Why This Play Is Great – Earvin Plays A Different Game

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For more explanations of what is really happening in the game click What Just Happened Part 1-8 and for explanations of great play click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. There are also more clips of Earvin NGapeth here.

To learn more about teaching Middle Blockers good reading habits, click here.

The following play did the social media rounds recently. It is, dare I say, a classic Earvin NGapeth play. He receives the short serve and follows through to attack the first tempo. Every player on the court stands around dumbfounded, including his own teammates who react slower than him to a ball that is actually in their zone. How can this be?

In slow motion on the third view, you can see what Earvin saw before the ball had crossed the net. While everyone is thinking receive, then the setter chooses the best option, then the spiker attacks, Earvin is thinking ‘if I receive this ball, like this, I will have an empty space to attack there’. Luckily he is playing with a setter like Bruno who either sees things the same way, or is smart enough to trust that Earvin has seen something and to go with it.

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Just three days after this action, there was another play that was in my mind even better that got no internet love. Check it out.

The play is essentially the same; Earvin sees a ball to play and simultaneously an opportunity to attack. The difference is it is in the middle of the rally and he runs across the whole court. The cherry on the top of this play is Bruno working out what he is up to a split second after he starts to run and preparing to set first tempo while everyone is just running around.

Thoughts are the enemy of flow‘, and no volleyball player is more consistently in the flow than NGapeth. He really is playing a different game.


If you want to study setting in a bit more detail check out this presentation that studies the techniques and tactics of 10 of the top setters in the world, both men and women. And for very special price on all current webinars, 8 in all, including ones on BLOCKING, PRACTICE, COMMUNICATION and SCOUTING click here.

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