A big difference exists between being good and being a great outside hitter. Volleyball consists of 5 playing volleyball positions: libero, opposite hitter, middle blocker, setter, and outside hitter, which requires the widest repertoire of skillset. Outsides must develop excellent attacking and receiving skills and be good blockers, defenders, and servers. We prepared a top 10 tips to help you become a better outside hitter and bring your game to the next level!
- Top 10 tips for outside hitters
- 1. Develop your whole game
- 2. Stay behind the ball
- 3. Communication with your setter is key
- 4. Relax your arm, be like a whip
- 5. Timing is everything
- 6. Don’t be a “one-shot” killer.
- 7. A point is a point.
- 8. Take the time to do all the small things. It will give you longevity.
- 9. Practice like you’re in a game. Play like you’re in practice.
- 10. Be quick, but don’t hurry.
Top 10 tips for outside hitters
1. Develop your whole game
There’s no point in only being able to do one skill really well. Outside hitters must be able to serve recieve, play defense, and score points. Being a good attacker is crucial – but it’s not everything for being a great outside hitter.
2. Stay behind the ball
High set, fast set, low set, non-setter set… If you’re attacking – you HAVE to see what’s in front of you. You should be contacting the ball just in front of you every single time. Not everyone who plays volleyball is capable of the “Ngapeth”. Staying behind the ball means recognizing where the set is, and then getting your feet to it.
3. Communication with your setter is key
Never let your setter down. Don’t be rude – but open a channel of communication. What are they capable of giving you? where is your ideal set? Was the set good and you were bad? Was the set bad and you were good? Talking about these things can help create trust and improvement between both players.
4. Relax your arm, be like a whip
When you’re making contact with the ball, your shoulder should be completly relaxed. If you try to “muscle” the ball and contract your shoulder you will end up hitting much lower and believe it or not – with less power. generating torque and having a strong core is what gives your arm the whip like sensation. A fast arm swing is harder to read, you’ll contact the ball higher and you’ll still be able to hit the crap out of the ball.
5. Timing is everything
Know when to start your approach. If the reception or dig is in system, the set will be faster – which means you should already be starting your approach. If the first contact off the net, or is being taken by a player that isn’t a setter, you’ll need to wait. The set will be higher… if you start to early – it’s more difficult to stay behind the ball. You’ll have to slow down, losing power on your jump, over-running the set etc. It causes a whole chain of negative outcomes.
6. Don’t be a “one-shot” killer.
Having a power shot is great. Every player has one, but don’t let that define you. As you get older, scouting reports will likely show that you are a one-shot-wonder. Do yourself a favor and work on having an excellent range. The best of the best know when to take their powershot, and when to simply put the opponent in a difficult situation.
6b. If your game is coming down to the wire, hitting the ball harder and harder will ultimately do nothing but frustrate you more. Take a deep breath, refocus and instead attack the ball you’re given – not the one you wish to have. This was one of my largest failings as an attacker – don’t be like me. Do better.
7. A point is a point.
Pretty self explanitory. Learn to move on. Celebrate when necessary, correct when necessary.
8. Take the time to do all the small things. It will give you longevity.
Annoyed with stretching? Doing small drills and exercises that feel pointless? Guess what – the small stuff adds up. The margin between being average and good, is huge. But anyone can get there. The margin between good and great is much much smaller – you know why? Because most of life lives in the 2%. The players who end up becoming great and having long careers are taking the time to do the small things. And to do them well.
You can take a look at any professional level athlete in their game and what you see is a fraction of what goes on behind the scenes. It’s not just practices & strenth training. Most pros are spending hours in the training room tending to their bodies so they CAN continue playing. They’re doing the stretching. They’re doing the annoying little exercises your coach wants you to do before practice. Don’t neglect these things. They matter!
9. Practice like you’re in a game. Play like you’re in practice.
If you’re serious about getting better, treat practice like it’s a game. Prepare for practice like you would a game. Focus in on your reps. It’s always okay to mess up in practice and try new things in practice, but those are deliberate acts of getting better. If you approach practice like you would a game, come game time, you’ve done it so many times before that the focus should come easy to you.
Playing a game like you would in practice is a pure reflection on the hard work you’ve been doing. If you can’t say with pride that you played in a game like you practiced, work harder to close the gap. Not mention, if you go as hard as you would in a game in practice – think about how much better you’re making your teammates. Run for the long ball even if you might not make it, someday you will!
10. Be quick, but don’t hurry.
The famous words of Coach John Wooden (famous UCLA Men’s Basketball Coach). When I refer to this, I mean be quick to get to the place you need to be, don’t rush the skill. If you’re on serve recieve, move your feet as fast as possible to give yourself time to set up a perfect platform. As a setter, get to the location first, so you can focus on form. Attacking? Get off the net and prepare yourself to hit, so that you can have good timing when taking your approach.
The more you practice being quick to the ball – ultimately the more time you have to do the skill. Never rush the skill.
To become a great outside hitter, you need to improve your reception and attack. Communication with the setter and other players in reception is also important, to reduce the number of mistakes and increase the percentage of the successful attack.
The main skills outside hitters need to acquire are attack and reception. However, they need to be good all-around players, which also means improving other skills. Their job is also to serve, block, defend, and sometimes even set the ball.
Outside hitter mainly plays in zone 6, Back-row, and zone 4 in the front row. In the front row, their main job is attacking and blocking, while in the back row, they need to play defense, serve, and attack pipe.
Competing is fun. Don’t take yourself or anyone else too seriously; remember why you started playing and enjoy the sport for what it is! We hope you enjoyed reading our top 10 tips for the outside hitter position. To become great, you need to focus on tiny details as well. Our ten tips can help you, but practicing will give you even better results. If you have any questions regarding the outside hitter position, please leave a comment below or contact us!