Setting off a Lead Leg

Setting off a Lead Leg

Spend any time discussing setting with another coach, and “what type of footwork do you teach?” pops up pretty quick. It tends to be a hot button issue at our GMS clinics as well (something has to take swing blocking’s place…). Ron Larsen did a great study for us here at LMU, and combining that with our work at USA WNT, here’s one item of setter footwork I believe is important to teach your setters:

Set off a lead leg

This is one way of saying the setter’s right foot should be forward when setting the ball. Depending on where the pass is, the most effective and dynamic choices currently would be to jump set (when the quick is involved) or to pivot (every other time). The benefits of jump setting are pretty widely acknowledged:

  1. Speeds up the offense by shortening the distance between the quick hitter and the setter
  2. Jumping in the air adds one more visual element for the block defense to interpret thus making the setter more difficult to read

The benefits of the pivot may not be as widely acknowledged, but here’s what we’ve found them to be:

  1. Running and pivoting allows a setter to run fast all the way to the ball, and use the rotation of the pivot to create balance. This is a lot more efficient than trying to put two feet on the ground when running hard to a ball, which is essentially like putting on the brakes
  2. The rotation of the pivot creates some torque, and this extra power sure is nice when encouraging setters to get out of their third of the court and set against the flow.
  3. Similar to #1, when the setter is on the move, the pivot allows a simple and dynamic way to finish square to the target

Some keys we’ve used to improve this move:

  1. Read the pass: It’s amazing how under-developed this skill is. Most setters do not look at the passer’s platform until the passer’s forearms actually connect to the ball. This is way too late. Getting on the platform early gives the setter time to run, and once they’re running, this pivot move becomes a lot easier.
  2. Face the ball, face the target: This is all done off the right foot. Run to the ball, pivot, and finish facing the left-side target.
  3. Knee up, not foot out: Lots of setter’s pivot, but they are almost spinning their body with two feet on the ground. This creates drag and doesn’t allow for the benefits of the move to come into play. Driving the left knee up allows for a tighter axis, better rotation, more torque, and a more dynamic move.

Good luck to all our setters!

Tom Black

3 comments on Setting off a Lead Leg

  1. Jeff Parker says:

    Great article, thanks Tom and Ron.

    My question: Is there an issue with “tilting” as opposed to “pivoting”? I know the words we have used are to “spin” but sometimes the setter ends up tilting instead of squaring to the target.

  2. GMS Admin says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I’m not sure I have a complete visual of what you’re asking but I know one thing we discuss a lot is “It’s not where your hands are, it’s where your midline is.” Lots of setters stop running once they get their hands on the ball, which creates a low and in front contact point and could create the “tilt” I think you’re acknowledging as they rotate to get square. The whole point of this pivot move is to allow the setter to run all the way to the point where their midline is under it. This is generally a reps and feedback issue like most things we deal with as coaches.

    Hope this helps – Tom

  3. Scott says:

    I am a sophomore and am a setter at a DI college. An assistant coach is attempting to “break me” of the habit of setting off one leg — something I have been doing my entire volleyball career. He is stuck on the traditional thinking of “get to the ball, stop, square up, jump straight up, set the ball,” not a very dynamic or efficient way of setting, if you ask me. How would you suggest getting an “old school” setting coach to embrace this style of setting from the perspective of an athlete?

    Any advice would be awesome!

    Thanks!

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