Question: More Passing

Question About Serve-Receive

From a GMS volleyball clinic attendee:

I was just wondering if you could give me some more thoughts on Serve Receive and how to make players stronger mentally. I feel like I devote a lot of my practice to Serve Receive, but we have gotten worse. We started well but have dropped off. I am trying to figure out if I need to change the people in Serve Receive or say things a different way.

We stress all the things you talk about. Pass in the midline or left, face the ball angle the platform, having passing lane responsibilities.

Do you suggest any other emphasis or more that we can do?

Hope you guys are doing well. Thanks for helping to make us better coaches.

Our Response:

I am making the assumption (perhaps a big one here) that your kids’ mechanics are solid. They have good wrists and hands, a straight and simple platform, and they face the ball and angle well. If all those things are in place, then you are a long way along. If not, more feedback and more reps.

I find that once the mechanics are solid, you’ll spend the rest of your coaching career working on the last two keys – getting them to work like crazy to move so that they take a lot of balls midline, and making sure they focus INTENTLY on the server early in the process. Then they have to see the ball really well during its flight.

At some point during one of these clinics, I heard that Karch said that he started focusing on the server when they were given the ball – he looked up long enough to get the set call, then was back on the server. He was watching their eyes to see where they were looking, their body language, then their serving motion. All this helped give him clues about the upcoming serve.

Finally, you ask about mental toughness. About the only thing you can do with this is get a TON of passing reps so that they start to feel comfortable. And create environments in practice that are competitive when it comes to passing. Those in-a-row drills are fun, and we always simply charted our passers during some of those drills. If they know they are being scored, it becomes a much bigger deal. But all that having been said, I still got butterflies out there to start a match, no matter how many times I had done it in practice. It is really hard to simulate a match environment.

I hope this helps.


One comment on “Question: More Passing

  1. Corey_FL says:

    >I’ve found that the thing that all athletes need to feel is success. Without the success they cannot feel autonomous on the court and then they stop having fun.

    When I have athletes that are struggling with their passing I ask the servers to temporarily dial down the intensity of their serves or maybe I’ll just start bowling (throwing) the balls over to them. For some reason when I bowl the balls I notice an immediate change in their mentality and confidence. I think it is because it changes their perception of the difficulty of the skillset/drill and gives them a chance to reset and start becoming confident and autonomous again.

    Likewise, if I have a struggling hitter or attack server, I’ll ask them to go at 50 percent until they’re successful and then I’ll ask them to move to 75 percent and so on and so forth until they are confident enough to go full blast.

    In my opinion, passing is the most mentally demanding part of the game – especially if the team or player isn’t confident or hasn’t experienced much success. I hope this helps.

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