When it comes to volleyball, spiking is undoubtedly one of the most challenging and entertaining techniques.
Spiking is the most active and effective offense in volleyball matches and an essential means of scoring, accounting for 60% -70% of the team’s score.
Volleyball spike requires high-intensity explosive force, excellent coordination, and accurate technical mastery to achieve perfect results in the game.
In this blog post, we’ll cover how to master the perfect spike in volleyball.
Table of Contents
What Is a Spike in Volleyball
Spike is a fundamental move in volleyball for beginners. It occurs when a player jumps into the air, using a single hand or arm, and sends the ball above the net and into the opponent’s court. This action, performed with a spiking technique, is known as a “spike. “
Types of Spiking in Volleyball
There are different types of spiking in volleyball – the outside, middle, and back hits based on who the hitter is. The leading hitters are outside hitters, middle blockers, and opposite hitters.
The different types of volleyball spikes include three main categories:
Tempo – The speed of the set
Power – How hard the spiker hits the ball
- Soft/Off-speed Spike
Targeting – How the ball is targeted
- Regular Spike
- Cross-Court Shots
- Reverse Cross
- LIne shots
- Back Row Attack
- Down Balls/Standing Spike
- Tool Shot/Wipes
Starting with a solid understanding of regular volleyball spikes is crucial for beginners, as it lays the foundation for other spiking techniques.
Volleyball spike involves five key phases:
- Preparation – Get ready for the spike.
- Approach – Build momentum with your run-up.
- Take-off – Spring into action.
- Mid-air Strike – Make contact with the ball in mid-flight.
- Landing and Recovery – Safely land and prepare for the next move.
The most common spike position is from zone 4, as mentioned in the volleyball position, with a three-step approach and right-hand spike.
What to do when approaching to attack？
1. Get Into Position
Before you begin your approach, get into a ready position. Slightly squat down, let your arms hang naturally, lean forward, keep your weight low, and focus your eyes on the incoming ball. Your body should be aligned with the ball’s direction, preparing for your approach.
2. Spike Approach Footwork
The volleyball approach aims to increase the jumping height and choose the jump place and time.
A three-step approach is typical for regular spike, often called a two-and-a-half-step or two-step approach.
Let’s keep it simple: whether it’s two steps, two and a half, or three, it’s essentially the same movement. The only difference is whether you count that final deceleration step.
Direction and Speed
Approach direction and speed are determined based on the ball’s direction, arc, and landing point.
One Small, Two Big, and Three Combined
Move out and prepare to step forward spike. This step is an adjustment step. Depending on the situation, the step can be large or small, more or less.
Step 1 – Look at the ball’s position when you’re ready. The first step with your left foot should be small and help you look for the direction of the jump.
Step 2 – Take the second step with your right foot in a big way, with your hands swinging back as high as possible to your head to accelerate the speed.
Move your right foot forward and land on the heel first. Then, your center of gravity moves from the heel to the ball of your foot.
At the same time, it can help adjust the body and the ball distance, solving the person and the ball position relations.
Step 3 – The third step is the last or last half step. It is the most critical step. Why?
During the ground contact of an approach jump, the horizontal velocity gained from the second step is converted to vertical velocity. It helps us prevent net touch.
At the end of the second step, when the center of gravity is on the ball of the right foot, the left foot follows the right foot step forward quickly. At the same time, you need to swing your arm from backward to upward to your head.
The left foot buckles relatively inward so that the center of gravity does not go up to prevent the net.
How you approach the spike can make a big difference in your success in volleyball.
There are three common variations in your approach route:
- Straight Approach – When you see the ball coming your way and are in an excellent position to spike it directly, use the straight approach.
- Curved Approach – Also known as the arched approach, is ideal when dealing with a ball set wide or pulled to the side.
- Diagonal Approach – A diagonal approach can be effective for a ball in the middle of the net. This approach lets you adapt to a centralized ball and make a powerful spike.
Where the setter sets the ball and where it will land are crucial in deciding your approach for a spike. If the set is high, you’ll have more time to prepare. If it’s low, you’ll need to react quickly. This sets the stage for your jump.
90% of the volleyball approach is to jump with both feet.
Your last step before jumping should be with your left foot if you’re right-handed (or the opposite for left-handed players). This allows for better balance and control.
Now comes the exciting part – the jump! As you push off the ground, use both arms to swing forward energetically. This helps you gain momentum and height. Simultaneously, your core muscles should engage, propelling your body upward.
