Volleyball Tipping
6 Attack Strategies Outside Hitters Use To Score

The hard volleyball hit is not the only point scoring option a hitter has. Volleyball tipping is an offensive strategy you can use to vary your attack hits.


About volleyball tipping.

Be sure to include "the tip" as one of your options to your volleyball hit strategy to use in order to  mix up and vary your attack hits against opposing teams. 

Volleyball tipping. You want to be unpredictable as a hitter. And if your spike attacks are always hard hits, then that's very predictable. (Ralph Arvesen)Volleyball tipping. You want to be unpredictable as a hitter. And if your spike attacks are always hard hits, then that's very predictable. (Ralph Arvesen)

Volleyball Tipping: 
Don't Always Hit The Perfect Set


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.


Volleyball Tipping Strategy: Catch the defense back on their heels because they expected you to hit hard and instead you tipped it softly over their block, short in their court. (Michael E. Johnston)Volleyball Tipping Strategy: Catch the defense back on their heels because they expected you to hit hard and instead you tipped it softly over their block, short in their court. (Michael E. Johnston)


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.


The Volleyball Tipping:
Using The Tip To Save A Broken Play


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 broken play?

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 game situation.

One way a player like yourself, can save a broken play is to soft tip the ball into the block on purpose.



Professional players use this volleyball tipping technique to give themselves another opportunity to attack the ball.

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.



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.


The Volleyball Tipping: 
Use The Tip To Use The Block


If you're an outside hitter then you can use that 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 ball 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.


The Volleyball Hit: 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...The Volleyball Hit: 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...(Michael E. Johnston photo)


Now, that's called "using the block" with your tip.


The Volleyball Tipping: 
It's Good To Be Last - The Joust


Once again this 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 ball.

A joust happens when you are spiking a ball 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 ball.

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.


Volleyball Tipping: 
Tip Deep in the Court


When hitting a volleyball in practice drills, another tipping strategy to practice is tipping 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 areas of the court.

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 the game.


How To Play Volleyball: 
Where Do You Go From Here?


Where do you need to go now? Here are three options: 

  1. Learn more about How To Spike A Volleyball by checking the links in Related Links section.
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the How To Play Volleyball section in the drop down menu at the top of the page.


You might like these pages on how to spike a volleyball better. 



  1. Improve Your Volleyball
  2.  ›
  3. How To Play Volleyball So That You Improve And Make Your Varsity Team
  4.  ›
  5. Volleyball Spike Tips: Improve Approach, Armswing and Hitting Accuracy
  6.  ›
  7. Volleyball Tipping 6 Attack Strategies Outside Hitters Use To Score

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