Everyone sees the spectacular points that volleyball players score. Sometimes they have to evade a block or attack from an impossible position. The team often celebrates a lot when an attacker is able to pull this off. Nothing beats a spectacular spike by a hitter You have an outside hitter (left-side hitter) and an opposite hitter (right-side hitter) in a team. Let’s discuss some tips and tricks that will help you to score more often.
1/ Improve your spiking technique
As a hitter, you have to touch the ball so that it goes fast but you can add a lot of effect to it as well. If you hit the ball with the palm of your hand, you will add a lot of speed. If you plan to add effect to the ball, you can curve your hand around the top of the ball. You can also turn your hand in different positions to see what effect it has on the ball. Giving the ball a soft nudge (a tip) can surprise the defense and make it easy to score.
Jumping is essential as well when you are a hitter. This will make it easier to push the ball over the net. You have to use the right approach to jump as high as possible. You start slow and eventually speed up your approach. This will allow you to jump high in the air. You don’t want to touch the net so you have to jump right up. It can take a lot of practice to get this right. Timing is essential when you want to execute this. You use your whole body to hit. Your legs are needed to jump higher and your arms are needed to hit the ball and keep your balance. Timing is everything in attacking and you have to practice this over and over again.
Let’s take a look at how Olympic gold medal winner for team USA Jordan Larson explains this in the video below:
2/ Learn to see how the blockers move
The main challenge for a hitter is evading blocks. Some players are very tall and can create a big obstacle to get over. In some instances, players can even work together to create a block. As a hitter, you have to check the position of the middle blocker at all times. This is the main defender in this area. Once you notice that the blocker is starting to jump, you have to know that a block will come and you can send the ball in another direction to evade it. If two or three players are standing close by on the front row, it can indicate that they will work together to form a block.
You can also check if the libero has replaced the middle blocker in the last row or not. Middle blockers are often slower players as they are taller. If the libero is not on the court, you can try to target the middle blocker as this player is often not that good at defending. The libero might be tired or unable to play and this can be a great moment to attack this position.
Even if you receive a terrible pass from the hitter, you still have to be able to push the ball over the net. This can require a lot of athleticism and creativity but a hitter needs to be able to pull this off.
3/ Communicate with your setter
The setter has to give you an assist. Therefore it is essential that you communicate well. For example, you can discuss your preferences (receiving the ball high or low, in front of you or on your right-hand side). This can help to make it easier for you so that you can attack faster. If you are unsure about this, you can experiment with different passes and see what works for you.
There are several drills to get better at this:
The setter coordinates the attack so you have to know what his or her plans are. Often hand signals are used for this. It can also allow your team members to fake an attack to confuse the defense. This makes your job a lot easier as the defense is not prepared for your hit. Switching up your attacks is essential. A lot of teams use the same attack structure over and over again and the defense already knows what is going to happen. You have to find ways to be creative and use other ways to break the defense.
4/ Remain calm
As a hitter, it is possible that you will miss the ball, hit a block, or smash the ball outside the court. This can discourage you and annoy your team. A lot of players panic when they miss a point and they have a hard time keeping playing. You have to accept what happened and move from there. You can’t change the past so don’t beat yourself up. During a match, you don’t have time to doubt yourself and analyze everything that went wrong. Just pay attention to the ball and your technique and things will work out. As a coach, I often have to substitute a player that suddenly lost his or her confidence because they hit a ball in the net. These things happen and you need to move on after it. This can be challenging for newer players as they feel that they are letting down the team.
Even professional hitters can have a bad moment. This is part of being human and players have to accept that they make mistakes. Volleyball is a fast-paced game and not every ball that you touch will land perfectly.
To conclude we can state that a hitter is essential in a volleyball team. It is a demanding role as you need to be able to evade blocks and deal with bad passes. If you miss, your team might be angry at you. It is necessary to remain calm and focus on the passes that you will receive. After the match, you can analyze everything but there is no time to do so during the match. Just pay attention to your technique and the points will follow.