- Quick and Strong Push-Off – You must push off the ground with speed and power when you jump to achieve the most heights.
- Coordinated Effort – Your take-off, arm swing, and core engagement should work together seamlessly. This teamwork is vital for generating the most spring from your jump.
- Timing is Everything – Pay attention to the timing of your approach. If you start your run-up too early, your jump might feel sluggish. Conversely, if you’re too late, you might rush your jump.
4. Rear Hand Back & Hit
A strike is the key to scoring.
A good volleyball spike pose ensures a substantial kill.
Keep your chest upright and lean back, turning slightly to your right side. Your body should form a curved shape.
Raise your right arm backward and upward, with the elbow joint higher than your ear or at ear level.
As you swing your arm, rapidly rotate your body, engage your core, and sequentially involve the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints to move forward and upward in a whip-like swinging motion.
When hitting the ball, slightly spread your five fingers, primarily using the palm to contact the ball. Grasp the ball with your entire palm. At the highest point of your hand extension, strike the ball in the middle to the upper section.
Simultaneously, actively apply wrist action, flex your fingers to control the ball, and push it forward and downward to create a topspin during the spike.
During the spike, pay attention to three key points:
- Precision – Hit the ball with the entire palm in the middle to the upper or middle section, ensuring that your palm and wrist control the ball’s direction, arc, and landing spot.
- Reach the highest point – While swinging your arm forward and upward for the spike, ensure a shoulder-raising motion at the moment of strike and fully extend your arm.
- Utilize forearm acceleration – The forearm should exhibit a distinct whip-like motion, driving the wrist’s whipping action. Even after making contact with the ball using your palm, continue accelerating to increase the force applied to the ball.
When landing after your spike, ensure a safe and smooth transition:
- Land on the balls of your feet first, then transition to your entire foot to absorb the landing’s impact.
- Bend your knees and engage your core to cushion the landing.
Landing with both feet to avoid knee injuries. You’re ready to get out on the court and practice your volleyball spikes. Enjoy the game!
Volleyball Spike Technique
How do you spike a volleyball better? Please remember the following techniques and practice them in your daily volley life.
The approach has two purposes: to get closer to the ball and select the right take-off point and to utilize the horizontal speed generated during the approach to increase the jumping height.
Footwork should be adaptable based on the ball. Regardless of the number of steps in the approach, the first step should be small, and the second step should be significant.
If you begin a back row attack or do a jump topspin serve, you must fly forward for some distance in mid-air. The third step, the deceleration step, needs to be more extensive.
Take a three-step approach for a right-handed spike as an example:
- First step: Take a natural step toward the ball’s landing point with the left foot. Its primary purpose is to determine the approach direction. The first step should be small but in line with the direction of the subsequent steps; this step is also known as the directional step.
- Second step: Take a giant stride and move quickly, ensuring the support point lands before your body’s center of gravity. Your body should lean backward naturally, shifting and lowering your center of gravity, which is beneficial for momentum.
- Third step: First, land on the heel of the right foot and then transition to a full-foot landing. This aids in controlling the body’s forward momentum, increasing tension in the leg muscles, and improving jumping height. This step plays a vital role in adjusting the distance between your body and the ball, determining the critical take-off point.
Jump Technique and Position
The final step of the approach is called the takeoff step, serving as both the conclusion of the approach and the preparatory movement for takeoff.
Choosing a spot approximately arm’s length away from the ball for the takeoff position is generally advisable. This allows for maintaining a favorable alignment of the body and the ball, facilitating the full utilization of the body’s coordinated power and sustaining a higher point of impact.
How can you spike harder? The secret is to increase the volleyball spike speed of the arm swing.
When jumping and leaving the ground, swing your left arm forward to maintain the stability of your upper body in mid-air.
The hitting arm should have a bent elbow, placed to the side of the head, with the elbow higher than the shoulder, forming a reverse arch shape with the body.
A reasonable elbow bend can shorten the rotational radius around the shoulder during the arm swing, reducing rotational inertia and increasing the initial speed of the arm swing.
With a constant angular speed of arm swing rotation, the straighter the upper arm swings, the larger the swinging radius, and the faster the linear speed of the arm swing. This results in a more powerful spike.
Points of Contact
When hitting the ball, generating massive momentum and speed in your hitting hand is essential. In spiking, the coordinated hitting power comes from the whip-like action of the arms, culminating in a quick flick and acceleration from the wrist, exerting pressure with the entire palm on the ball.
