I was able to get back into the gym the last few weekends and watch some club volleyball. Definitely ramping up and getting excited for Triple Crown this weekend. One of the biggest things that I noticed was there seemed to be a lot of poor passing going on and I watched multiple teams at various age groups really struggle. I know there are a LOT of reasons that we could explain away bad passing in a match, but from a strictly foundational skill level perspective, I felt like there were two things missing.
1) Calling the ball
I seem to notice this more and more and it seems to be consistent at the club and HS levels, where we have stopped calling the ball. I'm not sure how this has happened as communication is an integral part of the game. Communication between two players in serve receive because they can talk about who is actually going to pass the ball, but we should also be communicating to that player that is passing, whether or not the ball is going to be in or out. It seems that in a lot of ways, that player that is passing the ball knows that she is passing it (and everyone else knows) and that it is her responsibility to know whether or not the ball is in or out. Serve receive should really be a team effort and I don't see that as much anymore. 3 passers, talking, calling and communicating as 1 seamless unit - it really is a beautiful thing when done well.
2) Strong and Calm Platform
It was an easy decision to have interest in a passer that had a still platform and controlled the ball smoothly with her platform. But this weekend I saw a lot of weak elbows, where the ball is controlling the passer versus the other way around. I also noticed a lot of players passing behind them, which will give us a ball passed straight up at best (but probably some of #1 would help fix that as well). When a passer has a steady, strong platform, passing consistently becomes easier because the foundation of what they are doing is consistent. When we go out there and swing our arms around, hoping to make good contact we might get lucky here and there with some really good passes, but it won't ever be consistent.
Keep working on it! :) The season is young and there is a lot of training and playing still to do. If you are a passer or want to be a 6 rotations player, stay focused on your communication and your platform. It will definitely help you down the road.
Can't wait to see everyone at Triple Crown this weekend!
Photo by Ruben Salas (@rsalas705)