Volleyball players generally don’t wear gloves when they play. The main exception is winter volleyball as the snow makes it very cold to touch the ball after a while. Another reason could be to recover from an injury. Gloves can impact your ball control so for this reason it is not commonly worn during a training session or matches. Let’s look into this further and discuss what volleyball gloves are.
Training aids for setting
Volleyball gloves, therefore, refer to a training aid that helps setters. Setting is giving an assist to another player. This needs to happen very precisely and this requires a lot of practice. The ball needs to arrive at the right height, with the correct speed and spin. This requires a lot of ball control to pull this off. There are typically only one or two setters per team so they have to be able to act quickly to help the team win.
Volleyball gloves are in essence gloves with a ball stitched in the front. This makes sure that players fold their hands. A lot of beginners want to use the palm of their hands to pass the ball but this is not optimal as you don’t have a lot of control over the ball in this way. These gloves make sure that your hands are folded in the right way.
You just put on the gloves. Often there is a velcro strap to make them feel snug. Make sure that the ball is laying in the palm of your hand. This part shouldn’t move when you give it a nudge. If this is the case, you are wearing the gloves correctly. You might need to adjust them a few times to get it exactly right. Finding the correct position is essential. Once you are confident that they are in the right place, you can start practicing.
Overall, it is a good system given that it is quite affordable. The challenge is that the ball is not adjustable in size and has to work for players with bigger hands as well. Professional players don’t have to wear these anymore as they know how to set a ball.
Other systems use straps instead of gloves. A ball is added in the middle of the ball. This is design is cheaper and can be adjusted to the size of the hands. The main disadvantage of this is that the ball can move around while you are passing and this makes it less consistent. It can give the player the wrong impression as the ball is moving between passes. Therefore gloves work better for this purpose.
There are also nets for setters. These nets can be adjusted in height and angle. The setter has to get the ball in the net. This is quite challenging as the net is quite small. This allows setters to practice a lot of times in short succession without having to worry that the ball will roll around everywhere. This system is quite expensive and more developed for teams that have a bigger budget.
Setting drills: become a better setter
These drills can be done with or without the discussed training gloves. This is done by passing to yourself by pushing the ball vertically in the air. You keep doing this for several minutes on end until you feel that you have the right-hand position. You can then take off the gloves and do the same drill and see if your hand position is still correct. You might need to repeat this for several weeks until you fully master this and it becomes an automatic reflex. You don’t have a lot of time when you are playing volleyball and therefore the correct hand positions have to be used without thinking.
You can do this drill against a wall as well. Using one hand or one leg can make it more challenging. Let’s take a look at some more drills below:
You can also ask a friend to pass you the ball. Then you have to pass it back. You can start slowly so that you can feel the ball coming. After a while, you can start to speed up the passes so that you have to improve your passing skills. This can be challenging at first and you might drop the ball quite often. That is OK as you will get better over time. You have to spend at least 15 minutes on this per day if you want to get better at it.
To make it more complicated, you can invite multiple friends. You then pass to each other while one player is standing in the middle. That player has to catch the ball. If he or she succeeds in doing so, the player that lost the ball has to go in the middle of the group and try to retrieve the ball. Only overhand passes are allowed. Always pay attention to your hands and feet so that you use the correct passing technique. Let’s go over this again to make sure that you get it right.
Setting is more than just having the right-hand position and technique. The rest of your technique has to be correct as well. Let’s take a look at how the Olympic gold medal winner for team USA Rachael Adams explains this in more detail. It might be necessary to watch this video multiple times so that you get all the nuances of setting just right. The position of your feet is essential as well. This can only be perfected by repetition. A lot of players don’t want to repeat the same drills over and over again but this is the only thing that can improve your skills. Professional players often practice for hours on end.
You have to communicate with the libero and hitter so verbal and nonverbal communication are essential for a hitter as well. Being a setter is quite complex. Being able to execute the right technique is essential but not enough. You have to talk to the other players and get to know their preferences. You also have to anticipate and think about how other players will act. Setters often coordinate an attack by picking to whom they are going to pass. This requires intimate knowledge of your own team and also the other team as you need to find weak points in their defense.
To conclude, we can state that volleyball gloves are an excellent training aid for setters that are starting out. Everyone on the team has to be able to do this if the setters on the team are occupied. Therefore it can be a great team purchase and everyone on the team can use them. These gloves teach players to bend their hands when they are passing. This is essential when you want to control the ball. These gloves should only be worn a few weeks before players are used to this. There is also a cheaper system that uses a strap instead of a glove but these are less useful as the ball can move all the time, resulting in a confused player as the feeling is always different. We discussed other training aids before here.