You are on page 1of 16

2013 MIAA Varsity Champion, 16-2

2013 MIAA Junior Varsity Champion, 16-1


2012 MIAA A Conference Varsity Semifinalist, 12-5
2012 MIAA Junior Varsity Champion, 15-2
2011 MIAA A Conference Varsity Finalist, 17-3
2011 MIAA Junior Varsity Champion, 16-0
2010 MIAA A Conference Varsity Semifinalist, 11-4
2010 MIAA Junior Varsity 3rd Place, 7-5
2009 MIAA A Conference Varsity Finalist, 13-3
2009 MIAA Junior Varsity Runner-up, 12-2
2008 MIAA A Conference Varsity Champion, 17-1
2008 MIAA Junior Varsity Finalist, 12-5
2007 MIAA A Conference Varsity Finalist, 16-2
2007 MIAA Junior Varsity Champion, 14-0
2006 MIAA A Conference Varsity Finalist, 16-2
2006 MIAA Junior Varsity Champion, 12-1
2005 MIAA A Conference Varsity Finalist, 17-2
2005 MIAA Junior Varsity Champion, 12-1
2004 MIAA A Conference Varsity Semifinalist, 10-5
2004 MIAA Junior Varsity Champion, 12-0
2003 MIAA A Conference Varsity Semifinalist, 15-7

COACHING KEYS
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Teach efficiently
Present and reinforce fundamental skill mechanics
Motivate positively
Strategize offense and defensive concepts
Explain why we do what we do every day

Since its inception, our programs coaches have stressed that there are no little things in this game.
About a decade ago now, a statistical analysis of NCAA Volleyball teams side-out efficiency i.e.
winning serve back showed that a team who sided-out just 2% better than its opponent won 64% of
its games. For example, suppose Gilman side-outs at 58% and our opponent side-outs at 56%: Gilman
will win 2 out of every 3 games. Following the same statistics, if Gilman improves its side-out efficiency
to 4% better than its opponent, Gilman will win 74% of the time (3 out of every 4 games).
Because passing has been and will continue to be our primarily emphasized skill, both our varsity
and JV squads have made a habit of winning the serve receive (SR) category in matches, and this ingame statistical victory has led us to our .845 match winning percentage since 2003. Maintaining these
proficiencies and even improving on them has been and will continue to be the key to our success
as a program.
Three summers ago now, I read about another statistical percentage that many collegiate programs
have begun to value in recent years: IPE, an acronym for In Play Efficiency. In basic terms, this stat
shows how frequently a team keeps a ball in play and then can be broken down into Serving IPE,
Hitting IPE, Passing/Digging IPE, and even Blocking IPE.
While I have not tracked these numbers for our teams yet as it cannot be done after-the-fact I am
certain that our varsity teams IPEs in 2013 were markedly improved over our 2012 numbers and this
had everything to do with turning close losses into definitive wins.
For every 10 balls we play attacks, blocks, serves, and ball handling (passes and sets) how many do
we keep in play? Penn States Team IPE for the 2008 Final Four was .743 (for every 10 balls played 7.4
were kept in play), which recognizes that PSU gave up nearly 25% of their opponents points on their
own errors. This equates to Penn States yielding roughly 6 points per game on its own errors. In our
league, too, 6 yielded points per game can make all the difference. The 2012 varsity teams 3-0 loss at
Loyola, in which each game was won by two, turned into a 3-0 beat-down against the Dons at home
this past season. To minimize our inefficiency while maximizing our confidence and aggressiveness
will again be keys this season and beyond.
In the summer of 2013, I read an article written by Oakland University Head Coach Rob Beam that
breaks down the IPE concept even further. In his analysis, Coach Beam determined what statistics had
the greatest correlation to winning i.e. statistics that actually matter and those that had the
greatest correlation to losing i.e. empty stats. Concerning the latter, it was interesting to read
that hitting error percentage was not a strong determinant to winning or losing, neither was the service
ace-to-service error ratio. Instead, this study also highlighted efficiency as a means of success:
service errors are not as deleterious as are receive errors; kills alone are not as important unless they
combine with aces and total team blocks. Last season, we put some new drills into varsity practices as
we strived to realize that sometimes elusive 2% by focusing on game skills that matter most.
As always, preparing each player in the Gilman Volleyball Program for improvement and success
means that the program must be guided by clearly defined principles. In turn, these principles should
dictate the methods by which the coaches teach and the players practice and learn the game.

