In the same edition of the AVCA Coaching Volleyball magazine as one of my own pieces (link no longer available) there’s an article from former Nebraska head coach Terry Pettit. Did you know I interviewed Terry for Volleyball Coaching Wizards?
Anyway, Terry speaks to developing strategies and tactics. Definitely give it a read. In particular, the fourth point is one that I shared with my team:
Teams that block and serve create a third dimension. Tough serving allows a good blocking team to become a great blocking team. Volleyball is a game of runs, which are usually created by nudging the opponent toward unforced errors. While kills may be impressive, they do not demoralize an opponent nearly as much as aggressive serving and blocking.
Good serving was a major focus of mine when I coached at Exeter, and it continued to be a point of concentration at Svedala. There, though, I also had a pretty good blocking squad. We led the Swedish league in blocks per set by a large margin. That isn’t necessarily the best way to judge blocking effectiveness, but it’s a starting point.
The fun part was we were not even at our best from a technical, positioning, and timing perspective. 🙂
This is something that definitely factored into our performance at MSU in 2017.
It’s not just about serving tough to make it harder for the other team to run their offense. It can also be about trying to create specific, predictable situations and finding other ways to help your block and defense out.
Here’s an example.
When I coached at Brown University there was a season I picked up a pattern from the Yale setter. She set the ball more quickly when the pass was from Zones 5 and 6 than from Zone 1. It was enough of a difference to impact our MB closing the block or not. So what did we do? We aimed a lot of balls at Zone 1, of course!
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