Hello Everyone. Today’s topic is serving and passing. It has been statistically proven that if you win the serving and passing battle, you give your team the best chance to win a volleyball match. In the women’s game, it is passing first and serving second, and in the men’s game, it is reversed. But no matter how you look at it, you must spend the majority of your training sessions doing lots of serving and lots of passing. A team that can serve and pass, but not hit, can stay in the game with anyone. A team that can’t serve and pass, but can hit, will lose a lot of games to teams they appear to be more talented than. Having said that, we better make sure we rank the 6 skills of volleyball correctly because how we spend our practice time is our responsibility.
I am going to talk about what we do in our gym that we believe will give us the repetitions needed to become proficient in serving and passing. It is also important that I note here that we believe in training and competing at the same time. Once we go over the skill where we simply cover the proper mechanics and the keywords we like to use and hear in our gym, it is all about competing over the net where we serve, pass, set, hit, etc. and play all to terminations. This is where we believe we can get the most benefits out of our training sessions. We do not use the word DRILL, we like to call them GAMES.
We believe that in order to learn how to drive a tractor for example, you need to drive one and perform all the elements of driving a tractor at the same time and not breakdown each separately. You don’t learn how to drive it, and retain the information, by being in the classroom so to speak. So, to get better at volleyball, you need to play the game. What coaching does is expedite the learning curve. We call this concept the “Lack of Substance” as one of three concepts we believe that hinders students from learning and retaining.
I will spend time talking about the keys we use to teach passing. Once we establish this in our gym, we play a game called Volleysal every day in our gym. Whether it is for warmups or simply, throughout an entire training session. Volleysal is a 3 v 3 game or 4 v 4 game played over the net where the 3-M line does not exist.
Volleysal is a name I stole from the famous Brazilian indoor soccer game called Futsal where 5 players on each side play. Some of the best soccer players in the world played Futsal. Because you play indoor on a smaller playing area (which means more touches per players) and the surface is typically a hard court which makes the ball bounces faster as opposed to the give-in effect when playing on a grass field. This means the soccer players’ foot control have to be better and their reflexes have to be sharp to be successful at Futsal. This can only be accomplished by touching the ball as many times a possible and competing.
Therefore, I took that same concept and named our game Volleysal. It is the cornerstone of our training and we spend an entire summer doing ONLY this and we do not go 6 on 6 until a week prior to our first match. I am aware that most of you (coaches) have played that game in some shape or form, but today I am going to add the WHT, HOW, and WHY we do it so often. We have so many scoring variations to the game and you can of course be creative and add your own scoring system to it. No matter what we do though, the following concepts have to be abided:
1) Serve TOUGH and IN. Not only we want our teams to serve-receive well but our goal is to prevent our opponent’s from doing it well.
2) Our goal in any serving v passing game is to get improve the most important and telling ratio of them all: Ace/SRE. Aces we get against the opponent vs. minimizing our own serve receive errors. That ration must be higher than 1.35 to be a factor.
3) 80% Golf Concept mentality with serving. Goal is to create an off balance. Aces are icing on the cake.
4) Master serving to areas 1 and 5/6.
5) We never just serve the ball as a point of entry. It is always a series of balls. Serve+Throw. Serve+Spin+Serve, etc.
6) We play in a 2-4-2 rhythm. Server has 2 seconds to get behind the serve. Everyone else has 2 sec to sprint to what I call FACEBOOK, 4 seconds to make eye contact and talk volley, and 2 seconds to break away. This way, we learn to have the same poise whether we are winning or losing and not allow negative body language to manifest. We told players over the years to “shake it off” and now I am showing you the players hoe to do actually shake it off. The mere fact that one sprints, the more than likely you are going to forget about the mistake. We call this LGMO (Let Go Move On).
7) The players can open hand tip to the back row but they can go off speed anywhere they want on the court. At first, I tell the players NOT to tip as it is an easy skill to learn. But I ask them to work on their off speed as they do not do it often while training.
8) Hand Control is as important as Ball Control. We make sure work on the FIVE shots that comprise what we call the Hitting Fan: (1) Straight Away; (2) Wrist Away; (3) Cut Back; (4) Off Speed; and (5) High and Flat.
9) No three hits in a row can be the same.
10) If it is not game-like it is not transferring, or transferring to a very small degree.
11) Training vs. Competing. Balancing the two concepts is key in our gym.
12) Monitor progress. The concept of Quality Control. If we don’t measure performance, we cannot progress. Recording performance will expedite the learning curve.
1) Fundamentals of Passing – I have 5 key words I like to employ when teaching passing: (1) See the server, see the spin OR see the toss, see the hand; (2) Load up the Platform; (3) Face the server (ball), angle the arms (Angles are: Reflection and Elevation); (4) Shuffle in the same plane (no bobbing); (5) Pass 12 and 3 to the Middle Right.
2) Pass over the left knee and over the right knee. This is midline in our gym.
3) Feet are overrated. Track the serve with platform.
4) Pass the ball 12 feet high and 3 feet off (12/3) and to the middle right. Borders of Zone 3 and Zone 2 (these are hitting/blocking zones).
5) Once we introduce the skill and tutor each player, our Serving and Passing Game is 3 vs.3 or 4 vs. 4 and we almost NEVER play deep court games. We always hit at the net. Good for setters & good for hitters.
Volleysal (Four vs. Four or Three vs. Three) – You can play this on 1, 2, or 3 courts.
# In those type drills where we don’t have a set or original rotation , setters ALWAYS work on serve receive entries from RO1/RO3/RO4/RO2 and middles ALWAYS work on RO3/RO1/RO2/RO5.
# Setters and Middles work in tandem according to each rotation.
# You lose, you serve. Early Stages of the season, we put in a Chip for each missed serve. A Chip can be an easy spin or overhand toss from behind the service line.