Train your passers to focus in on the following "cues" from the server-their serve receive skills will improve dramatically!
1. Where are the server's hips and shoulders squared to? All servers square to the direction they are going to attempt to serve the ball. 2. Where is the server stepping with their front foot? Just as when an athlete throws a ball they will step in the direction they are attempting to serve. NOTE: When facing a server who doesn't step, simply focus in on where their front foot is pointing. 3. As they begin to serve, where is their serving arm moving towards? Again, just as when throwing a ball, the server's serving arm will begin forward in the direction they are attempting to serve. Switching the focus to the ball: Once the server contacts the ball, passers must immediately pick up on the following "cues" from the ball: 1. Speed-how fast is the ball traveling-it will only slow down from the time it leaves the server's hand-if it comes out slow-it's going to be short! 2. Spin-is it top spinning? 3. Height-how high above the net is the ball traveling? By learning to pick up on these three cues and their possible combinations the passer can predict the ball's course and react to it's flight more quickly. Examples of possible cue combinations: 1. Fast,low and top-spin: The ball will dive quickly toward the end of it's flight. It will be medium in depth at best. 2. Fast, high and top spin: The ball will be deeper and may come down by the back line. 3. Fast, high, and floating: The ball will be deeper, and may be out. 4. Slow, high, and floating: The ball will be shorter, coming down further up in the court than thought. 5. Fast, low, and floating: The ball will be medium to long in depth, and may go long. NOTE: Many times, I relate this to reading the flight of a softball off the bat on a fly ball in the outfield (I coach at a softball mecca). Teaching your players to focus in on these cues will immediately improve their reaction time and movement to the ball. At the same time, it will keep their thoughts clear, focused on the task at hand, and free of any distractions! - Dave Cross National Director "Yes, I Can!" Volleyball www.yesicansports.com Head Coach Keystone H.S. Lagrange, Ohio