Propper passing body and foot positioning

Questions come up at times (as this article indicates) about body position when passing or receiving serve. This is particularly the case where the feet are concerned. Some coaches ask the question whether a passer should be square to where the ball is coming from. Or should they be square to their passing target? Another question is whether a player should have their feet even or slightly staggered with one in front of the other. If the latter, which foot forward?

I think the response to the first question you will almost uniformly hear from experienced coaches is that they want players square to the ball, not to target. This lets them move laterally in reaction to the flight of the ball. The one possible exception I would suggest is in the case of a line defender. There you can opt for an “on-help” position. That is where the player is turned somewhat into the court rather than straight on to the hitter. This can help better dig balls toward the center of the court rather than straight toward the net where it is harder to set.

In terms of foot positioning, many favor a slight stagger. The argument is this is a better reaction position than parallel feet. As to which foot to put forward, I personally leave it to the player’s comfort.

The one thing I would note, however, is that none of the body and foot position stuff matters at all if the player’s platform is wrong. No matter what, the player has to orient their platform properly toward target on ball contact. The ball goes where the platform is facing.

John Forman
About the Author: John Forman
John currently coaches for an NCAA Division II women's team. This follows a stint as head coach for a women's professional team in Sweden. Prior to that he was the head coach for the University of Exeter Volleyball Club BUCS teams (roughly the UK version of the NCAA) while working toward a PhD. He previously coached in Division I of NCAA Women's Volleyball in the US, with additional experience at the Juniors club level, both coaching and managing, among numerous other volleyball adventures. Learn more on his bio page.

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