Written by Terry Pettit
- Serving is much more aggressive than it was even two or three years ago. Every team should have a least a couple of servers that drive the ball beneath the antenna into the gaps. More aggressive serving also sets up the use of tactical short serves.
- Fewer teams are bunch blocking. More teams are releasing their outside blockers to the pins and committing their middle blockers situationally. Why? The "go" sets are too fast to close on if a team is in system.
- I see fewer combination plays than in the past. I think this is unfortunate. If you have good but not great attackers, movement forces the other team to make adjustments by processing those movements. On free balls and controlled digs if teams added some crossing plays or left-ins they can stress the opponent mentally and require more opponent preparation. Of course combination plays are a liability if you don't provide the reps to train them.
- More teams are deliberately attacking the setter than in the past, which means the libero needs to not only be an exceptional passer and defender, but possess strong setting skills as well.
- Teams need to be more creative when the setter digs the ball. While having the libero set may be the best option for many teams, I have to believe (as I watch teams struggle with this) that having the right side player or the middle blocker set might be a better option based on individual talent. If the right side player can't terminate in this situation, a coach needs to consider another option.
- I would bet my lunch money that 90% of teams would dig more balls if the libero covered tips against right side attack and slides rather than having the libero retreat and dig down the line. It may look foolish when someone hits the deep line and no one is there, but significantly more balls hit the court in zone 4 than zone 5 off the right side attack.
By Terry Pettit
Hear more from Terry Pettit at www.terrypettit.com