Category Archives: Volleyball

Volleyball and the Real World Application

To some, volleyball is just a sport, while to others it is an art form. Understanding volleyball allows individuals to develop critical thinking skills, organizational skills, and self-awareness skills. Bystanders may find the sport fun and fast paced, but they rarely understand all of the effort that goes into playing it. Playing volleyball involves more than learning how court chemistry comes together and how plays are run. Playing involves learning the moves and habits of your teammates as well as gaining a sense of awareness. By practicing, a person can develop awareness and critical thinking skills that are important in the game and life.

Skills to be Successful

For a setter, volleyball is like a game of chess. It is all about reading the other players and keeping track of his or her own team. A setter has to be more aware than the other players on the court because he or she controls the pace of the entire game. To play this position successfully, a setter must be witty and smart. He or She must be able to think faster than the pace of the game. On top of that, a setter needs to be able to express his or her thoughts to teammates as well as to listen to teammates. Communication, like in anything else, is a key factor of success in volleyball. A defender must communicate with teammates about positioning. If one player cannot reach the ball, his or her teammates need to know, so they can reach the ball. Players talk to each other during a play to help make decisions about if the ball is in or out of bounds, and players will normally give advice on what play to run. Sometimes players will voice encouragements if another teammate is not playing their best. Another example of communication in volleyball is how a setter and hitter communicate effectively to set the ball along the net where it will not be blocked. Some skills that a setter needs to be successful are as follows:

• Know where everyone is supposed to be on the court at all times.
• Read his or her opponent’s behavior and make small adjustments.
• Communicate thoughts and intentions to teammates.
• Move swiftly and think rapidly.
• Plan moves steps ahead.
• Make calculated movements that do not indicate plays to defenders.

Real Life Application

Communication, strategy, and critical thinking are skills that educators work hard to teach effectively. College focuses on testing a student’s ability to perform critical thinking activities. Some professors do not understand how students are coming to college with such limited practice in this area. While students have practiced critical thinking in a classroom environment, many students have never been exposed to critical thinking in a realistic setting. Sports are a realistic outlet that can give students an opportunity to begin developing these very important skills.

When someone is able to grow up practicing these skills in a scenario that he or she enjoys, that person learns faster and gives motivation to solve complex problems in life. Passion to learn infused within these necessary skills, one is able to gain experience in a fun, involving way.

By actively participating in sports, individuals practice at problem solving and forming strategy goals, skills which gain importance with age. Particular roles in certain sports, such as a setter position in volleyball, may offer more in-depth practice of these skills than other sports. In addition to learning physical skills, athletes develop mental skills that are relevant to life through the sports they play.

Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Volleyball

Volleyball is a sport beloved by many and can easily be played year-round. However, if you have the chance to hit the court outdoors when the weather’s good, why wouldn’t you try to get in some fresh air and sunshine while you play the game you love?

There are differences between indoor and outdoor (sometimes called “sand”) volleyball. These differences are not enough to be real game-changers, but there are some things to be aware of depending on your volleyball environment.

The Volleyball Court

Sand volleyball courts and indoor courts are fairly different in size. Beach courts are actually smaller than indoor courts. Indoor courts have a rule where players in the back row cannot advance behind a certain point in the court to hit the ball, whereas sand volleyball players can hit the ball from anywhere on their side of the net. The reasoning behind the smaller sand court size may be that getting any traction and running in sand is much more difficult than on a hard surface. A smaller court keeps the ball in play longer, keeping rallies more entertaining and face-paced.

Players Per Team

With the larger court size for indoor volleyball, it reasons that a larger amount of people would be needed to cover the area. Indoor volleyball requires six players per team, or side. Each player has a specialized position that rotates and switches throughout the game. Sand volleyball is usually played with two-person teams. One player hits from the left side of the court, one hits from the right. The serve is rotated between the two players. There are no specialized positions and each player is usually well-versed in all hits, blocks and digs. At competition-level sand volleyball, players can have dedicated positions such as one may block and one may dig, but both could still hit.

