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Thursday, December 7th 2006, 10:48am

How to Spike

Three Basic Types of Spikes; Approach is Always the Same
An effective team has several different methods of attacks in their arsenal. The three basic attacks are the dink, the off-speed spike, and the hard-driven spike.

* The dink is an effective tool when your opponents have learned the timing of your attack. A well placed dink behind the opponent's front line will often demoralize the opponent and let your team gain the momentum.
* The off-speed spike is like a dink but delivered deeper into the opponent's court.
* The hard-driven spike is hitting hard with the idea of getting the ball to the ground as fast as you can.

Whether you dink, off-speed spike or slam down a hard driven spike the approach to the ball should always look the same.

Wait for the spike with your weight shifted forward and ready to move. Be careful not to start off to early and keep an eye on the setter until the ball is set.

After the set maintain eye contact on the ball and start your approach when the ball is half the distance from yourself and the setter.

Start your approach when the ball is at the top of the flight arc.

Plant, Swing, Transfer and JUMP!

The arm swing will transfer your weight forward and up, producing a higher jump.

As you approach you last two steps should step to jump with both of your arms swinging back to at least waist height. Plant your heels to stop your forward movement and swing your arms forward and up transferring your weight to the balls of your feet and jump.

How to Dink the Volleyball

When your approach is the same each time, deciding to dink or slam is a last-minute decision.

At this point you can decide how you will hit the ball. If you want to dink the ball, contact the ball when your arm is fully extended and in front of your hitting shoulder. Contact the ball on the lower back half of the ball with your fingers. Make sure you keep your eyes on the ball even after you contact the ball. Follow through with your hand in the direction of the dink careful not to make contact with the net.

How to Spike Hard or Soft

Both the off-speed and hard-driven spikes differ in that you make contact the ball on the center back of the ball with the heel of your open hand. As you make contact with the ball roll your fingers over the top of the ball snapping your wrist. To make a off-speed spike, you contact will be a little higher on the ball and you need to control how hard you are hitting it and make sure to snap that wrist. You can choose to hit down or up and over a blocker. To make a hard-driven spike merely increase the intensity of your swing paying particular attention to increasing the force of your wrist snap and hitting up and over the ball.

The biggest difference between big spike and a soft spike is how hard you hit it. The harder you hit it, the lower on the ball you want to be and always snap that wrist.

Some Common Mistakes when Spiking
Players will often make two major errors when attempting to attack the ball.

1. Starting the Approach Early - Anticipation drives the hitter to approach too soon and contact the ball behind the hitting shoulder. You know you are leaving to early when you have to stop your motion and wait for the ball. Usually you will end up well under the ball's flight path. Hitting the ball behind your shoulder almost always results in the ball traveling behind the back line and out-of-bounds.
2. Not getting to the Ball - If you find that your shots are doing the opposite and traveling into the net then you are hitting the ball too far in front of your hitting shoulder. You are probably jumping too soon in your approach or you are not getting to the right spot in time for the ball to arrive.

The key is always wait for that ball to be at that highest point in it's flight path before starting your approach.

Like the serve, approaching the attack the same way every time will leave your opponents guessing your next shot.


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