Tuesday, 28 May 2024

STOP Teaching FREE Balls

Coaches play a vital role in shaping the way players approach the game, and one area that needs a fresh perspective is the way they teach “free” balls. Traditional methods often lead to players moving off the net as the ball is thrown over, which can result in late reactions and missed opportunities.

Instead of reinforcing this habit, coaches should focus on teaching players to be more aggressive and strategic in their play. By training them to attack the ball even in “free” ball situations, players can develop skills that will enhance their volleyball IQ and help them score points.

There are two key changes that need to happen in order to improve this aspect of the game. First, coaches should shift their role from being the primary ball sender to becoming the second contact person. This allows players to take on the responsibility of sending the third ball aggressively and intelligently to their opponents.

Secondly, teams should aim to send the majority of their “mean” balls to zones 1 and 2 on the court. Coaches often stand outside the court, hitting balls to the players, which limits the variety of shots that can be practiced. By moving around the court and randomly tossing balls at different heights, players can learn to send aggressive shots to the areas that setters find most challenging.

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It’s important to break away from the tradition of hitting balls to players from outside the antenna. In a real game, balls come from between the antennas, and players need to be prepared for this. By training in a more realistic manner, players can develop the necessary reading and defensive skills to handle different types of shots.

Coaches should also consider the level of difficulty in the shots they reproduce. Not every opponent hits powerful and precise shots, so it’s crucial to practice against a variety of techniques such as two-handed tip shots, forearm passes, and reverse forearm hits. This will better prepare players for the real challenges they will face on the court.

By making these changes, coaches can help players become more well-rounded and adaptable. Players who can effectively score points on third contact forearm or overhead passes, and who can read the shots of their opponents, will have a significant advantage. This approach should be integrated into various game situations, from 6v6 play to speedball and monarch of the court games.

In summary, it’s time for a shift in the way we teach “free” balls. Coaches should empower their players to become skilled and strategic in their play, rather than relying solely on the coach to send the third ball. By training in a more realistic and challenging manner, players can become more confident and effective in their game. So let’s leave behind the tradition of free balls and embrace the concept of mean balls, leading to more exciting and successful volleyball matches.

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FAQs

Q: Why is it important to stop teaching “free” balls and start teaching “mean” balls?
A: Teaching players to attack “free” balls instead of retreating off the net allows them to develop skills that enhance their volleyball IQ and help them score points in challenging situations. It also prepares them to handle different types of shots from opponents.

Q: Why should coaches shift their role from being the primary ball sender?
A: By allowing players to take on the responsibility of sending the third ball, coaches empower them to become more skilled, strategic, and adaptable in their play. This approach fosters leadership and player empowerment.

Q: Where should teams aim to send their “mean” balls?
A: Teams should focus on sending their “mean” balls to zones 1 and 2 on the court. This provides a more challenging target for setters and helps players develop skills to attack these areas effectively.

Q: How can coaches ensure that training is realistic and game-like?
A: Coaches should vary the height and direction of the balls they toss to players, simulating different game situations. By avoiding unrealistic hits and incorporating a variety of shots, coaches can better prepare players for the challenges they will face on the court.

Q: What is the goal of teaching players to be aggressive in “free” ball situations?
A: The goal is for players to become skilled at scoring points on third contact forearm or overhead passes. This not only increases their ability to convert challenging shots but also strengthens their leadership and decision-making skills.

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Summary

In the world of volleyball coaching, it is crucial to rethink the way we approach “free” ball situations. By empowering players to be more aggressive and strategic, rather than retreating off the net, we can cultivate skills that enhance their volleyball IQ and help them score points. Coaches should shift their role from being the primary ball sender to encouraging players to take on that responsibility themselves. This approach enables players to become more versatile and adaptable, ultimately improving their overall gameplay. By aiming to send “mean” balls to zones 1 and 2 on the court, teams can challenge opponents and develop skills that target the areas setters find most challenging. Let’s break away from traditional methods and embrace the concept of mean balls, revolutionizing the game and creating a new standard of excellence in volleyball.