The volleyball forearm pass is a super important serve receive skill, players use to initiate their team's offensive plays once the opposing team has served the ball into their court.
I like to teach the following forearm passing instruction which pinpoints five different things you should remember to do when you are looking to control the ball while trying to pass it to your setter.
Whether you are just learning how to play volleyball or have played for awhile and are having problems with your passing, I suggest you pick one of these elements to work on, one at a time, while you are doing your passing drills in practice.
First one of the most important things you want to do is to keep your elbows straight which creates the flat platform you need to control the ball and direct it to your target.
If you take a look at volleyball photos of players whether collegiate or professional or beach pros who are in the process of bumping a ball, note how they always work on presenting a nice flat platform by holding their arms as straight as they can while they pass the ball.
In order to present that straight platform, professional and collegiate players avoid bending their elbows when they contact the ball. Indoor volleyball players should work on doing the same thing.
If you pass a volleyball with bent elbows, you will have less ball accuracy, but by keeping your your arms straight you will increase the amount of ball control and improve your ability to guide the ball to the your target.
How do you keep your elbows straight? By making sure that when you clasp your fingers together, your thumbs should be pointing to the floor.
You should get in the habit of visually tracking the ball all the way into your arms.
As a passer, what is the best thing for you to focus on when the opposing team is about to serve the ball?
Once the referee has blown the whistle to initiate the play, and the server bounces the ball before she serves it, its at that moment that players should focus on the ball in the server’s hands.
Focusing on the ball while it’s in the server’s hands, then while it crosses the net and keying on it all the way into your platform will help you anticipate where you need to be in order to position yourself behind the ball in order to pass it.
If you are an indoor player having a problem with your volleyball passing skills one thing you can do is check to see if you get distracted by taking your eyes off the ball between the time the server serves it and the time the ball crosses the net.
You might be taking too long to start visually tracking the ball, and if you start tracking it once the ball gets to your side of the net then many times its too late to react to it.
That's when you increase your chances of getting aced or shanking the ball because you've moved too late to it.
The next thing indoor players should remember when trying to improve their volleyball passes is to always keep their arms together without breaking them apart when making contact with the ball.
For a period of time while playing college volleyball I was guilty of breaking my arms apart against easy serves and free balls.
photo by Luomen
But it’s not a good habit to get into, because sooner or later you’ll find yourself having to pass a jump served ball.
The harder the serve, the more important it is to keep your arms together so you can control the ball.
Fourth, and this next point is especially for the younger indoor players who should work to try to pass the ball with both of your feet on the ground.
When you bump the ball with your feet in the air, its famously called the "jump bump" and many new players have a tendency to try and 'jump bump" the ball to their target.
Here’s the deal, if your feet are in the air then you can’t change directions or make any last minute or minor adjustments to your body positioning, but if you keep your feet on the ground you have control over your body movements and can adjust to the ball accordingly.
At times, if a particularly good floater serve comes at you fast and high, there may be times when you feel you have to jump up in order to control the ball.
The best thing you could do, is to quickly back your body up while staying in a low position which gives the ball a few more seconds and a bit more space to come down where it has less movement in the air and you have more control.
So, as much as you can, you want to avoid the jump bump.
Lastly, wherever the ball is you want to move yourself to get into position behind it with your feet first.
This is because the faster you can move your feet, the faster you can get yourself in the best position behind the ball in order to pass it.
Practicing this type of movement is called foot speed training and this type of training comes in different forms.
You can regularly do some forms of lower body speed training before you do your pregame warmup drills, where you should do a series of short sprints forward, backward and sideways to help you increase your foot speed and reactive abilities so that you can get behind the ball fast for your passing.
Working on these five forearm volleyball tips should help you increase your ball control during your serve receive passing.
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