Volleyball beginners may require a few tips to get you started. In this article, we will share 16 tips that we think are important to know before playing this great sport. A lot of these tips come with experience, so knowing them in the beginning of your volleyball journey will give you a head start.
1. Be Sure To Warm Up (Stretching)
Before getting out on the court, it is important to stretch and loosen up your body. By stretching your muscles, you are keeping them flexible, strong, and healthy. This will prevent you from having joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
Be sure to stretch the muscles that are going to be used the most. Shoulder and leg muscles are the most used muscles in volleyball. Doing exercises that stretch these areas out will prevent your muscles from not feeling strained when hitting or jumping.
2. Talk On The Court
Talking on the court is important in volleyball. Players should be letting each other know where they are on the court, if they are getting the ball, where the ball is coming, or what is happening on the other side of the court. There should always be communication going on between players.
Coaches love players that communicate well with each other on the court. When players communicate effectively with one another, they usually win matches. It should always be positive communication on the court that is helping the team play the game better, not ridiculing each other or calling out mistakes.
Examples of communication: calling “mine” or “I got it”, “watch cross hit”, “tip”
3. Drink plenty Of Water/Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is probably the number one thing coaches will say is very important on and off the court. When you are hydrated, it helps your body perform at the highest level. Water regulates your temperature and lubricates your joints to move smoothly.
It is important to stay hydrated before and after a practice or game as well. Drinking water before helps your body get ready for the more strenuous exercise coming later. Drinking water after helps replenish your body with the fluids and nutrients needed to avoid dehydration.
4. Learn Pass, Set, Hit
The three basic hits in volleyball are pass, set, and hit. Knowing these well will help you understand the game. When the ball comes over the net, someone passes the ball, then the setter sets the ball to a hitter, and then the hitter in the front row hits it hard over the net to score a point.
When passing the ball, put your hands together and create a platform with your arms. When the ball comes to you, get under the ball, and push the ball in a forward motion.
When setting the ball, put your hands above your head with thumbs facing your forehead and push the ball up with your fingertips.
When hitting the ball, approach the ball with the proper footwork and jump with your arm back then swing through the ball to send it over the net.
5. Always Return The Ball Under The Net
It is considered proper etiquette to the roll the ball under the net after a rally point when returning it to the opposing team. Be sure to not throw it over the net. Throwing it over the net can cause someone to get hit or hurt by the ball.
If a team does throw the ball over the net, the referee will usually give a warning to them. If it continues, the referee may give a formal warning with a card or in severe cases have the team forfeit the game.
6. Practice Serve Accuracy
When starting out playing volleyball, serve for accuracy. Your goal is to get the ball over the net as consistently as possible. Be sure to use the proper techniques such as tossing the ball in front of you and using the proper stance.
As you get more accurate with your serve, you can start spot serving into areas on the court. You can also start doing different kinds of serves such as jump serve, float serve, and short serve. It takes awhile to get to this point, so be sure to have the basics down before going into these challenges.
7. Practice Passing Accuracy
Passing is the most important skill in volleyball and is usually the first skill beginners learn. Almost every play on the court starts with a pass. So, the more accurate it is, the better. Your goal is to pass the ball up so someone else can play on it, preferably the setter. Be sure to use the proper techniques for passing such as knees bent, hands together, forearms straight into a platform, and face your target.
To have accurate passes means you are using all the techniques consistently. The more you practice the techniques to proper passing, the more comfortable you will become with passing. Everyone on the court passes, so it is very important to practice this skill often.
8. Practice Setting Accuracy
Setting is a skill that takes a lot of practice for accuracy. Because it is done above the head and with your fingertips, it takes time to just get used to the feel of that. Even though there may be a setter on the court, there are times when other players will need to set the ball to a hitter.
The goal of setting is to get the ball slightly above the net for a hitter to attack it. It is important that when you’re starting to learn to set you practice the proper techniques. Some of these techniques are get under the ball, put hands above your head with fingertips at your forehead, push the ball up and out, and set to a target.
9. Practice Hitting Accuracy
Being accurate with hitting takes a lot of practice and patience. There are several steps that need to be learned and practiced. The first thing to learn with hitting is the footwork. Then add the jumping and hitting. It is good to get some training to put all these steps together.
Once you get all the steps together, it’s time to practice, practice, practice. There really isn’t a certain time that you perfect your hit, you should always be improving. Even professional players still work on their hit.
10. Learn To Tip The Ball
Learning to tip the volleyball effectively can be an advantage. Tipping can throw off your opponent on the other side of the net. One thing you can do is read the other side of the court to see where there are holes to tip the ball. Be sure to go over the block and try to place the ball between the blockers and the back row.
Tipping the ball to the setter will throw off the opposing team. This will get them out of their routine of pass, set, hit. Also, bringing your elbow back like you are going to hit the ball is a good way to deceive the other team.
11. Wear The Correct Gear
Wearing the correct gear on the court will help you be more effective as a player. Find shoes that are comfortable, durable, and flexible as you will be moving a lot. Knee pads are a must, so finding a pair that protects your knees comfortably is important. There are many companies that specialize in volleyball equipment such as Mizuno or Under Armour.
Some other gear you might want to purchase is a high-quality volleyball, arm sleeves, and finger tape. With all the choices out there, be sure to find the equipment that is best for you.
12. Listen To Your Coach
Listening to your coach is one of the easiest ways to play your best. More than likely, they have played volleyball before, so take their advice. They are there to help you become better and you are not the only one on the team, so be patient.
Even if you don’t agree with the coach, always show them respect. Be sure not to confront them with a negative attitude. If there is a problem, be sure to ask to speak to them privately and express your concerns in a respectful way. Remember, coaches are people too and can make mistakes.
13. Be A Team Player
There is no “I” in team. It is important to respect all the players on the team. When teammates know they have each other’s back the more motivated they are to do their best. Great teammates work together to achieve a common goal.
If there is a problem the team is having, communicating about the problem in a positive way is the best way to handle it. Some teams have meetings to voice their concerns and work together to resolve the problem.
14. Practice At Home
Practicing at home will only make you a better player. The more repetitions you have with a skill, the more your muscles will remember to perform that skill on the court. You only need a volleyball to practice at home. Passing, setting, and hitting can all be done right out in your yard.
One way to practice at home is to get a 4’x4’ piece of plywood and prop it up against a fence or the house. You can pass or hit the ball at the plywood, and it will bounce back to allow you to keep repeating the action.
15. Don’t Give Up On A Ball
When you are running toward a ball that has just come over the net, don’t give up on it, even if it seems impossible. Always put forth your best effort on every play. If you need to fall to the ground or slide to get under the ball, just do it. It will show your coach and team that you are strong and will do anything to help the team’s success.
Even if you don’t get to the ball, the next time it happens you just might. The more you take risks and choose not to give up, the more successful of a player you will become. As you get better at taking risks on the court, you will make amazing plays and grow your confidence.
16. Have Fun!
Volleyball is a fun sport, so it’s easy to have fun playing it. There is a lot of teamwork involved, so be sure to build positive relationships. There are many people who make life long friends through playing a sport. Have fun with your teammates on and off the court.
Remember to not be too hard on yourself if you aren’t always making the right plays. Everyone makes mistakes. Tell yourself, “I’ll get it next time”. Look to your teammates when you need that extra support or advice.
Now grab a ball, call some friends, and enjoy the great game of volleyball. Being a beginner in volleyball does not mean you have to struggle to much to become good. Take these tips and practice, practice, practice!