How to spike harder in volleyball: tips for beginners

Hitters typically will attack in volleyball. It is however possible that other people need to spike in their place so all the players on the court need to master this skill. Pushing the ball over the net can be a challenge because the other team can block and dig. You will have to learn the best way to do this. This will allow you to spike harder. Let’s take a look at how this works. 

How to be a good spiker in volleyball: Improve your technique

Getting the technique right is essential if you want to spike. You need to jump at the right moment and use both your arms. One arm helps you to balance and you use the other arm to swing. You can discuss with the setter where you want to get the ball. Some players prefer to receive it high whereas others prefer to get it lower. This can only be learned based on experience.

Let’s see how Olympic gold medal winner for team USA Jordan Larson explains this in more detail:

Timing is essential when you want to spike hard. A lot of players jump too early or swing their arms before they should. Being able to wait until the exact right moment can be a challenge but it results in more precise and harder spikes

Small nuances such as the position of your hand can have a big impact on where the ball lands. You can turn your hand slightly to send the ball in another direction. Where you hit the ball also has a big impact on the trajectory of the ball.

As an attacker, you have to be able to deal with bad passes. Sometimes the setter makes a mistake and you have to find a way to push the ball over the net anyway. It might not look pretty but sometimes you just have to find a way to get it done. Attacks don’t have to be powerful. You can also just tip the ball over the net to surprise the other team. A lot of players use the same attack over and over again and this makes it too predictable. Switching between forceful and soft attacks can make it harder for the defense to know what is going to happen. 

Spike training aid

There are aids that can be used by volleyball trainers. These are often quite simple. A hook that allows you to attach the ball in. Personally, I am not a big fan of these aids as you might as well ask another player to pass the ball to you.

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

Some machines can be interesting as they allow you to set the height that you will receive the ball and you can repeat the same drill over and over. You can then measure the result and try several techniques. Given that these machines are very expensive, they are mainly used by professionals to perfect their technique. 

At the end of the day, you just have to practice your spike over and over again. You can do this at home by using a cord as a makeshift net. This allows you to see if you are spiking high enough. The best attackers are able to combine force with precision. They are able to see the weak points in the defense of the other team and exploit these by attacking these over and over again. This allows them to score a ton of points for their team in a short period of time. 

Improve your jump

If you jump higher, you can push the ball harder. Not enough attention is paid to this during training sessions. You can practice at home by using ankle weights or jumping on a trampoline. Using big steps can also increase your speed and allow you to jump higher. This is further explained in the following video:

Just be careful that you don’t touch the net when you jump as this will result in a point for the other team. This can take a lot of practice

During summer I often practice beach volleyball as that ball is heavier and this pushes me to smash harder. When the indoor season starts again, I am used to this heavier ball and can smash harder. You can also do push-ups and other training drills to improve the strength of your arms. It can take several weeks before you see results but it will be well worth it. Once again, this is something that most coaches don’t pay attention to but can be a hidden advantage for you. 

Film yourself

Filming yourself is a great way to get better at something. You can watch the footage in slow motion and rewatch it several times. This allows you to see the nuances of your jump and hit. There is software to analyze every step of this. You can send the clip to several coaches to get input on how to improve your spike. Just film yourself during a match or at home and check what is going on. The great thing about this is that you can see the evolution over time and adjust your attack based on this information. 

You don’t need special equipment for this. A standard smartphone will do. Just make sure that there is enough light so that the images are clear. This has helped me tremendously when I wanted to improve my spiking skills. 

To conclude we can state that there are several ways in which you can improve your spike as a volleyball player. It is a skill that everyone on the team has to be good at as the hitters might not be able to attack. You have to be able to evade the block and find a part of the court that is less well defended.  

Let’s take a look at some powerful spikes: