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My Top Facts about Volleyball

Last updated on June 20, 2018

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First, what is Volleyball?

Wikipedia –


Wikipedia has this basic description about Volleyball:

“Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams made up of six players are separated by a net. Each team attempts to score points by grounding a ball on the other team’s court under organized rules. 


It also states that Beach volleyball, is a variation of the game played on sand and with only two players per team.”


However, I’ve played volleyball for almost 20 years and most of the recreational volleyball I’ve played is with six players whether I’ve played indoors or outdoors.  (I’m sure that is to allow more people to participate).  I’ve played and coached all ladies volleyball in recreational leagues and our own USBA Ladies team.  I’ve also played lots of recreational Co-Ed volleyball(mixed men and women teams).  In fact, I met my husband playing indoor Co-Ed volleyball.

Benefits to Playing Volleyball

Playing volleyball will exercise you both physically and mentally.  Volleyball exercises many parts of your body and encourages players to develop individual skills through practice and drills and also to work well together with the others on their team to execute “plays”and earn points against their opponents.  Playing Volleyball will improve your balance, your hand-eye coordination and will definitely enhance your reflexes.  In addition, playing volleyball for 45 minutes can burn around 585 calories.

I found that volleyball is fun for me because it is both an individual and a team sport.  Learning how to serve, pass, set, spike and block well are individual skills you can practice for yourself.  But playing as a team with rules and working to get a good “pass to the Setter”, a well placed “set”, and an awesome “hit or spike” by the third player is the most fun of all.  There is nothing like setting up a “play” between 2 or 3 players and making a point or sideout with a well-executed  set up for “spike” or “tip”.

Skills You Need to Learn

1.  Serving (assuming 6 players)

When playing with 6 players (3 in the front and 3 in the back on each team), the back right player will serve from just outside the back right of the court line.

    1. You should stand with hips square, facing the net.  Hold the ball with your non-dominant arm in from of you.  Your dominant arm is your hitting arm.
    2. Step back with the foot on the same side as your dominant arm.  Slightly bend both knees and shift most of your body weight to the back foot.
    3. Holding the ball in front of you, with the non-dominant arm extended and resting in the non-dominant hand, about chest level. Cock your dominant arm back, bending at the elbow (think “bow and arrow”)
    4. Bring the ball across your body in front of the dominant arm and position it in front of the hitting arm. Give it a slight toss straight up.  (The toss should be enough to allow your hitting arm and time to reach the ball at its height as you step forward into your strike.)
    5. Step into the serve, striking the ball with your open hand with all 5 pads of your finger touching the ball and your palm also.

Bring your hitting arm back, then shift your weight from the back foot to the front, stepping into the serve as you make contact with the ball at the highest point of the toss and keep your striking hand moving straight into the ball from the cocked position.  Aim for just below the center of the ball, with your five-point contact and continuethe forward motion with your striking hand after you strike the ball solidly, following through with the strike toward the ground.

Common Problems

  • Picking up the back foot when serving
  • Not tossing the ball straight up or the right vertical distance
  • Contacting the ball too low


Watch this  Serving Video to see this action for yourself.

2.  Passing (also called a forearm pass or bump)

The basic move when receiving the served ball is called a “pass” or “bump.”  It is called a “dig” when you are use the same technigue when dealing with an attack (spiked ball).  Passing is a very important part of the game.  Your team must be able to pass correctly in order to return any serve or set up a good attack against your opponents.

Put your body in the “Ready position”

  • Be “ready” with arms at aright angle from your body, straight in front of you
  • Extend legs and move both of your arms from shoulders
  • Your body should be bent forward at the waist and moving shoulders forward with your hips back in a type of squat.
  • Maintain a right angle between arms and upper body.
  • Both legs should also be bent at the knees (assuming a slight squat position with weight on the pads of your feet)
  • Contact the ball on the FOREARMS together in the “sweet spot” (the platform formed with  your forearms and hands together and forearms hyperextended)
  • The Ball should come off the same spot on your lower forearms (just above the wrists) each time
  • The ball should be contacted in the air at hip level as often as possible
  • Keep hips BACK during the pass.
  • If you need to swing your arms, the arms should swing minimally in only one direction (toward the target in a pushing, shrugging or shoving motion) while passing.
  • Make sure your forearms face in the direction you want the ball to go.
  • Start out facing the server, and always face the ball when you pass.
  • Finish with both hands pointing to the target of your pass and still pressed together.
  • Use SIDE TO SIDE SHUFFLE STEPS to move to the ball without crossing your feet.
  • Try to get to the spot before the ball does.
  • Have A CONSISTENT CONTACT POINT on your forearms

Common problems

  • “Stuck in the mud” – no movement
  • Bent elbows, making you scoop the ball instead of it rebounding off of your arms to the target area.
  • Too much arm swing so the ball goes up or even behind you.
  • Contacting the ball with hands apart
  • Contacting the ball on the hands, not the forearms


Watch this Passing Video to see this action for yourself.

3.  Setting or Overhand pass

The set or overhand pass is typically the second touch of the ball after receiving the served ball from the opposing team.  The first touch is the pass or bump to the “settter” player.  The set is the touch that “sets” up the ball to a  third teammate to “spike” or attack the ball toward the other team with the intention of making a “point”.

  • Start in a ready position facing the target area of your set.
  • Spread fingers in the shape of a ball above your head.
  • The correct contact point is just above the forehead (hairline).
  • Place hands directly in front of the face close to the forehead. This is always the starting position for the set.
  • Form a triangle with thumbs and pointer fingers (hands should not be touching)
  • Wait for the ball with hands 4 to 6 inches above the forehead.
  • Thumbs and index fingers form a triangle through which you can see the ball (through the triangular window).
  • The rest of hands form the shape of a ball.
  • When contacting the ball, the hands move in one direction only.
  • Align your body 3 foot from the net just to the right of middle court facing left toward the left side of your courtside for all of your sets
  • With your right foot in front, square off to your  target with shoulders and feet before you deliver the set
  • When contacting and setting the ball, put your weight on the back foot (left) and at contact, transfer weight to the front foot (right) with a slight jumping/pushing of your body behind the ball.
  • On contact, set the ball by extending the arms and legs, as if in a slight jump toward the stop where you want to send the ball.
  • Your arms will be fully extended in the direction you want the ball to go. (Your hands should be the same “ball” size distance apart upon completion of the set as they were when they first contacted the ball).
  • Your hands follow through after the ball leaves your hands.
  • The correct body position is with the ball, forehead, and hips in a vertical line both before and after the set.

Common Problems

  • Committing a “carry” (and illegal touch, where a player makes contact with the ball for an excessive amount of time during a set or uses the palms of the hands only. The exact duration that defines a carry is a judgment call for the referee).
  • Facing where the ball is coming from on contact, instead of toward the eventual target area of the set.


Watch this setting Video 1

Watch this setting Video 2

Watch this setting Video 3

4.  The Spike!

Spiking (an attack skill) is the technique of sending the ball over the net with power your opponent’s court. Attacks include taking 2-4 steps to approach toward the net, making a vertical hump to hit the ball. This approach and hit (known as a SPIKE) is an exciting part of a Volleyball game. When playing with 6 players, the spiker is a typically a front row player and their main job is to spike balls over the net into the opposing team’s side of the court.

  1. In a spike or attack of the volleyball, the hitter should be anywhere from 8 to 12 steps away from the net, anticipating the set.
  2. There are a four-step approach and a three-step approach depending on the hitter.  If the hitter is right-handed,  he/she begins the attack with their right foot and left-handed volleyball hitters will begin the approach with their left foot.
  3. The hitter/attacker will extend his/her arms and swing the arms down and back, then upward as high as they can on the 2nd or 3rd step (depending on the use of a 3 or 4 step approach). The swing of the arms provides an extensive sweeping upward type motion, which helps the volleyball hitter jump higher off the ground.  The hitting arm will cock back behind the shoulder and quickly move forward in a whipping type motion to hit the ball with an open hand.
  4. The volleyball hitters’ arm will whip so that the hitting hand comes through the volleyball with a shoulder snap.
  5. When contact to the ball is made, the volleyball hitters’ hand needs to be open and strong so that the volleyball is hit on the top half of the ball in a sharp 5-contact motion.
  6. The hitting arm will follow through after the hitting contact is made (while avoiding contact with the net).

Common Problems

  • Player uses the wrong footwork on the approach
  • The player’s jump is too far under the ball causes he/she to reach back to strike the ball.
  • The player’s jump is not straight up or vertical but continues into the net.
  • The player hits the ball out of the court instead of down into the opponent’s court.


Volleyball Drills

Awesome Links for Volleyball


The Bella Vista Online Mall has a special “Volleyball Shop” where equipment, including training aides, have been suggested to help your Volleyball Game.  Check it out HERE.


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