HELPING PLAYERS UNDERSTAND SKILL PERFORMANCE


1. Simplify the information given to players
2. Demonstrate the desired movements/skills
3. Chunk the information:
a. Demonstrate (often an experienced/varsity player will be asked to do so)
b. Practice
c. Add a key
d. Practice
e. Add a key
f.

Etc.

4. Encourage the players to formulate motor programs (muscle memories)


5. Plan for appropriate skill progressions
6. Maximize the opportunities for player response in all drills
7. Provide constant feedback, with particular respect to performance (not result)

INCREASING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PLAYER RESPONSE


1. Tutoring: Utilize time for a coach to work with one, two, or three players at a time on a specific
part of a skill.
2. Small Groups: When not running six-on-six drills, organize three-player and four-player drills to
maximize the number of contacts each player gets.
3. Wash Games (ties): During drills that involve a team-versus-team rally, adding a down ball or
free ball after the first rally ends allows for more player response, as well as more competition to
reach a set goal.
4. Competition: Make every drill competitive except for those that focus on a learning phase,
like you go I throw or blocking footwork. Instead of having a set time for a specified drill,
establish goals for players. When the goal is reached or one team wins the drill ends.
5. Multiple Contact Drills: As skill level improves, make sure there is at least one extra ball put into
play after the first rally ends. This increases the additional contacts in a short period of time
while reinforcing player focus, transition, and communication.

FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS
FOREARM PASSING

PRINCIPLES

Physical readiness dictates result: butt low and elbows locked


The ball should be tracked to the center line of the body
The ball knows angles so let the angle of the forearm platform do the work
Simple movements are better than complex movements the simpler the movement, the
more easy it will be for the player to repeat it

KEYS
1. Elbows locked and hands pointed straight down: show the thumbnails
2. Wrists and hands together: make an X with the hands and make thumbnails friends
3. Face the ball and get the ball on the midline (chest) and the midline over the lead leg
4. Angle the forearm platform: butt down (lower than the ball), arms up!
5. Quick and simple footwork

DRILLS

Toss-Pass-Catch 2-man
o

Partner Sets of 10 (or 15 or 20)

Straight

Side-hops

Side-reaches

Ten-foot to baseline shuffle

Net transition passing

Quick 4s (or 5s)

Shuttle passing (pass and follow) 3-man or 4-man

Big X (pass and follow) 2 balls

Variable Butterfly drills (done from 4 different perspectives: 5-5, 5-1, 1-5, 1-1): small, killer, big
tossers
passers

tossers

passers

SERVING

PRINCIPLES

Serving should follow the same mechanics as throwing, especially regarding footwork
Movements use torque to generate force
Simple movements are better than complex movements the simpler the movement, the
more easy it will be for the player to repeat it
90%+ of standing serves in; 80%+ of jump serves in

KEYS (floater)
1. Bow and arrow (hand already up and flat)
2. Hitting elbow up and shoulder back
3. Shoulders straight, swing straight
4. Contact ball on heel and calluses of hand
5. Stop swing motion upon contact with ball

KEYS (jump float)


1. Lead with left (opposite) foot
2. Step, step, toss, and continue approach footwork
3. Dont swing arms back maintain bow-and-arrow right-angle arm position
4. Contact ball on heel and calluses of hand

KEYS (jumper)
1. Right hand, right foot (or left hand, left foot)
2. Step, toss, and continue four-step approach
3. High toss, out in front of body (toward baseline)
4. Swing arms to jump, using attack approach footwork

DRILLS

Ball and Wall

Ten-foot to Ten-foot (progressions backward) 2-man

Target Practice On the Mat

(Work serving into game-action and receive drills, such as #135 and Beat Clay Stanley)

HITTING

PRINCIPLES

Jump high and hit hard


Momentum and arm swing will assist with timing
Movements use torque to generate force
Simple movements are better than complex movements the simpler the movement, the
more easy it will be for the player to repeat it

KEYS
1. Four-step approach for ALL hitters out of serve receive or free ball transition
a. Right (positive) foot forward
b. Small right, small left, biggest right, big left (to close): keep feet basically parallel
c. Slow, slow, fast, fast
d. Second step: on or behind the ten-foot line
e. Fourth (final) step: in line with third step and not too close to net
2. Arm swing: down, back, up
3. Follow-through: full arm swing through and past same side hip

