Plan Your Attack: Improve Shot Placement

A hit­ter is only as good as their arse­nal of shots. In the first of our six-part series, we’ll cov­er how to work on cross-body and angle attacks.

Plan Your Attack: Improve Shot Placement

A hit­ter is only as good as their arse­nal of shots. In the first of our six-part series, we’ll cov­er how to work on cross-body and angle attacks.

In May 2019, we launched our newest tool for vol­ley­ball teams — the attack ten­den­cies report. It gives you a visu­al of the start point, end point and result for every attack to help you gain a deep­er under­stand­ing of your team and your opponents. 

Won­der­ing where to start? We can help. In this six-part series, we’ll pull togeth­er exam­ples of how you can use this pow­er­ful report to help your team win more matches. 

Each blog will be paired with two drills from The Art of Coach­ing Vol­ley­ball to help you plan your next prac­tice around what you learn. Whether you’re a high school, small col­lege or club coach, you’ll be ready to hit the ground run­ning before the first serve. 

The Prob­lem

Your offense has real­ly strug­gled to find the floor in your last three match­es. Pass­ing is on point, your set­ter seems to be dis­trib­ut­ing the ball well, so why aren’t your hit­ters executing?

The Diag­no­sis

Instead of watch­ing three hours worth of video — hop­ing some­thing might sound the alarm — head over to your attack ten­den­cies report. 

After fil­ter­ing by your last three match­es, you notice that almost every attack was at mid­dle back and there are a lot of red lines (errors) and grey lines (zero attacks or attacks kept in play). 

What the attack tendencies report looks like on Hudl.

So you select attempts in the Play­er Stats table, which takes you to the video clips asso­ci­at­ed with those swings. Now you can see that your oppo­nents were play­ing their libero in mid­dle back, which would explain why noth­ing was falling. And the errors? Any team that plays a stan­dard perime­ter defense is going to have their block­ers tak­ing away zone six, so those swings didn’t even have a chance to make it to the libero.

The Solu­tion

It’s time to mix it up and work on shot place­ments. We’ll focus on angle attacks first. If you hit down the line enough, your oppo­nent might switch to a rota­tion­al defense to pick those up. Or if you have an oppo­nent who has a mon­ster out­side, an angle shot could keep her from get­ting set because she’ll have a hard time tran­si­tion­ing out and back in after play­ing defense. 

Check out this easy, coop­er­a­tive drill from The Art of Coach­ing Vol­ley­ball that you can incor­po­rate into the start of your prac­tices to warm up shoul­ders, rein­force good mechan­ics and get your play­ers work­ing on dif­fer­ent swings. 

Anoth­er key piece of improv­ing shot place­ment is work­ing on range of motion. Before jump­ing into a match or a game in prac­tice, work on it in warm-ups. In this video, play­ers will learn how to work on their line shot while hit­ting back and forth with a part­ner. The key to this drill is stay­ing in a neu­tral posi­tion when attack­ing cross-body because the best play­ers mask where they’re going to swing. 

Want to see more drills and coach­ing tips? Head over to The Art of Coach­ing Vol­ley­ball to start learn­ing. And be sure to check out blog two in this series, Stop Line & Angle Hits.