How To Set A High Ball

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Some coaches like to minimise risk.  The theory is that making mistakes lets the other team win and if you don’t make mistakes, the other team will make mistakes and you will win.  There is some truth in this, for some levels and for some sports.  However, there are two obvious flaws in the argument.  Firstly, if you take less risk, you score less points.  Secondly, if the other team doesn’t make mistakes, then you don’t score any points and you will probably lose.

In volleyball, the goal is to score points.  The best way to score points is to spike.  The spiking team ALWAYS has the advantage.  In my teams, I encourage (preach, demand) the players to treat every second contact as a setting opportunity.  Now matter where the ball is, or whether or not we can use an actual volleyball technique the goal is to put the ball in a place from where we can spike.

Sometimes we will make an error that might be considered unnecessary, but sometimes it turns out like this.  As it happens, sometimes the intent is more important than the technique.  In the end we spike a lot of balls that others might not and the team that spikes ALWAYS has the advantage.  Plus it is more fun to play like that.

Notice the position 4 player who prepares to attack even if it looks like there is no reason.

The collection of Coaching Tips can be found here.


  1. While I fully agree with your premise, my one point of challenge would be “The spiking team ALWAYS has the advantage.” How are you defining “advantage” in this context? I ask because if we speak in terms of %s and you have a team who only gets, say, 30% kills, is it still an advantage?


    1. Advantage defined as more likely to win the point.
      On any given play if the alternatives are spiking or playing a free ball over the net the spiking team has an obvious advantage there.
      In general the team that is spiking controls the rally.
      In our league if you spike in a rally you have a 60% chance of winning. If you don’t spike you have a 30% chance.


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