DRILLS

You Go, I Throw (second or third-step hit)

I Throw, You Go (first or second-step hit)

Stevenson (dig to hitting transition footwork)

Pass or Dont Pass Transition (OH hitting only) (like 5 v 2 or 6 v 3 OH Training Drill)
C

passers/hitters
passers

5-4-3-2-1

5 v 2 (OH competition drill against full defense) or 6 v 3 (OH-M)

TIMING
Timing regulates hitting, and timing is determined by when the hitter starts his approach footwork:
1. First-step sets 4s: hitter takes his first step when the setter touches the ball
2. Second-step sets 3s: hitter is on his second step when the setter touches the ball
3. Third-step sets 2s: hitter is on his third step when the setter touches the ball
4. Fourth-step sets 1s: hitter is on his final step/is in the air when the setter touches the ball

SHUFFLE FOOTWORK
Preparing to hit necessitates moving at an angle, rather than running straight. Use shuffle steps:
1. Pass and move directly into hitting approach
2. Pass and use three-step shuffle
3. No pass and use five-step shuffle

TRANSITION FOOTWORK
From the left (turn to face the court):
1. Four off (jump turn on second step) and four back
2. Three off-three back (for a quicker set)
From the middle:
1. Blocking left: three off-three back
2. Blocking middle: three off-three back (always turn right)
3. Blocking right: four off-three back (turning left)
From the right: Five off-four back (jump turn on second step)

COMMUNICATION & DEDICATION


Hitters must call for the ball. Prior to a hitting line toss and prior to the service whistle in a match, hitters
must communicate with their setters to make sure they are on the same page and same timing.
When the ball is in the air, the hitter should continue to call for the ball. This gives the opposing blockers
audio to sift through as they try to figure out where the set is going while also helping the setting hear
where his hitters are as his eyes are on the ball.
Hitters hit. Not every set is going to be perfect. Too bad. Hitters hit. It is the responsibility of the hitter to
stay behind the ball and to swing, regardless of where the set it put. If the hitter overcommits before
gauging the set, he will find himself under the ball, struggling to keep it in play with any force.

SETTING

PRINCIPLES

Move to the ball do not let the ball play you


Ball must fall into bridge of nose and forehead to be set legally
Simple movements are better than complex movements the simpler the movement, the
more easy it will be for the player to repeat it
Footwork is as important as hand work

KEYS
1. Hands up early
2. Form shape of a ball
3. Ball should fall into bridge/curve of nose and forehead
4. Face the ball, square to the target
5. Plant right foot lead
6. Setters establish target off the net

DRILLS

Seated set with partner hands up, head back, in sit-up position (form work)

Toss-Set-Catch 2-man
o

Progressions moving further apart as technique improves

1s

2s

3s

4s

Linear 3s (backsets w/ middle setter)

Up from 1 follow your set across the net

Bounce-Sets work on adjusting to passes all over the court

Working with setters (heavy) ball

BLOCKING

PRINCIPLES

Hitters tend to hit the ball where the set takes them
Using the arms when blocking allows blockers to move more quickly and jump higher
Set a triple block on any set you can get to

KEYS
1. Eyework: ball setter ball hitter (BSBH)
2. Footwork: use consistent patterns
3. Hands over the net thumbs up (wrists almost together) upon penetration

SWING BLOCKING KEYS


1. Three-step move first step always with leading leg
2. Hands go down when starting to move
3. Square to the hitter when crossing over
4. If late, always reach arms and hands toward the hit

DRILLS

Six Trips
o

5-3-3

5-2-2

3-3-3

3-2-2

Q3-3-3

Q3-2-2

BLOCKING PREPARATION
1. BUNCH READ: When preparing a block, the OH and MB should overlap forearms and the MB
and OPP should overlap hands
2. LOAD: Blockers need to move quickly and be in a crouch, ready to go up
3. TRAP: Off of the bunch read, blockers move together to double-team the hitter
4. FRONT: Eye your hitter and line the hitters swing arm up with your midline

