We Know That Setting, Hitting, Serving And Blocking Are Key Volleyball Skills Every Player Must Master.
But a truly well-rounded player knows that these volleyball skills are not enough. A competitive athlete must also learn how to read.
In volleyball, reading refers to the ability to anticipate another player’s next move—whether it’s your teammate or your opponent. Knowing how to read means knowing where the ball will go without necessarily looking at it the entire time. It also means knowing how your movement affects the team.
Reading is a skill that is not always taught in many volleyball skills clinics. Often, the focus is on technical skills used in volleyball. And while these are important, learning how to read well is what distinguishes competitive and successful athletes.
Volleyball is a fast-paced and high-intensity game. It is common for most players to focus on just the ball or the opponent. But expanding your vision of the game gives you, and your team, a competitive advantage because it allows you to work better as one unit (without having to talk) and anticipate the opponent’s attacks.
If you think you’ve got the basic skills in volleyball covered, good on you! Now, it is time to complete your volleyball arsenal and hone your reading skills.
Reading The Setter
A good setter will know how to disguise her intention on where to send the ball. Therefore, it is important for blockers to know how to read the setter.
If the ball is off the net, then you know the setter cannot make a quick set to the middle. If it is tight to the net, the setter may try to dump the ball over. If the ball is in front of them, the setter cannot set behind them.
As a blocker, make sure you are always ready to move fast in any direction. Your weight should be evenly dispersed, and your knees bent, with your hand above your head. Keeping your hands high will allow you to react to the ball as quickly as possible.
If you are not sure about where the setter is going with the ball, try not to do a full jump. Instead, do a half jump so you still have a better chance of deflecting the ball.
Reading The Attacker
You can find clues by looking at the attacker’s shoulders and eyes. Check the ball’s position in relation to the shoulder. It is a good idea to position yourself in line with the ball and the attacker’s shoulders. Watch where they are looking. Maintain your blocking form so as not to compromise your team’s defense.
If you can, do some pre-game research on the opposing team’s hitter. What are their tendencies? Where do their hands go on outside sets? What do they do on tight sets? Look for patterns in certain situations.
Join An OTL Skills Clinic To Learn How To Be A Better Reader
The true test of your volleyball skills is in a game. But these skills need to be trained in the right direction so it can translate to performance. With reading, the best way to develop it is to know what to look for and to continuously refine your vision.
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