How to get better at volleyball


When you’re trying to get better at any new volleyball skill, it simply requires a lot of practice. According to leading experts on mastery, becoming an expert at anything takes around 10,000 hours of practice. Before you think, “Woah! That’s a lot of time!” consider how long it took you to practice your penmanship, play video games, or even learn how to swim. You can become “good” at just about anything with around 100 hours of practice. Think about how long it took you to learn to ride a bike; probably not even 100 hours!

Now, while putting in hours is tremendously helpful, it’s not the whole picture. Just doing the thing isn’t enough to get you to where you usually want to go. Becoming good, great, and then excellent at any skill demands attention and focus. Just like with any new skill you might be training, learning the nuances, rules, new perspectives, and asking for help will take you there. Volleyball practices are usually designed to make you attempt skills, patterns, plays, or movements that are new to you.

Whenever a new skill is implemented there are a few things you can do to improve them:

  1. Ask questions
  2. Ask for a demonstration / try the skill
  3. Take videos of yourself performing the skill
  4. Create body awareness
  5. Try, fail and try again
  6. Create one point of focus

How to speed up the process of getting better at volleyball

The first one is quite obvious. Make sure you understand both the function and purpose of the skill you’d like to improve. Asking questions will help your brain make sense of the new skill or even an old skill in a way that makes sense to you. Fully understanding what is being asked of you will help you with the other steps! Being open to feedback is the number one key to improving your game. Asking makes you a proactive learner and player instead of a passive one.

Secondly, asking for a demonstration will help visual learners understand what to do with their bodies. Most volleyball players at a high level will be able to at least try something new after watching it a few times. If you’re brand new to the sport, watching lots of volleyball games can be useful to see how people move their bodies. Try paying attention to the little details, like where the setter takes the ball in relation to their body, how defenders move into position, and even the steps that attackers take before hitting the ball. Improving your game can be done by simply watching others do it.

Demonstrations are predecessors to actually trying the skill yourself. Watching game-film of yourself and even live games is useful, but only so if you’re willing to try the skill, too. Sometimes you may look like an idiot, but set aside your pride and go for it! Sports are meant to be fun and improving your game is dependent on getting outside of your comfort zone.

Next up, take videos of yourself. Sometimes even if you feel like you’re doing the right thing, it might not be. Ask a teammate or coach to take some videos of you performing the skill you’re trying to improve. Rewatch them to see if you’re doing it correctly. Self-correction is a great tool for any player to be able to implement. This also ties in with body awareness. It doesn’t take being the best volleyball player in the world to feel when your body does the wrong thing.

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