The ideal point of contact for a spike should be in front of you, slightly above the highest point of your jump, and when your hitting arm is fully extended.
For a powerful cross-court spike, your point of contact should remain above the highest point of your right shoulder.
When hitting with the entire palm, focus on the back-middle section of the ball. Your wrist should exhibit a noticeable pushing and rolling action, sending the ball with rapid topspin into the target area.
Hand Position When Spiking
When spiking the ball, we often find it challenging to make the ball land exactly where we want, and the issue often lies in how we handle the ball in our hands.
Before striking the ball, your hands should be relaxed and open. At the moment of impact, your entire palm should wrap around the ball, rotating it upward. This technique ensures that the ball lands where you intend it to.
Likewise, you can apply external rotation or internal rotation to create straight and angled shots.
How can we improve volleyball spiking time? The secret is to recognize the right tempo to approach and jump.
The approach should begin earlier when the setter delivers a low or fast pass. If the ball is high, the approach should start a bit later. Players with slower movements should initiate the approach earlier, while quicker players should do so later.
Initiating the approach too early or too late can affect the quality of the jump spike. The last step of the approach serves as both a momentum and take-off step, playing a crucial role in both deceleration and acceleration.
The timing for the attack is often referred to as tempo, which can be categorized into four tempos: the first, second, third, and minus tempo.
- The first tempo involves the attacker starting the approach before the setter contacts the ball, coordinating with the setter for a quick attack, often called a “quick attack.”In this tempo, the attacker takes their first step before the second pass, moving with the ball. It is suitable for executing quick-attack tactics.
- The second tempo means that the attacker’s approach and the setter’s timing for the set are initiated at approximately the same time, leading to a mid-height attack. The second pass is made while preparing to take a step and swing the arm. This tempo is generally used in half-height tactical plays.
- The third tempo involves coordinating with a high set, allowing ample time for the approach before the spike. The second pass is made when the ball is nearly at its highest point, and then the player takes a step and swings the arm backward. This tempo is suitable for adjusting the ball or for regular sideline attacks.
- The minus tempo means the attacker has already completed both the approach and the preparation for the jump before the setter sets the ball.
Volleyball Spike Tips
Below are the essential techniques for executing a regular spike in volleyball. By practicing and honing these skills over time, you can gradually master them and perform at your best during matches.
Slow to Fast Approach
When performing a regular spike in volleyball, executing an approach is essential. The speed of your approach should transition from slow to fast, allowing you to achieve greater bounce height and power when taking off.
During your approach, it’s crucial to follow a one-two-step pattern. This means taking one step first, then the second step, ending with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees bent, which helps you gain more bounce height and power during takeoff.
Elbow Above Shoulder
During takeoff, swing both arms upward and raise your elbows. Your elbows should go above your shoulders to attain more power and height.
Tuck Chest, Thrust Arms
When hitting the ball mid-air, lean back slightly and engage your core. At the same time, vigorously swing your arms to generate additional power.
Engage Core for Hip Thrust
When hitting the ball in mid-air, apply force from your core. This transfers power to your arms and wrists, enabling you to spike the ball into the opponent’s court.
Engage Arm and Wrist
While hitting the ball in mid-air, engage both your arm and wrist. This amplifies your strength and directs the ball into the opponent’s court.
High and Centered Contact
When hitting the ball mid-air, ensure the contact point is higher than the net and centered on the ball.
Palm the Ball Forward
After successfully executing a frontal spike, cradle the ball with your palm and propel it towards the opponent’s court.
Volleyball Spike Drills
To perfect your volleyball spike technique, you need to engage in consistent and repetitive practice.
Firstly, you can do some exercises to improve the volleyball spike. For example, you can utilize basic training exercises like jumping rope, push-ups, and sit-ups to improve your explosiveness and coordination.
Secondly, you can create a DIY Volleyball Spike Trainer to aid your practice.
Finally, you can elevate your skill level by practicing with your teammates. During these practice sessions, you can enhance your reaction time and coordination by collaborating with your teammates, improving your overall technical proficiency, and delivering better performance during matches.
Spiking, one of the fundamental techniques in volleyball, is the most potent offensive skill. It is crucial in the game as the final key component in executing offensive tactics based on the second pass. It’s a potent weapon for scoring points and establishes a strong foundation for striving for victory in a match.
Embark on practicing spiking to become the ace spiker in volleyball!