Cover is a very important technique in modern volleyball that keep the team alive and gives it another chance to get score and also is very important tool in order to convert bad situation in attack to better situation. one successful cover means stealing a block point from the opponent.
Cover needs correct positioning, good reaction speed, ball control and flexibility, mental readiness and commitment in order to keep the ball alive, mindset and skill to pass the ball with high trajectory and good quality in order to organize in system offense. In semi-final match in 2022 WCH between Poland and Brazil 12% of rallies finished by attack after cover, this number for final match between Italy and Poland was 8.5%. so we can see the important and decisive role of cover and quality in cover, difference between good and great is in details.
Technical key points in cover:
- Focus and ready position (little wider and lower, hands open and far from body)
- Look at blockers hands and always think that ball will rebound from blockers hands and read the reflection of ball path
- Pass the ball with high trajectory toward attack line, if you have control on situation try to pass the ball closer to the net.
- Continue the game.
Tactically there is some differences that depend on first ball quality. When reception is perfect or good for sure we have quick attacker available and also the back row out-side hitter will participate in attack from position middle of the court; pipe (from position 3) or front pipe (between position 3 and 4) or back pipe (between position 3 and 2) and other outside hitter and opposite will attack very fast and mostly from near to antenna. So we can say that when reception is perfect or good cover system of the team is mostly technically, because all player involved in attack except libero, on the other hand, when attack is in-system cover is out of system and when attack is out of system cover is in-system.
When reception is poor and we are playing out of system in attack we should have good system for cover. Always the attacker himself/herself forms the first line of cover, and in this situation often libero and front row middle blocker have responsibility to form the second line for cover the attacker, and depend on situation setter can join second line of cover or stay back in third line of cover, backrow out-side hitter should stay back in order to cover the back-court and also be ready for counter attack, the other player (opposite or other out-side hitter) should stay in third line of cover.
FIGURE 2.7 Cover the attack from position 2 and 4 in different receptions.
Covering the quick attack and pipe depends a lot on mental readiness, awareness and reaction speed of all six players and they ball control with one-hand or two hands or other parts of body, and flexibility and defensive skills to rebound difficult balls. In women volleyball when the setter is front row player, sometimes the MB will approach for slide attack near to antenna, therefor the OP will attack front pipe or back pipe, so the positioning of players in this situation will be different as you see in figure 2.8, even if the OP doesn’t participate in attack, and setter set to MB or OH1 or OH2, she will be in second line of cover and OH2 or OH1 and L will be on third line.