Wednesday, 29 May 2024

The Art of Shot-Making: Enhancing Your Volleyball Skills


Do you ever wonder how some players effortlessly outmaneuver their opponents on the volleyball court? The key lies in mastering the lost art of “shot-making.” While powerful hitters are a sight to behold, they often struggle when faced with skilled blockers. In this article, we will explore the world of shot-making, its benefits, and how it can elevate your game to new heights.


The Importance of Shot-Making

During a game, the ball crosses the net perilously close to the top of the tape more than 80% of the time. With proper timing, most blockers can easily intercept these powerful hits. That’s where shot-making comes into play. By developing a repertoire of shots to the back of the court or sharp cross-court, you can catch your opponents off guard and keep them guessing.

Cultivating the Mindset of a Shot-Maker

Shot-making requires great vision and control over both the ball and your own body. To execute a successful shot, you must approach with the same footwork and arm swing as you would for a regular hit. However, mastering these skills takes time and dedication. Coaches must be patient with their players’ learning process and allow for mistakes along the way.

Common Pitfalls While Learning Shot-Making

  • Slowing down the approach to time the shots
  • Squaring to the net too soon
  • Partial arm swings with low elbows
  • Not getting their feet to the ball
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Overcoming these challenges is part of the journey towards becoming a skilled shot-maker.

Teaching Shot-Making to Young Players

The earlier players start learning shot-making, the better. While younger players may not have the physical power to crush the ball, they can still score points using shots. By instilling shot-making skills from a young age, you can cultivate smart, creative hitters who excel when they can finally unleash their full power.

Exploring Different Shot Techniques

Shot-making encompasses a variety of techniques that can be employed strategically during a game. Here are some common shot definitions:

  • Tipping: Using an open hand to direct the ball above or around blockers, typically landing it short in the court.
  • Chipping: Employing a soft topspin or side spin shot to guide the ball over or around the block, aiming for open court areas.
  • Hitting Line: Executing a full swing with either shoulder squared to the line or swinging across the hitter’s body towards the line.
  • Soft into the Block: Hitting the ball softly off the block to avoid being stuffed, enabling your teammates to play the ball up for another attack.
  • Tooling: Hitting, chipping, or tipping the ball off the hands of the blockers.
  • Sharp Cross Court: Hitting inside the block and closer to the net than the cross court digger, ideally near or inside the 3-meter line.
  • Roll Shot: Similar to chipping, a roll shot can incorporate top spin or side spin to put direction on the ball, creating more pace than a chip.

Training Techniques for Shot-Making

There are several effective methods for teaching shot-making to players. One approach is to incorporate shot-making into traditional hitting drills. By modifying the drills to reward shots and precise ball placement rather than solely focusing on hard hits, you can witness steady progress in your players’ skills. Here are a few examples:

  • Tool the Fool: Place players on a box to simulate a double block and encourage them to experiment with various shots in different directions and positions on the court. This drill fosters creativity, technique, and vision.
  • Short Court: Organize a power tipping drill with two teams of six players each, restricted to hitting inside the 3-meter line. This drill improves their transition, coverage, and shot selection skills, promoting better vision and reading of the game.
  • Simon Says: In this drill, the covering setter or a back-row player calls the shot for the hitter at the last minute. This exercise enhances multiple aspects of the game, including setting, hitting, coverage, and communication.
  • Hitter Wars: Conduct traditional scoring drills where each successful shot or skilled defensive play earns additional points. This drill motivates players to develop a vast array of shots and encourages effective coverage and transition play.
  • Queen or Monarch of the Court: In this game, designate specific shots as the winning point, further emphasizing the skill you want to reward.
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Shot-Making for Setters

Shot-making isn’t limited to hitters; setters can benefit from incorporating shots into their arsenal as well. By using shots to vary their approaches to dumping the ball, setters can confuse and disrupt the opposing team’s blockers and diggers.

The Broader Impact of Shot-Making

As players gain better control over the ball through shot-making, they also improve their serving skills. Shots from the end line can be just as effective as powerful serves, adding another dimension of strategy to their game. Additionally, by learning shot-making, your team will become better at reading the hitters on the other side of the court, having experienced the challenges firsthand.


Q: Can younger players be successful at shot-making?
A: Absolutely! While physical power is a factor, age or height does not limit a player’s ability to score points using shots. Shot-making skills can be cultivated at any age, and younger players will develop into wily, creative, and smart hitters over time.

Q: How can coaches incorporate shot-making into training drills?
A: Coaches can modify traditional hitting drills to reward shots and precise ball placement rather than solely focusing on hard hits. This approach helps players develop their shot-making skills while encouraging better vision and shot selection.

Q: Can setters benefit from shot-making?
A: Yes, setters can add shots to their repertoire, enabling them to disrupt the opposing team’s defense by varying their approaches to dumping the ball.


Shot-making is a crucial skill that elevates a player’s volleyball game by offering a variety of strategic options. By incorporating shot-making into training drills and nurturing these skills from a young age, players can become proficient shot-makers, confounding and frustrating opponents. As players fine-tune their shot-making abilities, not only do they improve their control over the ball, but they also enhance their overall volleyball IQ. So, embrace shot-making and watch your team soar to new heights on the court!

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