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.