Don’t wait for your team practice to work on spiking. As Cary Wendell Wallin explains in the video, you can do it at home with this simple volleyball drill. All you need is a wall, a garage door or a friend!
Wallin carries the title of Stanford’s former NCAA Player of the Year and is a longtime club volleyball coach. Today, she emphasizes the keys to proper hitting technique, all of which can be practiced with a self-toss and spike against a wall – or by hitting to a partner.
Home volleyball spike practice
Since team practice time is limited, it’s important for players at all levels to get extra reps outside the gym.
“If you (practice at home),” Wallin says, “you don’t have to think about your technique as much when you’re playing because you’ve had so much repetition doing it on your own that it starts to happen naturally for you.”
The keys to proper hitting technique
Once you’ve found yourself a wall, garage door or friend, you’re ready. Here are the keys to the drill:
- High toss. Hitting is NOT like a float serve. When you toss the ball, you’re trying to simulate a set, so the ball needs to be higher than a serve toss. (Toss with either hand, whichever is most comfortable for you.)
- Spot the ball with your non-hitting arm. This helps you keep an eye on it as you pull your hitting arm back and prepare to swing.
- Elbow high
- Arm back
- Chest open toward the ball
- Maintain a “high elbow” as you begin your follow-through, then snap high and come all the way through the ball. Juliann Faucette Johnson goes into greater detail on the importance of a high elbow and snap.
Footwork is the other half of great spiking. Wallin offers additional tips on proper footwork in her video on teaching the volleyball hitting approach to beginners.
Tips for success: How to practice spiking a volleyball by yourself
Something to remember when practicing at home is the absence of a coach who can correct your technique. Here are some tips to ensure you’re practicing correctly when working solo.
Forget about the big bounce
Less experienced players should hit the ball closer to the wall, not in a steep downward trajectory. This is a more realistic simulation of what you will experience when playing volleyball in a match.
“It’s always a great feeling to hit a hard-driven spike to the floor, but it’s a little different in a match because you’re facing a block,” says Terry Liskevych, three-time U.S. Olympic coach. “A key aspect to being a great attacker is hitting the ball over the block and deep into the volleyball court.”
Play 'bigger' with better arm swing technique
Some players can jump high, and some can’t. That’s primarily due to genetics, not training. But all players can put in extra work on their spiking. If you follow the keys outlined by Wallin in this video and keep practicing, your hitting arm will get higher and higher. When your hitting arm is higher, your contact point is higher too. This can offset a lower jump or enhance a higher jump. Either way, the result is better hitting. And that’s the goal!