5 Key Volleyball Skills for Novices

June 7, 2023

Starting a new sport can be challenging, and drop-in volleyball is no exception. As a recreational player, mastering a few fundamental skills can significantly enhance your enjoyment of the game and set you on the path to success in recreational volleyball. Here are five key skills to focus on as you embark on your volleyball journey.

1. Serving:

Serving initiates the play and is one of the most essential skills in the game. While it might seem simple, a well-executed serve can give your team a considerable advantage right from the start.

How to Master It: Begin with the basic underhand serve, ensuring to make contact with the heel of your palm, not your fingers. As you grow more comfortable, you can progress to the overhand serve and eventually to more advanced serves like the jump serve. Regular practice is the key to improving your serve, so dedicate time in each training session to work on this critical skill.

2. Passing:

Passing, also known as bumping, is the act of accurately directing the ball to a teammate or over the net using your forearms. It's a foundational skill that's vital to keep the ball in play.

How to Master It: Practice your passing technique by ensuring your hands are properly linked and your elbows are straight. Aim to hit the ball on your forearms, where you have the most control. You can improve your accuracy over time by aiming your passes at a specific target.

3. Setting:

The set is a crucial second touch in volleyball that perfectly positions the ball for an attacker to hit. It requires precision and good judgment to help your team launch an effective attack.

How to Master It: Keep your fingers wide and your wrists firm when setting. As the ball makes contact with your hands, push it upward using your legs and arms. Aim to set the ball about a foot away from the net for your attackers. Like any skill, it’s important to practice setting often to improve your touch and accuracy.

4. Hitting:

Hitting or spiking is the skill of forcefully driving the ball over the net into the opponent's court. It's an exciting aspect of volleyball that can make a significant impact on the game's outcome.

How to Master It: Start by mastering the three-step approach - left foot, right foot, left foot for right-handers and the opposite for left-handers. Then, practice your arm swing, ensuring to make contact with the top part of the ball and following through after the hit. This skill takes time to master, so be patient with your progress and keep practicing.

5. Blocking:

Blocking is the first line of defense against a hitter and an effective way to stop an opponent's attack before it crosses the net.

How to Master It: The key to a good block is timing and positioning. Practice jumping off both feet and extending your arms straight up and just past the net when blocking. Your goal is to take away space from the hitter, forcing them to adjust their shot.

As a recreational level player in the drop-in volleyball scene, don't be discouraged if you don't master these skills immediately. Like any sport, volleyball requires patience, practice, and a positive attitude. Take advantage of the numerous opportunities to play and learn, and remember that every player on the court started where you are now.

While improving your skills is important, never lose sight of the main reason you're playing - to have fun. Recreational volleyball is as much about camaraderie and enjoyment as it is about competition. So embrace the journey of learning and improving, enjoy each game, and make the most of your pick up volleyball experience.

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