A while back, Mark from At Home on the Court wrote a post on the subject of technical vs. non-technical reasons for errors in volleyball. In it he blamed lack of readiness for many of the mistakes we see in play. He once specifically highlighted that with regards to players playing the ball with their feet.
Now, we’re not talking about a player sliding toward the sign boards or the score table. We’re talking about a player who has their weight on their heels. That means they basically have no option but to perform a “kick save” type action. Their lack of defensive readiness prevents them doing anything else.
I’ll add a layer of readiness to the mix by including trust in the discussion. Specifically, I’m talking about the trust between players that someone is going to make a play.
This is something that was very much on my mind once following a training session with Svedala. I saw players making really outstanding plays on the ball. They were recovering balls from out of the net, chasing balls down all over the place, and keeping what looked like sure-thing kill balls from hitting the floor. Too often, though, I saw teammates not anticipating and being ready to make a good next contact.
The same applies to hitters with respect to sets. While I was at Exeter I had a setter one year who loved to do counter-flow back sets to the Zone 2 pin. This sometimes caught our hitters flat-footed because they didn’t expect it, even though it was exactly the right choice in the situation.
Trust in one’s teammates to do their job and to make plays goes a long way toward readiness.
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