I received an email from a reader who is a player. Not sure if they have a coach for their team or not, but they definitely asked questions coaches often ask. There are two separate ones for me to address.

1. My teammates can be lazy (not going after balls, expecting other girls to get THEIR balls), react slow (slow movements when the ball comes to them), lack communication (not calling for the ball), they don’t move constantly (not following the ball), etc. What can i do to get rid of these problems?

My first reaction when I read something like this question is to ask whether the player involved really know if the ball is theirs or not. In other words, do they know the seam responsibilities? This also ties in with the calling the ball. Usually it’s not about laziness. It’s about being tentative because they are unsure. Fix the unsure part and the rest will get much better.

Going a little further in terms of reacting late to the ball, this is also a function of training and experience. It takes lots and lots of repetitions for players to develop the skills to read and anticipate ball flight. In other words, to make them quicker to react to the ball.

2. There are multiple girls on my team whose serves don’t go over the net. Most of the time they don’t even get the ball past the side that they’re serving on. How can i tell whether or not they’re physically weak or they just have bad form? There are also girls who put too much power in their serves and their serves end up being waaaay out. What can i do to help them?

I don’t know the age of the players involved here, so it’s hard to judge if physical weakness is a real issue. I suspect that it’s not, though, unless we’re talking about quite young athletes. Most of the time weak serves come from lack of arm speed and/or other mechanical issues.

In any case, I wrote a post that addresses most of these questions – Why does my volleyball team miss serves? That one also links to one I wrote on teaching serving to beginners. Both should be useful here.

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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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