Volleyball is always, always about ball control. Footwork shifts players into positions to accomplish this. Even before the ball is set in motion, all the feet are set in place. Six players per side form front and back rows placing their feet on the court floor according to strict rules. These stipulations ensure that the whole court is covered.
The players’ begin in their staggered stance with feet apart, knees bent, hips lowered, and body weight shifted onto the balls of their feet. When the ball is served, they break formation and ‘run’ combination plays. The setter calls the plays. Each hitter knows how to approach the ‘set’ with forward momentum or how to adjust her footwork if she is not called to take that ball. Volleyball players endeavor to be in the right position (to dig, pass, set, hit / spike, or block) without getting in anyone else’s way. That takes teamwork and flexible, agile footwork.
Footwork Patterns for Setting:
As the opposing team serves the ball, the right-handed setter watches the ball in flight and predicts her teammates’ responses. She anticipates a pass before setting the ball for a spike. She stays mobile so she can deliver the set facing the hitter with her right foot forward. The ball, her forehead and hips will align vertically. In the meantime, she reads and responds to the pass:
- If the ball is passed in front of her, she takes a big step forward with her left foot, followed by a right step as she sets.
- If the ball is passed off the net, she takes a big left step sideways away from the net and then squares up to the outside antennae. She sets the ball as she shifts weight onto her right foot.
- If the ball is passed behind her, she steps back with her left foot, squares up to the target and set, shifting her weight onto her right foot. (1)
Footwork Patterns for Spiking:
The right-handed hitter approaches the set with hips open to centre court so she can create more power. She sprints her last three steps …‘Left – Right – Left’. These are biomechanically-efficient moves to transition onto a ‘planted’ foot position and then a jump. Facing, but a little behind the setter who has timed the ball’s set, the hitter starts low and jumps straight up “punching her feet through the floor and pole-vaulting off her legs”. (2) She hammers the ball over the net and lands quietly on her feet.
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Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV)
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