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A Hitting Strategy for the Small-Sized Volleyball Team.

VOLLEYBALL TEAMS THAT lack height may not be able to play the power offense used by the taller teams, but they can be taught a hitting strategy that will enable them to compete against their taller opponents.

Once they adopt this philosophy, they will have to practice it every night from three areas: strong hand (far left as they face the net), middle, and weak hand (far right).

Diag. 1, Strong-Hand Hitters usually hit the ball cross court (1) at an angle of 45 degrees to the net. (Note: All angles in this discussion will be in relation to the net.) This hit must will usually be made with maximum velocity.

The hitter may also turn his or her body and hit the ball down the line (2) with 75 to 100% velocity.

The hitter has several other options.

First, you can hit the ball at about a 60-degree angle with about half the velocity to a point about 10 feet shorter than the cross-corner hit (3).

Second, you can hit the ball with about 75 to 100% velocity five feet deeper than the cross-corner shot (4).

Third, you can hit a 30-degree angle shot at 50 to 75% velocity (5).

Diag. 2, Strong-Hand Tips can help provide a variety of options. The tip can be close to the net at about a 20-degree angle (1), but with varying distances of about 6, 10, and 15 feet.

A tip directed toward the cross-corner but landing on the 3-meter line can provide a useful offensive tool (2).

The third tip (3) is hit behind the block and falls on the 3-meter line. All tips must be arc-ed over the anticipated blockers.

Diag. 3, Middle Hits are not all big hits and have to be varied to produce offensive results. Most middle balls are hit with 100% velocity toward the corners at 45-degrees, but can be varied both in distance and velocity.

The ball can be hit at 75% velocity to the deep corners (2), going past the defensive players too high to be played, but falling in bounds.

The hitter can also lighten the shot, slow down the velocity to 50% (3)--the ball landing inbounds 10 feet in front of the defensive players.

Middle hits may be cut short 30-degrees right and left with 50 to 75% velocity (4). This is a hard shot to perfect, but can become a useful part of your offense.

The hitter can also put the ball up and over the blockers at about 90 degrees, making it drop somewhere from 5 to 10 feet inbounds (5).

Diag. 4, Middle Tips can force the defense to move, tighten its coverage. Tips about 20-degrees depth or closer can be placed anywhere from 5 to 10 feet (1).

If the defense covers these tips, you can practice hitting the tips with force at the height of the defensive player (2).

A soft tip behind and up and over the blockers (3) can help collapse the defense towards the middle, opening the areas to the left and right.

The middles have other types of hits (quicks, crosses, etc.) they can utilize, but the previous discussed hits (tips) can be run from the conservative middle hitting area. Remember, we are trying to develop a more potent offense with which to compete.

Diag. 5, Weak-Hand Hits can make your offense step up one more notch by practicing similar type hitting.

The cross-corner (45 degrees) and 100% velocity hits (1) and down-the-line hits at 90 degrees and 50 to 75% velocity can become big parts of your offense. Many defenses are vulnerable to this kind of hit.

The deeper 60-degree serve is hit with more force (4).

The hits from the strong hand can now be flipped to the weak hand. This is the 60-degree hit short and at 50% velocity (3).

Hitters can also practice the 30-degree hit with the soft touch (5).

Diag. 6, Weak-Hand Tips are the same as Strong-Hand Tips with the varying areas and distances.

Our setters practice taking the ball on "2" over the net to specific areas. They practice the three areas on the 30-meter line and at the positions that the opponents would be playing if you were free balling to them.

Diag. 7 magnifies these areas. The setters also run sets to the opponents' deep corners. This can get us extra points, but most importantly they change the defensive structure--giving them one more thing to think about.

By practicing all these different kinds of offensive options, you will be able to run over 30 different offensive hits, tips, and "2's." Defenses will have to adapt to your offensive schemes and that will produce openings and scores.

Note: You can devise a simple system of signals to call your areas and plays. It's all very simple: Find the openings in the defense and hit the ball there. And when they adjust to what you are doing, hit the ball somewhere else. There is no defense that can cover everything.

But you have to be able to react correctly. And that means practice. Diligent practices will enable you to run a fun-unstoppable offense!
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Author:Wilks, Mike
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2000
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