Successful volleyball players combine leaping ability and athleticism with power and technique. No matter how gifted you are athletically, however, you must learn the key volleyball fundamentals first. Develop your serving, passing and hitting skills, which apply to both the indoor and beach volleyball games.
According to Strength and Power for Volleyball.com, the key components to a good serve are tossing the ball in front of your serving shoulder, keeping your serving elbow high and back, using the middle of your hand to contact the middle of the ball and following through with a powerful arm swing. There are two types of serves: floaters, which have little spin and are hard to judge, and jump serves, which require a running start, a leap and then a strike on the ball at its highest point, creating a serve with topspin and speed.
Passing well allows a player to set up her teammates for a powerful return. But being in the right position is critical and that means being light on your feet and taking steps smoothly without bouncing up and down, according to the pros at Strength and Power for Volleyball.com. Once you're in position to receive the ball, bend your knees with your arms extended (elbows locked) and your hands turned down at the wrists to provide a solid platform to hit the ball cleanly with your forearms. Through practice you'll know where your setter will be to receive your pass.
One of the most important techniques setters need is the ability to anticipate where the ball is being passed to, so they can beat the ball to the spot. The ball should be set just above the forehead, using the fingertips with your hands less than 1 foot apart. For stability and power, stand with one foot in front of the other and try to shift your weight from the back foot to the front foot as you reach to set the ball to a striker.
To end a play with authority, be ready to jump and meet the ball at the highest point possible, with the greatest force you can muster. To do this, you must see where the ball is being set and run to a spot where you can leap and hit the ball over the net. Volleyball.com advisers suggest using the speed from your last couple of steps for momentum and to swing your arms back before you jump. As you jump to meet the ball, swing both arms high to maximize your height and strike the ball in front of your hitting shoulder by snapping your wrist to give you maximum topspin.
James Roland is the editor of a monthly health publication that has approximately 75,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada. Previously, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, covering issues ranging from the environment and government to family matters and education. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.