The Volleyball

The ball itself is one of the differences between indoor and outdoor volleyball. Indoor balls are made of leather and are somewhat heavier than balls used outdoors. These heavier indoor balls can be hit harder and tend to move more quickly than an outdoor ball. Sand volleyballs are bigger, softer and less heavy than indoor balls. The lighter weight helps them float through the air better, allowing more experienced players to use the weather to their advantage.

Keeping Score

Indoor volleyball has matches made up of five sets or games. Games are played until the first team reaches 25 points, and are declared the winners of that game. Three sets win the match. If both teams have won two sets, a tiebreaker game is played to 15 points. Teams switch sides after each game.

Sand volleyball has matches made up of only three sets or games. Games are played until the first team reaches 21 points, and if a tiebreaker game is necessary, it is played until 15 points.

In both versions, a game must be won by a minimum two-point margin.

Touches

The way the ball is touched or handled by players is different between the two types of games. Indoor volleyball allows players to block the ball without it counting as one of the three allowed hits for each team. Sand volleyball counts a block as one of the three hits allowed.

Indoor volleyball also allows open-hand tips, or dinks, which send the ball just slightly over the net, however sand volleyball does not allow these types of moves.

If you enjoy volleyball, then it probably doesn’t matter whether you play it indoors or outdoors. In fact you may find that you do prefer one way over the other, but just getting to play the game you love any time of year is a big benefit. Educating yourself about both versions of the sport will help your game-play, and hopefully your enjoyment of the sport as well.

Ways to Tell You Are Serving Correctly in Volleyball

Consistent, accurate serving is the objective of every volleyball player – from youth to Olympic team member. To reach that point, however, it’s important to know if you are serving correctly. Here are some ways to do that.

The first way to tell whether you are serving correctly is whether the ball is going where you want it to go. I know that sounds very simplistic, but the reality of things is that proper mechanics tends to result in high levels of accuracy. If you are consistently hitting your target then chances are pretty good you’ve got things right. That said, chances are you’re reading this article because you aren’t as accurate or powerful a server as you’d like, so let me provide you with some checkpoints you can use to get yourself on track.

Are you finishing your serve balanced? If not, there’s something wrong. Usually, it comes down to your toss. If you toss the ball too far to the left or right you’ll end up leaning in that direction to try to make proper ball contact. Either that or you’ll be serving the ball in that direction when you didn’t intend to do so. If you find your weight well onto your front toes, then you’ve tossed the ball too far forward, while having to arch your back and lean backwards means a toss behind your ideal contact point. All of this can be fixed by improving your toss.

Is the ball spinning when you want it to float, or floating when you want it to spin? That is a function of your ball contact. You need to make sure you’re stricking the right part of the ball in the correct way to get the desired effect.

Is the ball coming landing short or going too far? Distance in serving is all about the speed of your hand at contact. Swing your arm faster to hit the ball farther (notice I didn’t say swing harder). Swing your arm slower to hit the ball shorter. Make sure to keep your ball contact firm, though. No floppy wrist or mushy hand!

Does your shoulder hurt when you serve? If so, it probably means your arm swing is off in some fashion – assuming you don’t simply have an injury from something else, of course. This again could be related to ball toss, but it could also be a function of your mechanics. This might be hard to judge by yourself, though. You’ll likely want the help of a coach in evaluating your arm swing – or at least the use of video.

Which brings up perhaps the best way to gauge whether you are serving properly. Video yourself serving and compare it to video of someone who serves properly. There are many tools out there these days that allow for side-by-side analysis. This will let you see how your technique stacks up against the good server in the areas of body posture, arm preparation, toss, footwork, and follow-through.

Hopefully you have a coach who is keeping an eye on your serving technique and helping you correct things as needed. If not, though, the tips here should help you identify problems and put you on a path toward more effective serving.