As I commented on in Being reminded of the coaching similarities, coaching at the various levels of volleyball isn’t as different as we might think. An example is something I saw a few professional players have an issue with. Namely, using their arms too much in passing easy balls. This isn’t a real issue if that movement is small. If it’s more exaggerated, however, it can be problematic. It likely indicates poor movement.
There is a pretty easy way to diagnose when a player is using too much arm when passing. It’s the rotation of the ball. In theory, a free ball or float serve should come off a passer’s arms without much in the way of spin. When a player is using too much arm swing, however, there can be top spin on the passed ball. This comes from the player taking the ball somewhat high on their arms. It effectively rolls slightly along their arms as they direct it toward the net. This generally happens when a player lets the ball get too close to their body. Oftentimes that’s because they did not move back far enough on a deeper ball. Alternatively, they did not get their body out of the way to allow for for passing outside their body line.
I bring this specific passing thing up for two reasons. One is to reinforce what I said earlier. Even professional players can have glaring technical issues coaches will want to try to address. The other is as an example of a way we can provide cues players can use on their own. That way we don’t have to watch every repetition. In this case, a player who sees the ball they just passed rolling with topspin toward the setter knows they played the ball improperly.
The more of these sorts of cues we can provide our players, the more they can coach themselves. We don’t want to overdo things of course. Best to just give each player no more than a couple of things. That way we can avoid overwhelming them. Even doing just that little bit, though, multiplies our coaching many times. It also potentially allows us to focus on bigger picture elements.
Of course it’s not enough to tell a player to be on the lookout for something like topspin on a passed ball. You also need to diagnose the problem and tell them how to correct it.
Note: The passing example above does not express a specific view of proper technique. That debate is for another place. It is nothing more than a sample of one possible situation and how to implement self-coaching cues.
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