Someone on Twitter tagged me in a tweet in which they shared a link to a handful of setting drills. It said, “some new volleyball setting drills that improve your team setting technique.” I took a look and wasn’t impressed. For the most part, it was just variations on setting back and forth. One of them actually recommended setting a served ball.
As a starting point, none of the drills was game-like at all. In my reply I suggest to always work on setting off a pass, if possible. How often in live play do setters set a ball straight back the way it came to them? Very rarely. So why practice it so much? Let them practice movement and body position based on something more realistic. Even setting off a coach’s toss is more realistic than just setting back and forth.
But that’s not the biggest thing I thought skimming the article.
The thing that really stood out to me was the idea that you need new drills (or games) to do a better job teaching player to set. You probably don’t need a new drill. Instead, you need to provide good feedback, regardless of the activity. This is a key factor in intentional practice. Any activity in which you can focus on a given skill will work to train that skill.
What makes a drill or game useful for skill development is the quality of the feedback the player gets.
- Are you talking to them?
- Can they watch themselves on video?
- Did you structure the activity so the outcome provides direct feedback?
These are all key considerations.
So if you want to help a setter improve their skills, do two things. First, given them something specific to work on. Next, put them in as game-like a situation as you possibly can. Then, make sure they have good feedback.
This, of course, goes for any position or skill.