photo by Luomen
The various types of volleyball spikes described on this page should help
you with choosing and establishing your hitting strategy during your next
Just like a handyman uses tools to fix things, female volleyball players
have various offensive strategy "tools" they can rely on to really go after
and attack the opposing team's defense.
I am 6'0" and my professional volleyball career lasted a long time
because I learned how to hit and score points consistently by relying
on an extensive range of volleyball spikes to use against female
volleyball players that were much much taller than I was.
If you asked me to recommend three things a short female volleyball
player should absolutely spend hours working to improve her game and
how to play volleyball it would be to first improve your serve so that you
become a point-scoring machine from the service line.
Secondly, I would say to familiarize yourself with the terminology
describing these volleyball spikes and learn how to technically do these
skills so that you add options to your power volleyball game.
Lastly I would say to maximize your ability to tool the block which
will make you into a sideout machine, who can score points against a
tall block and will drive the opposing team crazy since that type of hit is
extremely hard for other players to block or dig.
deliberately aim for the outer hand of the blocker who's attempting to
Your goal is to do this in a way that the ball gets deflected back to your
court but outside of the sideline, so it bounces outside of the court, on
your team's side. .
That's an easy point for you and it's one of the toughest volleyball hits
that is extremely difficult to play defense against.
That's why it's so effective.
Another way many coaches and players say "tool the block" is called
"wiping the block" or "wipe the block".
This volleyball term describes the wiping action a spiker's arm motion
will do when the player is aiming the ball for an opposing blocker's
Specifically, the one closest to the antenna, so that when it
comes back off of her hand the ball is deflected to outside the sideline
on the hitter's side landing outside of the volleyball court.
You wipe the block in such a way that you are in control of the fact that
the blocker is the last person to touch the ball before it lands outside of
the sidelines., on your team's side.
Whether you are learning how to play beach volleyball or specializing
in the indoor game incorporating this element in your volleyball spike
training drills is essential and many female players rely on "the wipe" as
an option to score when they've been given an imperfect set.
The line shot in spike terminology is another volleyball hitting option for
front row attackers.
Hitting the line shot would require you to contact the top 1/3 of the ball
so it travels parallel to and within the sideline that you are playing the
Likewise if you are the right side hitter spiking from your team's zone 2,
then you would be making a line shot if you spiked a ball or sent an
offspeed shot in or near zone 4 or zone 5 of the opposing team's court.
If you are the front row hitter, hitting the ball from your team's zone 4, then
you are making a line shot if you spike the ball or hit an offspeed shot to
zone 5 of the opposing team's court.
When you learn about various volleyball spikes and attacks,
you should always plan on adding the tip to your collection of hitting
A smart hitter doesn't want to rely on pure strength and hard hitting to
score points because there will come a day when that won't work for
You can become as confident as you want to as a hitter, but the best
ones are always prepared by having practiced many different ways of
scoring points offensively, not just one.
You want to become unpredictable as a hitter. And if your spike attempts
are always for the hard hit, then that isn't unpredictable. That's very
So much so that eventually your opponents will be able to anticipate
and read where you intend to hit next and begin to pick up on your
Players will start saying "Yeah we know how she hits. She always spikes
the ball hard. That's all she knows how to do. So let's set up our block
here and our defense here. And if we can't stop her hard hit at the net
with our block, we will pick it up in the back row with our defense."
They will also say "Sure she hits the ball hard and we know that she will
score some points for her team, but if she keeps hitting hard, all the
time, for the entire first set, then we know she will get tired.
When she gets tired then she won't hit as hard and it will get easier to
block her spikes at the net or it will get easier dig a ball she hits and to
And sooner or later (probably by about the third or fourth set) it will get
harder and harder for you to score points against a team just by using
your hard volleyball spikes because they will already know what type of
spiker you are and they will set up their team defense accordingly.
Instead of always relying on spiking a volleyball, if you really want to
play volleyball like a star, then using the tip is a highly
effective offensive weapon.
Learn to use this in practice during your hitting drills and spike training,
which will keep the defense guessing as to how you are going to
contact the ball next.
During practice, you want to rehearse all of your “plan B” volleyball
You can improve your offensive game by spending your
time wisely doing repetitions of different volleyball hit options that will
prepare you for many of the different blocking or defense strategies the
opposing team will use to try and stop you in a game.
In your spike training drills, you want to know and you want to practice all
the possible things you will do, if and when you get the perfect set.
