5 Basic Skills of Volleyball for Beginners

Updated: May 1




Volleyball is a simple, entertaining game that can be fun no matter what skill level or experience you have in the game. No matter if you are coaching or playing, scoring a point or getting a big block are some of the exciting aspects of the game that make it a great sport to watch and play.


But how do you get to all those powerful spikes and huge blocks? Getting from point A to point B is an important process and the person responsible for guiding that process is the coach.


No matter how much experience you have in volleyball, coaching these basic skills to beginners can be quite challenging. Providing these kids with the best chance to develop through skills and drills can be the difference between a player dropping out of the sport within the first year, and playing it for the rest of their life. Coaches play an important role in developing both the competence and confidence to progress in the sport.


Before diving into actually teaching the basic volleyball skills to kids, we have to make sure that they can properly develop their skills without the barriers of using regular sized adult equipment.


Making adjustments to the equipment


Using the correct size equipment will not only help kids develop the required movement pattern within the sport, but it will also help give them the confidence and necessary competence to enjoy playing in a game situation. We recommend that when coaching kids for the first time, use softer foam balls or beach balls so that the kids can bump, spike, and set the ball the required distance.


The other adjustment that should be made is the size of the net and the court. Playing on a smaller court will allow the player to get more touches of the ball which means they get in more repetition of the particular skill. Playing smaller 1 vs 1 games is a great way to make sure all the kids on the team are getting the chance to develop their skills and fall in love with the game.


The final adjustment is the net. The net should be short enough so that the kids can jump and spike the ball over it. With the younger age groups, these adjustments can be simple as playing on half of a badminton court or even tying a string to the badminton posts.


Now that we have sorted that out, let's get the kids practicing the core skills!


 

Want great drill ideas to help you practice these skills? Check out the Athlete Era Volleyball app available on IOS and Android!


 


Bump, Set, Spike, Block, and Serve!


Every sport has its core skills with volleyball being no different. These 5 skills are the foundation to every rally which means teaching them to your players is an important part of making sure they have the best experience possible. Lucky for you, we have broken down each of the 5 skills with some important things to look for along with a quick video for the next time you are on the court!


Bumping (also known as forearm pass or dig)


Learning how to bump is a crucial skill as it is often the first when the ball is played over the net by the opponent. Here are some things to look out for when teaching your players how to properly bump the ball:


  1. Hands are overlapped and the thumbs are together

  2. Arms out straight in front

  3. Bend the knees and have thumbs pointed down in a good ready position

  4. Contact is made with the forearms (platform) and arms are close to the body

  5. Follow through is made with the body by shrugging the shoulders and a small bounce in the legs



Setting


A good set can be the difference between scoring and not scoring. This makes it a crucial skill for all players to learn when first introduced to volleyball. Here’s what to look for:


  1. Feet move so that shoulders are facing where you want the ball to go

  2. Create a triangle or diamond shape with your hands

  3. Fingers are spread on contact and the ball is pushed up and out

  4. Finish with the arms extended towards the sky and the hands above the head



Spiking


Spiking the ball is one of the most exciting parts of volleyball. Making sure players learn how to properly do it can mean a lot more points and a lot more fun. Since this is one of the more technical skills, it may be better to start teaching the arm swing before adding the jump. Take a look at our breakdown below:


  1. Step forward with the hitting foot and prepare to jump off two feet

  2. Take a big jump up and stretch both hands towards the ceiling,

  3. Bring the hitting hand behind the ear

  4. Give the ball a big high five in the air with the arm fully stretched as high as you can reach



Blocking


Blocking is an important defensive skill to help prevent the opponent from scoring a point. It's best to use a beach ball when first teaching the skill of blocking just in case someone misses the ball. Check out our breakdown of how to teach it.


  1. Get the hands up with the palms facing the net

  2. Jump straight up and pretend to roll the arms over the net without touching it

  3. Make a roof over the ball so the ball goes down towards the opponents side

  4. Land in the same spot as the takeoff



Serving (overhand and underhand)


A good serve can make or break your rally and can determine how well your opponent can attack you. Have players start with underhand serving before moving to overhand serving as it is a bit more accurate in the beginning. Both types are broken down below so you can help your players no matter what their skill level!


Underhand serve


  1. Hold the ball out in front of you with the opposite hand facing up

  2. Bring your fingers into a partial fist with your thumb on the outside

  3. Swing the hitting arm back and step forward with the opposite foot

  4. Swing the arm forward and hit the ball with the palm of your hand

  5. Follow through towards the target rolling your weight onto your front foot



Overhand serve


  1. Stand in warrior pose with the ball in the opposite hand out in front of you

  2. Step forwards and toss the ball in the air in front of them, and gives the ball a high five

  3. Follow through with the hand facing the target




 

Want great drill ideas to help you practice these skills? Check out the Athlete Era Volleyball app available on IOS and Android!


 


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