TEAM STRATEGIES

DEFENSE

PRINCIPLES

Put the best defenders where the majority of the balls go


Read the opposition
GO 100% of the balls must be pursued with dives and sprawls, even after the fact
Communication and team coordination are almost as crucial as skill execution

KEYS
1. Blocking stance: hands even with head, ready to load
2. Back row stance: feet apart, knees bent, arms ready
3. Read a hitter:
a. Pick up the set
b. Know the tendency of the hitter
c. Watch the hitters approach
d. Watch the hitters shoulders
4. Digging target: 10 x 20

SYSTEM
1. Basic defensive positioning
When the ball is on the opponents side of the net prior to any
attack we will align ourselves in the basic defensive positions
shown at right.
It is important to reset ourselves to these ready positions prior
to each opponent attack; regardless of where that attack
comes from, these basic spots allow for the quickest and easiest
shifts into proper defensive/digging locations.
*We run a combination of rotation and perimeter schemes:
Note the slight adjustment, as we are moving all three back-row
defenders especially the m(b) FORWARD; doing this will leave
less room behind the middle block, as well as allow us greater
opportunity to open-hand dig first balls over.

OH1

m(l)

OPP
s

oh2

(3x3)

(3x3)

2. Free ball/down ball transition


When we realize that their second contact is not a set that will
be attacked at the net, we transition into free ball. (see
right)
This means that all three hitters use transition footwork to reach
the ten-foot line, the setter moves to target, and the two
remaining back-row defenders split the backcourt.

s
OH1

M
m(l)

OPP
oh2

SETTER SHOULD NOT PLAY THE FIRST BALL OVER!

3. Defending opponents attack (basic)


(10x10)

(10x10)
M OPP

OH1
s
m(l)
(sight line off Ms
inside hand)

OH1 M

OPP

m(l)
s

OH1 M
OPP
m(l)

oh2

oh2

s
oh2

(sight line off Ms


inside hand)

If possible, triple block middle


attacks. If so, S needs to rotate
up to cover tips.
On double blocks, S covers the
1-6 seam.

4. Defending opponents attack (specials)

M OPP
OH1
m(l)

v. tandem

OH1 M
s

m(l)

oh2

OPP
s

oh2

v. slide

M
OH1

OPP

m(l)

s
oh2

v. pipe

In all defensive scenarios, it is incumbent on the back row defenders in the 1 and 5 positions to read their post
blockers. If a triple-block is set on a middle attack, both the 1 and 5 diggers must come up and around,
covering the tip positions along the ten-foot line.
DIGGERS KEYS: 1) never hide behind a block
2) watch the TOPS of the blockers hands

DEFENDING WHEN THE PASS IS PERFECT


1. BSBH
2. Know the opponents distribution on perfect passes
3. Be ready for the quick and the slide
4. Read the block, find the seam or hole, sit, and dig the ball

DEFENDING WHEN THE PASS IS GOOD


1. READ!
2. Wing help be loaded and ready
3. MBs: dont follow

DEFENDING WHEN THE PASS IS BAD


1. Transition quickly
2. MB: decide quickly whether to block or transition
3. Block line with line defenders digging 1-6 and 5-6 seams

STATISTICAL TENDENCIES

6%

8%

8%

12%

Balls that land in front of the ten-foot line include all tips and balls
that have been blocked and fall over the blockers

8%

18%

17%

7%

50% of all opponent attacks land between 10 and 20 feet,


including 35% that fall to middle-middle (1 in every 3 balls)

3%

5%

5%

3%

Only 16% of balls that come over fall in the back third of the court,
with 1 in every 10 (total) falling to deep middle-back

12-20% of all attacks


come from opponents
OH

Because a full 45% of all


balls played over the net
fall in the patterned area,
most Liberos (and teams
best passers) play in the
middle-back position

OFFENSE

PRINCIPLES

Put the best passers where the majority of the balls go


Put the best hitters where the majority of the sets go
Build the system around the abilities of the players
The faster you can play the more difficult it will be to defend you
Do not try to do tactically what you cannot do technically keep it simple

KEYS
1. It all begins with passing: the better the pass, the better the offensive opportunities
2. Quick hitters should always try to make the opposing middle blocker move
3. Setters should jump set as much as possible, especially on all perfect passes
4. Motion attracts blockers and can be used to open up the desired hitter
5. It is often a good idea to set the gap in front of the opponents worst blocker

RECEIVE RESPONSIBILITIES
Because the ball knows angles, all three players in serve receive
should be prepared to cover serves that fall a) up and to the right
and b) back and to the left.

