Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

The Importance of Effective Communication in Volleyball

By Rachelle Manske

Communication plays a vital role in the success of any volleyball team. Coaches often emphasize the need for players to “talk it up out there,” but what exactly should they be talking about? In this article, we will explore the difference between talking and communicating on the volleyball court and discuss the essential topics that players should be focusing on to improve their communication skills.

Talking vs. Communicating

First, let’s clarify the difference between talking and communicating. Talking simply involves articulating words without the exchange of meaningful information. On the other hand, communicating is the act of effectively exchanging information. In order to communicate effectively on the court, players must:

  1. Know what they are communicating about.
  2. Speak in a language that is understood by their teammates.
  3. Keep their communication quick, short, and specific.

The Topics We Need to Communicate About

Different aspects of the game require specific communication. To enhance their overall communication skills, players should focus on the following topics:

  • Pre-match communication
  • Serve/receive
  • Serving
  • Team defense
  • Offensive strategy

Pre-match Communication

Before a match, there is a small window of time for players to assess the opposing team. This is an opportunity for players to observe and communicate important information to their teammates. They should discuss the opponent’s tendencies, such as their preferred hitting direction, tendency to tip, and specific plays they like to run. By sharing this information, teams can make quick adjustments to their defense and be better prepared for the game.

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During serve/receive, it is essential for each player to communicate the specific area of the court they will be covering. This allows teammates to mentally release those areas and focus on other parts of the court for coverage. Players should also communicate information about the server, such as their serving style (float or topspin) and their target area. This helps the team anticipate the serve and be better prepared to receive it. Additionally, the setter should check in with each hitter regarding the offensive attack they will be executing after the serve.


When serving, the serving team (defensive side) should communicate important details to their teammates. This includes identifying the opponent’s big hitter, the location of the setter, and whether the setter is in the front or back row. Players can also discuss the number of hitters in the front row and potential hitting tendencies to watch for.

Team Defense

Effective team defense requires constant communication. Players should act as a cohesive unit, reading and responding to the opponent’s moves. They should anticipate what will happen based on visual cues and communicate with each other continuously throughout the play. They should be able to narrate the events happening on the other side of the net, such as identifying whether the other team is out of system, the quality of the set, and the potential offensive attack. Clear communication helps each player anticipate the actions of the opposing team.

Offensive Strategy

In offensive plays, players need to communicate their readiness and intentions to the setter. They should inform the setter about their desired hitting position and make adjustments if necessary. The back row players should provide information to the hitter about the number of blockers and the availability of hitting angles. It is crucial to remind the entire team to cover the hitter every time.

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Introducing Effective Communication to Athletes

Teaching young volleyball athletes to communicate effectively requires time and patience. Often, coaches focus on teaching the physical skills of the game without emphasizing the importance of communication. Volleyball is a visual sport that requires players to anticipate and respond to the actions of the opposing team. By teaching athletes to communicate with each other, their overall team performance will improve. Fewer balls will drop, and offensive plays will become more potent.

In conclusion, communication is a fundamental aspect of volleyball. As coaches, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of effective communication to players from the beginning. When a team is bound together by a common purpose and communicates effectively, they become a formidable force on the court.


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Strong communication skills are essential for success in volleyball. By understanding the difference between talking and communicating, and focusing on the right topics, players can enhance their performance and work cohesively as a team. As coaches and players continue to prioritize effective communication, they will undoubtedly see improvements both on and off the court.

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