Last night as my team and I were waiting to practice on an occupied court, my setter and I were watching the setter that was on the court.
My setter said, "Why does she do that? That's wrong. Whoa, I used to do that, too. Wow, she's not doing that right either."
Coaches: This was an eighth grader talking.
Now I don't profess to be a coaching wizard, but here is a nine-step checklist I have all my setters follow. Use it with your squad to ensure your setters are maximizing their potential.
1.) THE SETTER MUST BE IN THE HABIT OF ASKING FOR THE BALL. Most of the time the setter will be standing at the net; but sometimes the setter will be out of position, coming from the back row, etc. So if she's not in the habit of asking for the ball, then there will be instances where the hitters will pass a ball to the net--and there will be no one there.
2.) DURING A SCRAMBLE PLAY the setter calling for the ball will be like a mother's voice to a lost child. Setters: if play is deteriorating, you must speak up. The MB's on the team are the players who most often freak on first contacts, because they get balls off the block so often. The give opponents free balls constantly because there's only a moment to make a decision. Setters: Be the mom!!
3.) SETTERS MUST MAKE A DECISION on the second contact, even if it's the wrong one. If there is confusion, then the rally is over. Setters MUST say either, "I got it," or "Doris, Doris, take it!!" I can tolerate setters making a wrong decision, but my setters are not allowed to make no decision.
4.) SETTERS MUST FACE THEIR OUTSIDE HITTER if at all possible. There's no deception if you face right when setting right, face back row when setting back row, etc. And if the other team KNOWS where the sets are going, even the bad teams will dig/block twenty percent more balls. Guess what the good teams will do.
5.) WHEN BUMP SETTING, "Don't, Don't, DON'T drop your arms down to knee-height, then set the ball while your arms are swinging". Keep your arms at rib-height and let you body set the ball. Why? Because we want the ball to go up rather than forward. Setters who drop their arms will set a few "grandma" sets. (I call them grandma sets
because that's where about fifteen percent of them will end up: in grandma's lap.)
6.) A SETTER'S BODY LOOKS THE SAME on a good pass regardless of where she's setting. So as the ball is entering the setter's hands, the opponents should not be unable to figure out if she's setting a 14, 51, 94, 32, 82, etc.
7.) HANDS MUST BE UP EARLY AND STILL to avoid lifts and double contacts.
8.) DUMP ONCE EVERY 15 MINUTES. And if the other team isn't picking them up, dump more often. If the other team is picking them all up, then you need to work on dumping at practice.
9.) Finally, THE SETTER SHOULD BE THE BIGGEST CHEERLEADER, be the hardest worker and have the best attitude on the team. Why? It's just natural for teammates to gravitate towards the person who has the most control over the outcome. If that person then has no leadership characteristics, the team is like a ship without a rudder.
You think it's coincidence that quarterbacks are the leaders? No, it's more likely that the coach saw a leader on the team and then decided to make him a quarterback.
So, if a setter wants her team to play their best, then she will encourage, cheer, smile and dedicate herself to the team's success.
Head Coach, 2009 Roanoke Juniors 16's National
JOVC Qualified-2006, 2009
Director, STAR Volleyball Camps
Author, "I Can't Wait" Drill Collection and Ebooks