Let’s move on with our guide to becoming a better attacker. In this week’s second part of the tutorial we present a few more tricks and strategies which can drive the blockers against you crazy.
Having a single blocker up is a rarity – a luxury for most players. More often than not, hitters have 4 hands trying to block the ball and it’s not always easy to get over it. But as a smart hitter, you can find loopholes to take advantage of every little mistake made by the blocker.
As rare as a single block is, a perfectly well formed double block is also rare. There will often be a “seam”, or a gap, between the two blocks. You can then take advantage of the block by hitting right into the seam. If the seam is big enough, the ball will go through the block and can create some trouble for the defense.
However, even a minor seam can be useful. Even if you see a seam in the block that might not be as big as the ball, you can still swing fast against the seam and the ball will often hit against the blockers’ hands and fall on the other side of the net. You don’t have to blast at the seam when you see one. The key though is to swing before the seam is closed. So when you do see it, swing as fast as you can to get the ball between that little space in the block and you will dramatically increase the chance of getting a kill.
4) The Tool
But what if you do have a perfectly formed double or even a triple block, or a single blocker who can read you like the Oracle? Yes, you can do the Tool-Time.
If you don’t see a seam in the block or find that the blocker is lined up exactly where you planned to hit the ball, you can use the blocker’s hands to tool the ball out of bounds to get a kill. In a single block situation, you want to hit the ball at the blocker’s outside hands. This means that on the outside set, you would aim at the blocker’s right hand and left hand if you’re hitting on the opposite side.
The key is to hit the ball before the blocker’s hands are correctly set to roof your ball straight to the floor. Pros love this hit because when done right, it’s almost unstoppable as the ball often goes out on your side and defense can’t get to the ball before it hits the floor. And don’t forget to shout “tool-time” and taunt the crap out of the blocker. Volleyball is a mind game.
5) The Tight Set
Now, you can be a great hitter with these tools but your setter might kill your chances by giving you a tight set near the net. A lot of young hitters panick when stuck in a tight set and blame the setter. This should be the last thing you do unless your setter does this for every perfect pass. So don’t be a sore loser and understand that nobody’s perfect. It’s especially hard to set a money-set on a bad pass. Instead, you can use the tight set to get an easy kill off the block or at least save the ball from getting roofed.
In a tight set, you can try to tool the ball against the blocker’s hands. Once the block is formed, aim for the outside hands to tool the ball out of bounds. Young blockers often get too excited against a tight set and fail to form the block correctly and you can take full advantage of this by tooling the ball to get a kill and embarrass the other team’s blocker.
There is also a tight-set specific tool you can use against any block. When mastered, this technique is very, very effective and can get you a kill a majority of the time. While in the air, press the ball against the hands of the blocker until both you and the blocker are touching the ball. Then swipe the ball against the blocker’s hands towards the antenna. When done right, this is one of the easiest and the most satisfying kill that makes a fool out of any blocker.
Looking at the block is one of the things that can set an attacker apart from the inexperienced amateurs who try to crush every ball to the ground only to get stuffed by unexpected blocks. Start taking a peek at the block and practice using the block to get a kill and you’re on your way to become a valuable hitter that will get more lovin’ from your setters.