I’m going to get straight to the point. The Art of Volleyball Hitting is not a book I’d recommend. It’s supposed to be for players rather than coaches. Even still, I think it falls short.

Let’s start with the format of the Kindle edition, which I read. Basically, it looks like the author uploaded the book as a PDF rather than using more appropriate formatting. What this means is each page – of which there is about 50 – is an image. Very hard to read on a small screen, like a phone.

Now for the content. It must first be noted that the author is not a coach. In his bio he describes himself as a player with 30+ years of experience. The result is a decided lack of anything substantial in the area of biomechanics.

The book starts with a couple of set diagrams. One shows the main front row sets, while the other focuses on the back row. The author, though, doesn’t use any system I’ve ever seen. He basically just numbers the sets 1 through 9 across the two charts. This is a bit problematic as he actually uses 7 on both (fast tempo right side set and standard back row set to zone 5). Later, he has a second diagram with a different numbering system that includes more specifics with respect to actual set location (like distance off the net).

All of these numbers come up in the author’s description of attacking those sets – along with his discussion of the different types of attacks. The latter is where the author shows his age. His use of the term “dink” certainly harks back quite a few years. The last time I heard that term regularly was late 80s, perhaps early 90s. It’s also worth noting that among those different types of attacks there’s no mention of using the block.

Interestingly, the author lists kill percentages for different sets. Unfortunately, he provides no source for these figures. He also expresses his surprise that certain attacks don’t score more often, especially the hard cross court swing. In other words, the ball many defensive systems specifically look to address because of its frequency.

The bottom line is that nothing in this book really jumped out to me as insightful, and much of it could just confuse things. That, along with the terrible format of the Kindle version is why I can’t recommend this book to either coaches or players. There are much better resources available.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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