How to Improve as an Outside Hitter in Volleyball
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To improve as an outside hitter in volleyball, you must become physically stronger, add elevation to your vertical jump, refine your hitting techniques and build a full arsenal of attack shots. You must add more power and finesse to your game while learning to accurately place all your shots in competitive situations.
Build explosive strength in your hips and legs through plyometric exercises. Jump rope to develop more spring in your legs. Run ladder drills to build strength and foot quickness. Do squat jumps, frog jumps, box jumps, single leg push-offs, rubber band jumps and vertical jumps to improve your leaping ability.
Use resistance training to build more strength in your arms, shoulder, core and leg muscles. Do bench presses, front lat pull-downs, dumbbell shoulder presses, abdominal crunches, leg raises, one-leg deadlifts and heel raises as part of your program.
Practice your four-step approach. Remember to step outside with your right foot and take an outside approach to the net, giving you a better opportunity to adjust to the set. Use your third step to plant and your fourth step to take off. Swing your arm backward on your third step and forward and upward on your fourth step to add lift. Keep the ball in front of you while you jump. When airborne, line up your shoulders and arms to the ball. Also practice your three-step approach, which is left-right-left, for hitting quick sets.
Practice your arm swing. Keep both arms up during the jump. Point at the ball with your left hand as you bring your right hand back. Reach as high as possible. Hit the ball at the top of your jump with your arm fully extended. Snap your wrist upon impact with the ball to create topspin. Finish the swing with your right arm by your right leg. Work on controlling your shots, hitting line shots or sharp cross-court shots to beat the blockers.
Develop open-hand shots in addition to spikes. Learn to tip balls above or around blockers. Learn to power-tip the ball deeper to open spots on the court. Lean to "chip" or "roll" the ball with topspin or sidespin over or around the blockers.
Expand your shot variety and placement skills. Mix in off-speed shots, using a slower arm swing to disrupt the timing of blockers. Learn to use the whole arsenal to attack the whole court. During team practices, set up drills that call for hitting variety. Play "Simon Says," where a teammate calls out the desired shot as your approach the ball for the hit.
Do plyometric exercises with rested muscles. Slowing down your approach to time shots will cost you power. Land on the balls of your feet after hitting.
Don't do plyometric exercises after heavy resistance training. Don't square your body to the net too soon while preparing to hit.
Jeff Gordon has been reporting and writing since 1977. His most recent work has appeared on websites such as eHow, GolfLink, Ask Men, Open Sports, Fox Sports and MSN. He has previously written for publications such as "The Sporting News" and "The Hockey News." He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in 1979 with a bachelor's degree.