Volleyball Skills

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  • 0:04 Volleyball: Overview
  • 0:53 The Serve
  • 1:56 The Block
  • 3:04 Forearm & Overhand Pass
  • 4:52 The Spike
  • 5:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

You may have played volleyball at the last church social, but if you want to be more competitive at the sport, you'll need to learn and practice the five basic volleyball shots. This lesson describes the shots you'll need to know to be the king or queen of the court.

Volleyball: Overview

Charlie tells his new friend and neighbor Jermaine that he wants to play volleyball on the high school team. 'I don't know if you're going to be able to make the team, Charlie,' Jermaine says. 'You're a great athlete, but you just moved here and haven't played volleyball before. At the very minimum, you'll have to get the five basic shots down to stand a chance, and you've only got five days!'

Charlie does some quick math in his head. 'Well, that means you could coach me on one shot a day. You're a great teacher, and you know I'm a fast learner!'

'I think you're crazy, but let's give it a try!' replies Jermaine. 'In order, you'll need to learn the five basics hits in volleyball: serve, block, forearm pass, overhand pass, and spike. First lesson will be on the beach 30 minutes after school,' says a laughing Jermaine.

The Serve

The first thing Charlie needs to learn is the serve. During this move, a player stands at the back line of the volleyball court and hits the ball to the opposing team's side, thereby beginning the game, or play. A few minutes into the first session, Charlie is having trouble with this and asks his new teacher, 'Why do I keep hitting the ball into the net?'

'The problem is that you just started serving five minutes ago, and you haven't learned the proper technique yet. Let's go over the steps for right-handed servers:

  • toss the ball overhead with your left hand;
  • step forward with your left foot, making sure that it stays behind the line;
  • using your right hand, hit the middle of the ball with a straight wrist and open hand.'

A player serves the ball from the back line.

Charlie, being new to the sport, has issues with each step. His toss is a little low and slightly too far forward. He's not stepping forward far enough, and the ball spins because he's snapping his wrist. But Jermaine is a good and patient teacher. By the end of the session most of Charlie's serves are landing on the opposing team's side with some speed.

The Block

The next day Charlie and Jermaine work on the block, a move used at the net to prevent the opposing team from hitting the ball over the net. Jermaine starts by explaining, 'We don't have enough time to work on advanced techniques. We're just going to go over the form for a single-player block once you know where the ball is going to be hit.' He then explains the steps for a proper block:

  • time the jump so that you reach your maximum height just as the spiker makes contact with the ball;
  • keep your arms straight and hands open;
  • angle your arms slightly over the net and slightly toward the inside of the opponent's court;
  • be sure to land on your side of the net without touching it.

'What you're trying to do is take away as much of the angle of the spiker as possible, while also sending the ball back onto the opponent's side of the court.'

Twenty minutes later Charlie complains, 'I'm getting tired from jumping, and my arms sting from where you keep hitting the ball into me.'

'Do you want to make the team or not?' asks Jermaine. 'Your jump and arm angles look good, but you are still landing in the net too often. Let's do another 10 minutes and call it a day.'

Forearm & Overhand Passes

The next day Charlie and Jermaine work on the forearm pass, a move used to receive a serve and get the ball to the front line for a hit. Jermaine sets up the situation: 'You served the ball and then the opponent's return comes to you. You have to pass the ball to the setter with your forearms.'

Jermaine then goes over proper form for a forearm pass:

  • keep your wrists together and all of your fingers crossed;
  • start with your arms straight and pointing toward the ground at an angle;
  • adjust your arms to the desired angle just before contact;
  • bend your knees, but straighten them out to provide more power as you make contact with the ball.

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