The spike approach is a set number of steps, usually a three-step approach or a four-step approach that a player makes to gather the speed and gain forward momentum needed to get in the air to make contact with the ball at its highest point.
When an airplane is ready for take off, it makes its approach down the runway to gather speed and velocity so that it can lift itself up in the air.
Well, a player learns to do the same thing, before they can hit a ball and before they begin to initiate their volleyball spike technique.
The Four-step approach
The four-step approach gives outside hitters more time to get to balls that are set higher and are slower to get to the outsides of the net.
Higher sets are considered slower sets used with high jumping hitters to beat the opposing block with a high reach, great vertical jump and using a lot of power.
The higher the hitter can jump, with the right technique the higher they can reach..the better.
This means the ball is contacted at a higher point in the air where hopefully the block cannot reach.
The Three-step approach
The three-step approach is used more often for faster sets that are set lower to the net that quick athletic hitters use with a quick armswing and fast swing to beat the block.
These faster and lower sets are used to beat the block with speed.
The faster, the hitter can jump, and the faster they can swing..the better.
This means the ball is contacted at a lower point in the air above the net, but is contacted at a faster speed where hopefully the block cannot reach.
You will then spike the ball over the net, past the block and to the floor before a back row defensive player can get it up.
The speed and length of a spike approach can change depending on what play and what kind of set a player receives.
Your spike approach length can also change if you are playing in a crowded volleyball tournament that doesn't have a lot of space between courts.
In this situation you may be forced to change from a four step to a three step approach.
What should never change for a spiker is the aggressiveness of and speed of the last two steps of the spike approach.
When I coach the volleyball spike approach, I ask my players to "attack the floor" with their last two steps.
I tell them to treat the floor as if its a trampoline and be aggressive in attacking the last two steps..the more aggressive, the more you increase your vertical jump.
The higher your vertical and the higher you reach..the better chance you have of outreaching the block.
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