How can I increase my volleyball IQ? HOW volleyball players get smarter

Volleyball is more than just hitting a ball. You also have to know when to make what type of attack or defense. You also have to interact with other team members and use several strategies that can surprise your opponent. These are all part of a volleyball IQ and you should always try to learn more about the game. All of these skills are not going to improve overnight but we are going to discuss some ideas that can help you to improve them. 

Ask your coach what needs to be improved

Your coach probably knows what part of your game needs work. He or she can also recommend drills that can help with this. Players often forget to ask their coach for advice as they don’t think about it or are too afraid to do so. Your coach wants you to improve so you can always ask for advice. Sometimes small ball handling techniques can have a big impact on your results.

Therefore it is always a great idea to ask for tips from your coach. As a volleyball coach myself, I enjoy it when people come up to me and ask how they can improve. This shows that you are really dedicated and want to learn.

There are also drills that can help you to play better together with your team. A lot of it comes down to proper communication:

Play with another team

Playing with the same people over and over again can be great as you start to know what they like and don’t like. If you play with other people from time to time, you will be more challenged as you have to get to know them and they need to learn your playing style. This will push you to try new things and experiment with new types of passes and so on.

You can use these with the members of your clubs as well if they work well. Just make sure that the other players also are on the same level or even better than you. Playing with total beginners is probably not going to teach you anything as you will have to spend a lot of time and energy explaining everything. 

Try beach volleyball

Similarly, you can give beach volleyball a try. This is a variation on traditional volleyball with fewer players and a smaller field. Other than this the rules are quite similar. Beach volleyball can push you to be more assertive and you will learn how to play faster.

Therefore I would recommend that you join a beach volleyball tournament as this playing style will show you what is possible if you want to play faster and in a smaller area. It takes some getting used to as the ball is slightly larger but you will get the hang of it quite fast if you are used to playing indoor volleyball as well. 

Beach volleyball is also a lot of fun, as can be seen below:

Film yourself

Filming yourself during a match is a great idea. You will be surprised by what you can learn from this. Sometimes you make the same mistakes over and over again without realizing it. It is only after you have seen yourself in activities that you start to realize what is going on. We have discussed how you can film a volleyball match before.

Be sure to ask permission from the other players and find someone that is good at filming. This also allows you to see your own progress over time as you can compare different matches and see what you have learned or what mistakes you keep repeating. 

Watch professional players

Youtube allows you to see how professional volleyball players are acting. You can see how they defend and attack. They use different strategies and if you study them, you will start to see patterns. If you spend 30 minutes each day watching a game on Youtube, you will get tremendously better. Some Youtube channels also analyze games and highlights and you can learn a lot from these theoretical analyses. In the video below, you can learn a lot about how this is done. 

Focus on one skill at a time

You can’t expect to get great at everything at the same time. Pick one skill that you want to improve on and keep repeating the drills and exercises until you feel that you have mastered this skill. For example, you can focus on anticipating where the ball will land for a month and see if this skill improves. Once it does, you can spend a lot of attention on how your team members react to different types of passes. You can stack these skills and over time you will become a great volleyball player as you can combine all these competencies.

A lot of players want to focus on a lot of things at the same time but it just doesn’t work this way as your brain only has limited processing power. Focus on one skill at a time and you will improve a lot. This can feel frustrating at first as you might think that doing multiple things at the same time is better but this is just not how it works. 

Become a coach yourself

You can coach younger players to learn how to play volleyball. If you want to explain something, you have to simplify it and master it yourself. Therefore teaching something to someone else can help you to master the subject yourself as you have to view it from multiple angles and think about how you would do it yourself.

My volleyball skills have developed a lot since I became a coach myself. I had to repeat a lot of drills and think about strategies and team dynamics. All of these have helped me understand all of these things better and made me a more complete player overall. 

To conclude, we can state that volleyball is quite complex. You have to be great at handling the ball, communicating with other players, anticipating where the ball will go, different strategies, and so on. It takes quite a lot of time and practice to improve all of these skills.

In this article, we have outlined some strategies that can help you to speed up this learning process and increase your volleyball IQ overall. This will make you a more complete volleyball player that is able to attack and defend in a lot of situations. Not a lot of players are thinking about improving this so you will stand out quite fast if you implement the discussed approach. We have discussed how you can know if you are a good volleyball player here.