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Improving Spikes in Volleyball

Focus on a fast arm swing

Many players fail to get the most out of their hits because they think “hit hard” rather than “swing fast”. Power in a spike comes from the speed of the hand at contact. A good arm swing starts with an open torso (which should come from proper approach mechanics) as power begins with twisting through the core with the elbow drawn back. That then carries through the shoulder as the elbow comes forward. It finishes with the arm extending at speed to ball contact. Players get into trouble when they swing from the shoulder, not just in terms of inefficient spikes, but also in increased likelihood of injury.

Contact at full extension

Execution of a proper fast arm swing as mentioned above will see the player strike the ball at the highest possible contact point. This is critical in many ways. Obviously, it creates the best possible attack angle. Players, however, will often drop their arm. Not only is this less efficient, it also leads to a lot of hitting errors. This is particularly noticeable when hitters are trying to hit down the line and when they have no

Volleyball Warm Up Drills

When I say the context, I mean the type of team you have and the priorities you have for them. Warm-ups for a group of 12-and-unders will be considerably different than for elite college level athletes, for example. The kids won’t need all that much to get them physically ready to go, but the college players may. Similarly, warm-ups for a team whose focus is primarily on development might be quite different from those in a mainly competitive environment. A developmental team can use warm-ups to help skill development while for the competitive team may want to simply have the most efficient way to prepare players’ bodies for the rigors of gameplay and perhaps work on tactical elements.

As for purpose, what I mean here is what your warm-up is intended to accomplish. Is it to get players ready for training or for competition. Is it mainly physical or mental, or both? Using the example above, while a physical warm-up for 12-and-unders probably isn’t really necessary, a mental one could be quite important to get them focused at the start of a session. Likewise, getting ready for a match could be quite different from getting ready for

Player Refuses to Lose

Taylor Deserves Some Respect

Vince Taylor was one of a small number of players who served under both Coach Bill Foster as well as Coach Kryzewski-playing two years for each. Kryzewski had switched him from wing guard to point guard in 1981, but he was able to adjust to the change seamlessly. You may not see Vince Taylor’s name on elite lists of Duke stand-outs but he deserves genuine recognition. Taylor’s final year at Duke was a great one: he shot over 50% from the floor and led the ACC in points per game at 20.3.

Over Taylor’s Dead Body

It was senior day, Taylor’s last home game for Duke, and his teammates had never seen him so psyched. The game was a killer from the first minute. The score seesawed throughout and no team could establish a sizeable lead. The only other Duke player who scored significant points was Chip Engelland with 16. It became essentially a test of Vince Taylor’s will. Every time it looked as if Clemson might make a run, Taylor put out the fire with a score. Regulation ended in a tie, then the first and second extra periods ended