Of course, when you get a perfect set you are going to want to hit the
ball. But, that is also what the defense is expecting you to do.
To mix up your game, in practice, when your setter sets you the perfect
ball to hit, don't!
Tip it instead.
If you do, you will catch the defense back on their heels because they
expected you to hit that ball hard and instead you fooled them and
tipped it softly over their block, short in their court. Now they have to
scramble to pick a ball up that they didn't expect to get.
In the book “The Art of War’ Sun Tzu says “Make your enemy prepare
on his left and then attack on his right.”
This means you must be flexible. You must be prepared to do what your
enemy does not expect you to do.
This is what smart hitters do.
They look for opportunities to outsmart the opposing team's defense.
After you've hit several balls hard against their block, on the next good
set your setter gives you, you should tip the ball to an open space on
the opposing team's court, they will never expect it.
A good strategy to adopt is for every 5 or 6 balls that you hit you may
want to try a tip on the next good set that you get.
Sure I know that you use the tip to save a broken play because many
times, at the last minute, that's the only thing you think you can do to
keep the ball in play.
But the question is still, how are you going to use the tip to save a
This suggestion may sound risky but like all things once you get used to
doing it in practice then it will become a habit. Once things become a
habit, then we aren't so afraid of trying them when we have to, like in a
One way a volleyball player like yourself, can save a broken play is to
soft tip the ball into the volleyball block on purpose.
tipping technique to give themselves another opportunity to attack the
The way to do this is to aim the ball at the wrists and forearms of the
opposing teams blockers as they are in the height of their block against
You do it by contacting the ball with the tips of your fingers and
actually aiming it for the blockers wrists and arms so the ball will bounce
back high off of their arms and back into your court in a way that your
team, who should be covering you in defense as you hit the ball, has a
chance to easily replay the ball, digging it back to your setter so she
can set up another play.
If you're an outside hitter then you can use the tipping strategy I talked
about above to your advantage by aiming the tip for the external wrist
and arm of the outside blocker in front of you.
Many hitters practice spiking a volleyball against the arms of the
blocker so that the ball comes back outside their court boundary
line which gives the hitter's team the point.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this technique is called
"wiping off the block", or "using the block".
Well, you can do the same thing with the tip.
Instead of hitting the ball hard, if you get a set that's a little too close to
the opposing blocker and you still need to do something to score a
point, go up to tip the ball and aim it for the outside arm of the blocker,
the arm that's closest to the antenna.
Just as you do when you're spiking a volleyball, make sure the blocker is
the last person to touch the ball before it goes out of bounds on your
side of the court.
Now, that's called "using the block" with your tip.
Once again this third exit strategy you can try will always be useful to
you because it’s extremely difficult for the opposing volleyball team’s
defense to pick this ball up.
If you find yourself in a joust with a blocker on the opposing team, then
you want to be sure to be the last player to touch the volleyball.
A joust happens when you are spiking a volleyball and your set may
float over the net more than you expect, so now you are forced to just
jump up and push the ball over the net.
Almost at the same instant, the opposing team's blocker who is blocking
against you realizes that you wont be able to hit the ball like you
wanted to because the ball is floating over the net a little too far out of
your spiking arm reach.
So now both of you see the same ball that is directly over the net, half
on your side and half on their side and you both jump up to push the
ball over on the other player's net. When you both contact the ball,
over the net, in midair at the same time, that is called a joust.
The second volleyball player to touch the ball has the advantage
because she is going up and pushing the ball over while the first player
is on the way down, losing her momentum and moving away from the
In practice when you are spiking a volleyball make sure you work on
perfecting this jousting technique so you can use it to score points
against the block.
When hitting a volleyball in practice drills, another volleyball spike
strategy is to practice how to tip the ball deep in the court.
Often volleyball hitters will choose to automatically tip behind the block
in an emergency situation, especially when they can’t see the open
In practice, you should remember to rehearse tipping deep to open
areas in the opposing team's court so that it becomes a normal habit,
regardless of what situation you find yourself in.
To make yourself into a valuable point scoring hitting weapon
you want to have a collection of options to use instead of relying on just
hard volleyball spikes so that you have an offensive option that you can
fall back on in any situation.
Learning how to spike a volleyball consistently for points in many ways is
like learning how to play chess.
There are certain moves that you want to make so that
a) it’s hard for the opposing volleyball team to figure out what you’re
going to do next and
b) it’s easier for you to score points or sideouts in the latter part of