This means that if a passer needs to reach for a pass, he should do


so only to his left.
LEFT IS RIGHT, RIGHT IS WRONG.

OFFENSIVE PREPARATION
1. FIXED POINT SET: 3s and 4s, as the placement of the set does not move in relation to the setter
2. FLOATING POINT SET: 1s, 2s, and some slides, as the placement of the set moves with the setter
3. SLIDE: When the hitter slides in back of the setter
4. AUDIBLE: The setter will have two calls for each receive rotation; the first will be a basic play,
such as WHITE, GRAY, or BLUE; the second call is the audible that the setter will call on either a
perfect receive or a free ball
5. COMMUNICATION IS KEY: The setter must get every hitter on the same page prior to every rally,
and then all hitters must call for the ball and commit to their fakes and coverage

SYSTEM
1. Basic set numbers/heights

SHOOT

HUT
32
31

2. Basic set calls


X

--

any hit where two hitters cross (and switch positions)

--

any hit where two players hit in tandem (side by side, one ball height
difference)

STACK

--

any hit where 1st hitter fakes and 2nd hitter is set directly behind 1st hitter
(one or two ball height difference)

SLIDE

--

any hit (by a right-hander) where hitter slides from front-middle to hit a
back quick, 2, or 3 behind the setter/in the OPP position

PIPE

--

a back-row/ten-foot-line hit right up the middle

A ball B ball PIPE C ball D ball


ball
ball

B ball: primarily used in a PIPE


COMBINATION in-between
M and OHs hitting positions

D ball: used in a 5-1 when S is


front row and #1 digger will be
the right-side attacker from
the T

3. Running plays
o

setter calls the play before the serve either with name or hand signal

EYE CONTACT is critical between setter and all hitters

setter may call two plays:

a) for serve receive and


b) for a free ball

free balls should yield perfect passes, which means aggressive play-calling

setter may call a certain serve receive play to allow front row players to switch positions
within the first attack

4. Set plays

4/HUT

2or1 S

2or1 S

4/HUT

2or1 S

WHITE
(basic)

BLUE
(basic)

PEEK-A-BOO
(hut-X)

flat hand pulled away from


chest

flat hand waggling side-toside

wave hand in front of face

1.5 S

4/HUT

2 1 S

X3
(or X4)

HUT X or 4X
(or 3X)

TANDEM
(T2 or T3)

hang ten waggling hand

index and pinky fingers of


both hands touching

motorcycle grips or index


and middle finger (if hidden)

1 S
2

S1.5

4/HUT

FIST
(slide)

HOUND
(safety)

tap straight hand with number


of fingers for backset

two fists knocked together

tap waist

PIPE

STACK
(TECH 3 or TECH4)

HUT 31/32

HUT

1 S

SHOOT/ 31/32 S
HUT

PINK
(pipe combination)

CAPTAIN FALCON
(off receive or free ball)

FLAMING HAWK
(off receive)

index finger taps chin

hand to shoulder

talking hand

5. Middle attacks
Because passes are not always on target but setting the M is always a desired option, consider
the Bermuda Triangle:
This means that the M must consider where the setter is when he sets the ball and adjust his
placement across and off the net accordingly. The two will align along the axes.
The same numbered set can be delivered, and this alignment will ensure that the M is never
ahead of the ball.

M S

6. Offensive coverage
NO HITTER GOES UP ALONE!
Every time we attack, all players must assume the block, expecting our hit to come back at us.
It is critical that the five players do not simply watch our hitter get blocked.
Get to positions, drop and COVER!
*BASIC RULES OF THUMB:

OH1

m(l) (inside
cup)

oh2

On outside hit coverage, the only player who remains in the middle third of the court is
the oh2 (see below left)

On middle and opposite hit coverage, the m(l) and oh2 cheat in and split the court
not unlike a short free ball positioning

COVERERS: LOOK AT THE BLOCKERS HANDS! Do not watch the hitter and the ball

OH1

OPP

(outside
cup)

(outside
cup)

M
(inside
cup)

OPP
s

OH1
m(l)

m(l)
oh2

oh2

OPP