In this book, we intend to provide ideas and concepts about modern volleyball game, its techniques and tactics. So first of all we need to know the features of volleyball and so that we can go into more detail and know how we can learn and teach it.
Volleyball is extremely team sport that needs smart, skillful and explosive and quick players. In fact, volleyball is a coordination sport and consists of several levels of coordination. The first level of coordination in volleyball is intramuscular coordination or coordination inside muscles. This coordination must be presented in the contraction units called the Sarcomere, also its components called Myosin and Actin. In order to increase intramuscular coordination and coordination within contractile units we must develop maximum strength. Volleyball is an explosive power sport. It is a combination of strength and speed. So, we can transform this maximum strength into explosive power by adding speed to it, and as a result, we will have players with high reaction speed and explosive power.
FIGURE 1.1 Coordination in volleyball
The second level of coordination is coordination between different muscles and joints, because we need fast players with high reaction speed and high skill in performing techniques. Players who have good agility and quickness will be able to react to the ball according to the situations of the game. In additions we must develop mobility and stability in joints, tendons and ligaments in order to transfer the force that have generated in muscles more effective and with more harmony. That’s why we need to be able to develop players who have good neuromuscular coordination and can perform volleyball techniques with the right rhythm.
The third level is coordination between the player and the ball in order to perform different volleyball techniques. Volleyball is a sport in which visual tracking of the ball is very important and critical in performing different techniques. It is important because in volleyball, unlike other sports, we can’t catch the ball and think; and we must hit the ball. Compared to other sports, this is a unique feature of volleyball. In many sports, such as basketball, handball, we can read the situation, think and decide while catching the ball. But in volleyball we can’t do that and we have to hit the ball or rebound it. As a result, we need players who can get to the right place beforehand, position himself in the right place and decide only for a moment what technique or option to use. For this reason, each volleyball technique consists of three parts. The first part is reading in which the player should be able to read or predict conditions and events of the game quickly. The next part is decision making or planning in which the player should know what to do according to that condition. And finally, the best performance the player shows based on the plan he/she intends in the best way.
As a coach we should develop all these three parts and also detect that each of our players needs improvement in which part and are performing good in which part. However, in teaching any new technique or skill first we should teach how to do the technique (hard skill) and after teach him or her how to read the situation and decide what to do.
FIGURE 1.2 Pyramid of executing any technique in volleyball
As volleyball is a sport in which hitting the ball and visual tracking are very important, the player must have a high level of coordination with the ball in performing basic volleyball techniques. These techniques are used widely in the game: reception, setting, attack, and attack coverage that form complex1 and also in complex2 which includes serve, blocking, digging, setting, counter-attack and attack coverage again. These basic techniques are the heart of the any high level team.
The next level of coordination we need in volleyball is the coordination between the player’s body and mind. The first key to success in any sport is focus and attention, both in training and in competitions. The game of volleyball is fraught with error, and unlike many sports, every error leads to a point for the opponent. Therefore, the players must be able to clear their minds after each error and pay attention to the next rally. They also need high self-confidence in performing the techniques. The coach plays a prominent role in this coordination. Having a supportive and motivational role, he can give players the confidence and courage to perform the techniques with calmness and high self-confidence. Let’s not forget that one of the principles of success in sports is that the fear of making mistakes should not hinder our progress. This issue has a more important role in volleyball because, as mentioned, if, for example, a server or an attacker hits the ball out, the opponent will get a point. But this is not the case in many sports, such as football and basketball. So, volleyball players are always under stress to avoid mistake. So the concepts of managing the risk, ball control and use the best option in case of bad sets have the important role in tactical development.
The next level of coordination that plays a decisive role in volleyball is coordination between players. If the players trust each other, it will lead to coordination between them and they will be able to perform their tasks with better harmony and rhythm and consequently faster. This coordination should be technical, tactical, and moral. It is the coach’s responsibility to create it. There must be a positive and respectful relationship between players to support each other in various game situations. In books and articles, it is called EQ, and it means that players must understand and appropriately treat each other. One of the persons who play a significant role in this coordination is setter. The setter is the one who connects the reception and attacking chain and is responsible for improving the quality of the ball and the game. So, the coaches should pay special attention to the setter. All positions are important in volleyball, but it can be said that the setter position is more important in team leadership and create positive and productive environment in the team.
On the other hand, maybe volleyball is the only sport in which players must rotate. The coach must promote the team to its peak of performance in every six rotations so we will have balance in all rotations. As a coach we must look at our team as six teams, each rotation one team! If we want to look more deeply we have six teams when we are in serve reception and we have six teams when we are in serve. For instance, in rotation 5 when we are in serve reception our libero will be in the court but in this rotation if we are in serve, our libero will be out of the court. So the concept of balance in all rotations will create more coordinate and smooth performance of the team.
The next level of coordination is the coordination between the players, the technical staff including the coach, assistant coach, scout man, conditioning coach, therapist, trainer, etc. and the management staff as three prominent factors for success. The coordination between these three elements plays a vital role in team success. Trust and understanding between coaches and players create harmony and coordination that is necessary to achieve team discipline and executing effective tactics for high level success.
The next level is the coordination that I believe exists between the entire team and the universe. This means that the team must be always hopeful, mentally tough and doesn’t give up when facing a problem, and must continue persistently and smartly. Optimism and hopefulness in the team help us to maintain our poise and peak performance in the difficult conditions that we will face in training, games and competitions.