Using the proper setting technique is one of a player’s critical volleyball skills — teaching how it’s done is a skill of its own. Emily Haza is an Oregon State assistant coach and a club volleyball coach for various age groups. Today, she gives us a comprehensive overview on how to teach proper setting technique to young volleyball players.
The videos cover each aspect of setting with a special focus on:
- Hand positioning
- Contact point
One of the coolest things about Hiza's explanations is they take into account the realities that young players deal with when attempting to master this tough skill. For instance, she addresses the challenge of teaching young players who are setting a big ball with small hands and delicate fingers.
The drills she suggests here don't require a full team. All of them can be done at home with a ball and either one or two people.
Meet the coach and get an introduction to the Setting Video Clinic in the following video.
Volleyball Setting Basics: Hand-positioning for the front set
To teach proper setting technique, your first priority with a young player should be to develop their touch on the ball.
As Coach Hiza explains here, setters should work on consistently taking the ball right on their foreheads and touching it with all 10 fingers.
Other key takeaways:
- Wrap the fingers around the ball
- Hold the elbows wide for leverage
In the following video, Emily has a young setter demonstrate a great way to practice the front set. This drill can be done anywhere. All you need is a ball and a partner.
Volleyball setter footwork: A step-by-step guide
In this section of volleyball setting basics, Emily Hiza focuses on footwork.
As her junior player demonstrates, Hiza explains the steps required to efficiently move to different points on the court in preparation for setting.
Key takeaways for the final stop position include:
- Make sure feet are balanced and weight is distributed to allow the player to push forward for the set
- Avoid skinny feet where the feet are too close together
- Avoid an overly wide stance
- Avoid putting weight onto the heels
Volleyball hand positioning for setters
This part of Emily's video clinic on training a young setter deals with hand positioning, which is key to delivering consistently well-located sets.
The drill shown below involves holding a cone on the forehead and catching a tennis ball. It's a fun way to practice feet to the ball, square shoulders and proper setting balance.
Final setting progression – taking balls from a live pass
The final progression of the fundamentals of setting is taking a live pass and setting it to a location. Emily Hiza explains how young players can deal with the unpredictability of balls that come off a passer's platform.
One specific challenge she mentions is overcoming "Flintstone feet” — when a player takes too many steps to get to the ball. Not only does this slow the player down, but the extra steps are an inefficient use of the player’s energy and space. As you probably know (or can guess), good setters do not have Flintstone feet.
Setting drills to do at home
Setters get plenty of reps at practice, but if they want to be great, they can never touch the ball too much. With that in mind, Hiza suggests several drills here that can be done at home.
- Practice isolating hand contact with a setter ball
- Setter balls are heavier and help train a player’s setting muscles
- Mark off the “flower” pattern discussed in the footwork video and practice footwork without the ball
- Use tape or other markers to set goals for setting to a specified distance
What's next after a setter has mastered the fundamentals?
To wrap up her video setting clinic, Coach Hiza addresses the question of when a coach should begin letting young players tackle the more challenging aspects of setting.
Specifically, coaches should:
- Wait to add hitters until your setter can comfortably get through the first 4 stages of setting.
- Coach on the outcome of what the set will be, like jump setting and reading what’s going on across the court after muscle memory is established and setters achieve clean contact.
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