The title of this post comes from a comment on Facebook. It was a response to my post Setter: Go for everything or call for help?

I honestly think this is the worst possible solution. Either you want the setter to take the ball – in which case they shouldn’t yell “Help” at all – or your want someone else to take the ball on a bad pass – in which case you don’t want the setter charging at them full speed.

Having a sprinting setter yelling “Help” just creates confusion.

As I noted in my to call the ball or not to call the ball post, players react to movement. If the setter is moving toward the ball, other players expect them to take it, so their first response is to back away. When they then hear “Help” it’s a contrary signal. Now they don’t know what to do. This is why we often see bad results from these kinds of situations – balls dropping or players getting in each other’s way leading to bad second contacts.

So it needs to be clear to everyone. Either the setter is going for it, or someone else is taking it. You can’t have both.

6 Steps to Better Practices - Free Guide

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter today and get this free guide to making your practices the best, along with loads more coaching tips and information.

No spam ever. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

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.

    2 replies to "Don’t stop running, even if you’re calling “help”"

    • Loren

      If someone else is in a better position to set the ball, the setter should use their name to indicate who they are giving the setting responsibility to in that moment. The setter has responsibility for every 2nd ball, but that doesn’t mean they are setting every 2nd ball. Yelling “help” means 5 people are wondering if they should set the ball. Saying a teammate’s name creates clarity, and reduces uncertainty.

    • Tino

      Imo it is very important the setter is deciding as fast as possible if he/she will be able to get the ball. As soon as they call for help, they should prepare themselves either for attacking, if they are for example in a 6:2 system, or for the block rebound!

Please share your own ideas and opinions.