apart. If you're right handed, keep your right foot in front of your left. If you're left handed, keep your left foot in front of your right. Keep your hands in front of you and start the approach. Left foot, first, then quick right left. For a leftie you would go: right foot then quick left right. You jump at the last step. Swing your arms at the first step, and bring them up as you jump. This will give you height.
You can practice this either with a friend of by yourself. Toss the ball high into the air and give yourself enough time to do the approach and hit. Or have your friend set to you. Practice makes perfect.
Hitting is a beautiful and exciting part of the game.
Tip Number Four: Underhand vs. Overhand Serving
Some of the most popular ways to serve in volleyball are overhand and underhand. Underhand is easiest for the beginner, while the overhand is perfect for the one who wants a slight challenge.
Underhand: Hold the volleyball with your left hand if you're right handed, or in your right if you are left handed. Close your dominant hand into a fist. DO NOT toss the ball into the air as you serve underhand- it doesn't help your serve at all. Hold onto it and swing underneath the ball.
Overhand: When I first began to play volleyball, I decided that I would serve overhand. I thought it looked so easy that it would be a breeze. Plus, it looked cool, too. It was quite a shock the first time I tried to serve from behind the line! The ball barely made it past the 10 foot line before crashing down into the sand. What I figured out was that there is some sort of system to serving overhand. First, hold the ball in your less dominant hand. Keep your right foot in front of your left if you're right handed, or your left in front of your right if you're left handed. I keep my hand above my head at the point where my hit is strongest. That also helps me know where to toss the ball. When you toss, try not to throw it high into the air. Think of it as a lift. As you toss, you want to step forward with your left foot (if you are right handed.), or your right foot (if you are left handed.). It all boils down to toss, step, swing.
You can practice on a court, or even in your driveway. Make marks on the pavement with chalk and try to serve behind the line you've constructed.
Tip Number 5: Practice
Now that you've learned some of the most important parts of volleyball, it's time to go out and practice! Bring some friends for some extra fun.
Find your favorite position on the court. Mine is middle (middle front or middle back, I'm not too picky). I have a friend who loves to play setter. The most important part is to find the position that you love to play. That way, you'll exceed in it.
One way to practice in a group is called the pepper drill. Everyone stands in a circle and passes the ball around to one another. Not necessarily in a circle, but in any direction they please. Everyone gets used to calling for the ball.
You can practice by yourself as well. You can bump or set the ball to yourself. You can also use a wall and pass off of it. The point is to touch the ball and get used to the feel of it.
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