September 8, 2011

Volleyball Strategy

I was wondering about your recent comment about free balls.  I'm still learning a lot about the game, and I always thought that deep corners were probably best for free balls.  But you clearly strongly prefer zones 1 and 2 (right up there with don't drink and drive).  Zone 1 I understand, but why zone 2?  Why not zone 5?  If I understand the reasons for things, it's more likely that I'll remember them.

Thanks. R.P.
Thanks for the question.  First of all, let me clarify where I consider the zones on the court (just to make sure we are on the same page) - Zone 1 is right back, Zone 2 is right front, Zone 3 is middle front, Zone 4 is left front, Zone 5 is left back and Zone 6 is middle back.

Free balls put the defensive team at a disadvantage, so whatever the defensive team can to do make the reception and re-attack of the free ball difficult for their opponents will help. 

Zone 1 - Zone 1 ball can catch the other team's middle back defensive player being lazy, if the other team's setter is right back and releases to the net for the free ball.  This creates open space within Zone 1 which can be exploited; even if the other team's middle back steps over into this zone, many times they are late and their body movement will 'carry' the pass not perfectly to the setter.

Zone 2 - Zone 2 ball is about making the setter uncomfortable because she has to turn her back to her team and she has to make an extremely quick decision about her setting choice since the ball is coming a short distance to her from the passer.  Also, a Zone 2 ball can exploit a right back defender who does not step up to the 10' line and leaves this area open (this is when the setter is in the front row). 

Zone 5 - Even though Zone 5 is the longest distance point to the setting zone, most teams will have their best ball handler playing this zone (Libero), so we are giving our free ball to their best passer.  Also, this is the most comfortable angle for a setter to receive the ball to determine which attacker to set or play to run.

Hope that helps!

Thank you so much.  I found your site recently, and have spent far to much time reading all the great information.  My daughter is only 12, so really not a lot of need for much of what's on your site, but I love learning the game.  I loved volleyball when I was young, but it was a "girls' game" then, so I never played.  I'm really enjoying having a daughter that loves playing, and I'm learning so much.  There's a lot more going on out there than just bump, set, spike.

Thanks again.  Have a great season.  R.P.
You are welcome and glad you enjoy the site.


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