Just starting to play volleyball? And you want to learn one of the most thrilling and powerful moves in the game. Then you must be looking to learn how to spike a volleyball, where a player drives the ball over the net aiming to land it on the opponent’s side. Executing a perfect spike requires a combination of technique, timing, and power. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you master this skill:
What Is A Spike in Volleyball?
A spike, also known as a “hit” or an “attack”, is the offensive move in volleyball where a player jumps and strikes the ball over the net using one hand. The primary objective of a spike is to score a point by making the ball hit the floor on the opponent’s side or by causing the opponents to mishandle the ball.
It is usually the final shot in a series of plays, often set up by a pass and a set.
*FYI – In volleyball, players and coaches usually say “hit” instead of “spike.”
How To Spike A Volleyball
- Start with a good run-up: Begin your approach from the back row. Typically, a 3-step or 4-step approach is used. For this process, we will use the 4-step approach.
- So, if you’re right-handed, it’s usually right-left-right-left; if left-handed, it’s left-right-left-right.
- Speed matters:
- 1st Step: Slow and small (Walk step)
- 2nd Step: Bigger and faster (Timing step)
- 3rd Step: Largest and most powerful
- 4th Step: Small step to gather balance and push the force you created upward
- When to begin your approach:
- In a high-tempo set/pass, you should be on the 1st step of the approach when the setter touches the ball.
- In a medium-tempo set/pass, you should be on the 2nd step of the approach when the setter touches the ball.
- In a quick tempo set/pass, you should be on the 3rd step of the approach when the setter touches the ball.
- Explosive Jump: Use the momentum from your approach to spring upwards. Your aim should be to reach the highest point, allowing you to hit the ball at its peak.
- Use your arms: Swing your arms backward as you begin your jump, then swing them forward and upwards to add extra lift.
3. Arm Positioning
- Drawing the Bow: As you’re in the air, pull back your dominant arm like an archer drawing a bow. Your elbow should be bent at around 90 degrees, and your hand should be open, ready to strike the ball.
- Non-dominant arm: Keep your other arm extended forward and pointing upwards. This helps with balance and targeting.
4. Contacting the Ball
- Hit with the base of your middle finger: Ensure that you contact the ball with the flat, upper part of your palm (base of the middle finger), not your fingers. This ensures maximum power and control.
- Rotate your arm at the shoulder: Then whip your forearm forward to move your hand quickly toward the ball and make contact.
- Snap your wrist: As you hit the ball, a downward snap or flick of your wrist can add top spin to the ball, making it drop faster on the other side.
- Core: This is where you generate most of your power
5. Follow Through
- After the hit, allow your arm to continue its motion, swinging down and across your body. This not only adds power to your spike but also helps prevent injury.
- Land on both feet: To prevent injuries, try to land on both feet, slightly bending your knees to absorb the shock. Make sure to avoid landing under the net or in the opponent’s court.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice
- Like any skill, perfecting your spike will require consistent practice. Start by spiking against a wall or with a friend tossing you the ball.
Tips On How To Spike A Volleyball
- Watch the ball: Keep your eyes on the ball from the moment of the set until you make contact.
- Communicate: Always be in sync with your setter. Communication is key to getting the right ball for a spike.
- Vary your shots: Don’t be predictable. Mix in some tips, off-speed shots, and angle changes to keep the defense guessing.
- Work on your physical fitness: Strength, agility, and vertical jump exercises can significantly improve your spiking power and efficiency.