5 Basic Volleyball Skills You Need to Succeed

female volleyball player service

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Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to volleyball than bumping, setting and spiking, though those are undeniably foundational skills required for successful gameplay. In truth, volleyball is a sport of agility, power, speed, balance and quick thinking, and the best players have a mix of all of these abilities in order to achieve that crisp bump, that perfect set and that game-winning spike. 

In addition to crushing it in a thrilling round of classic volleyball, the following skills will also help you become the reigning CROSSNET champ in your friend group. So go ahead and sharpen them to give your game an added edge!

1. Bumping — Bumping, otherwise known as forearm passing, is one of the most essential volleyball skills for all positions. It’s the way you keep the ball in play and set your team up for success. Though it sounds counterintuitive, passing is more about your lower body than your upper body, and perfecting your stance is critical. 

How to Bump: Aim for a medium body posture with staggered feet and knees bent. Form your bumping platform with your fingers locked together and your thumbs parallel and elbows locked. Your bumping “sweet spot” is on the wrist, just above where you’d wear a watch.

2. Setting — Setting and volleying are types of contact that help you set up your teammates to attack and slam the ball over the net. Like bumping, setting is a skill of the hands that’s surprisingly reliant on lower body power. You want to volley the ball high enough to give your teammate enough time to react, and that involves quickness and smart positioning.

How to Set: Stand shoulder-width apart with your right foot in front and your knees slightly bent. Pre-shape the ball with your hands, keeping them near your waist. Receive the ball near your hairline and flex your hands outward with your wrists straight to project the ball upwards.

3. Spiking — Few volleyball moves bring quite as much glory as an unbelievably powerful spike! With this skill, it’s all about power, timing and consistent footwork. When spiking, you also have to be uniquely adaptable, adjusting within a split second to the ball as it has been set by your teammate. This is why it’s so important to remain tuned into every minute element of the game, especially when you’re in a position to score.

How to Spike: There are many different stances and approaches you can take with spiking, all of which can be employed in a single game. A good starting point is to stand in a slightly sideways “archer” or “Zeus” position. In general, you want to make sure that your contact creates some spin by snapping at the wrist and finishing with your fingers pointing down.   

 4. Serving — There would be no volleyball without a serve. Kicking off each play, the serve sets the stage for the entire play. What’s interesting about serving compared with other volleyball moves is that it’s the only time during the entire game that you begin with complete control and possession of the ball, which is why so many servers are so obsessed with strategy and perfection.

How to Serve: There are a number of different serving styles, including the jump serve and float serve, and learning how to polish a few of them can be extremely beneficial. In general, to serve, you want to start with your feet in a V- or L-shaped stance. Toss the ball upwards towards your dominant shoulder and make contact with the middle of your hand, making sure to follow through completely. 

5. Blocking — Defense is a crucial component to a successful match, and it all comes down to blocking. Blockers possess a few great skills of their own, including the ability to make good decisions in a split second. Blockers also succeed by perfecting their footwork and being able to effortlessly step, shuffle and crossover as needed. Good timing is also clutch — blockers must be able to perfectly time their jumps for proper blocking.

How to Block: A good blocking position starts with the knees slightly bent with the forearms in the front of the body. Push your body forward as you jump and keep your hands in a position ready to react. Remember to be careful not to touch the net during your jump or landing.

volleyball game Russia vs Argentina

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Indeed, bumping, setting and spiking are key to a good round of volleyball, but a whole lot of thought and practice goes into making these skills look so effortless. Mastering basic volleyball skills is a great way to learn how to play CROSSNET and incorporate some pro-level athleticism into your backyard gameplay!

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