Wednesday, 22 May 2024

5 Keys to Better Passing

Winning in volleyball starts with reliable passing. If you want to deliver a better ball to your setter, here are some valuable advice from five experts in the field.

April Ross – Olympic Medalist and AVCA All-American

For April Ross, having two or three cues before each serve is crucial. These cues help reinforce what she wants to do with the pass. As she transitioned to beach volleyball, one important cue stood out: “Wait, but be ready to go forward.” This cue emphasizes the importance of patience. By avoiding the urge to charge at the ball prematurely, you can maintain a stable position and achieve more consistent passing. Ross reminds herself of this cue before every serve.

Pete Hanson – Head Coach of Ohio State University Men’s Volleyball Team

According to Pete Hanson, players should aim to gather as much information about the serve as possible within the first 10 to 20 feet of its trajectory. This includes observing its speed, the zone it’s directed towards, and the depth of the serve. These details help passers prepare and adjust their feet and body positions accordingly. Hanson emphasizes the importance of having arms and platforms out in a ready position, making small, quick adjustments before contact. It’s crucial for players to be stopped before making contact and to ensure their platforms face the target at the moment of contact. Holding the platform position after contact and allowing the ball to rebound to the target is also recommended.

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Nicole Davis – Olympic Medalist Libero

Nicole Davis focuses on three key cues for reception: Feet, Track, and Forward. Before the server contacts the ball, she advises having a plan based on the server’s tendencies. Front loading the possibilities and understanding seam responsibilities is essential. An assertive first step and maintaining a balanced position allow for adjustments if needed. Tracking the ball is crucial, as the trajectory can change. Finally, finishing forward with an active platform and trusting the angle to do the work is key.

Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer – Assistant Coach of UCLA Women’s Volleyball Team

Joy McKienzie-Fuerbringer instructs players to focus their eyes on the bottom of the ball. This helps passers get their platform under the ball, slowing it down and directing it towards the target. A common mistake is placing the platform to the side of the ball, resulting in fast passes with a flat trajectory. This makes the setter’s job harder and disrupts the offensive rhythm. By focusing on the bottom of the ball, passers increase the likelihood of delivering a perfect pass, leading to successful sets and hits.

Kevin Hambly – Head Coach of University of Illinois Women’s Volleyball Team

Kevin Hambly emphasizes the importance of a solid foundation before contacting the ball. A solid foundation means having everything below the waist static. Sometimes, players may even take a knee or two to ensure their lower body remains motionless. This allows players to get a better view of the ball and initiate contact at the required angle, resulting in more accurate passing.

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Q: How can I improve my passing in volleyball?
A: To improve your passing, focus on cues like patience, positioning, and footwork. Maintain a solid foundation, track the ball, and make small adjustments to ensure a stable platform for passing.

Q: What should I focus on when receiving a serve?
A: When receiving a serve, gather information about its speed, direction, and depth. Adjust your feet and body position accordingly and ensure your arms and platforms are ready. Aim to hold the platform position after contact and let the ball rebound to the target.

Q: How can I increase the consistency of my passing?
A: Consistency in passing can be achieved by being patient, focusing on the bottom of the ball, and keeping the platform under it. By maintaining a solid foundation and delivering accurate passes, you can improve the rhythm of your offense.


Passing is a fundamental skill in volleyball, and these five experts provide valuable insights for improving your performance. By incorporating cues like patience, proper positioning, and a solid foundation, you can enhance your passing skills. Focusing on the bottom of the ball, tracking its trajectory, and maintaining a stable platform are key elements for consistent passing. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to becoming a better passer and contributing to your team’s success.

To learn more about improving your volleyball game, visit the Alpinetgheep website for additional resources and guidance.