December 2, 2013

Correcting Volleyball Approach Footwork


My daughter is  middle hitter/blocker( high school freshman, 14 years old). I am trying to help her get the steps right she always seems to lead with her right foot so she is r-l-r which she then hits with her right hand. How is it best to retrain her to be l-r-l. Any drill or practice to make her the best hitter she can be? 

Thank you,


I congratulate you on being aware that your daughter's volleyball approach footwork is incorrect; we call in "goofy foot" in volleyball terms.  Some attackers use this footwork because they used to play basketball, and in basketball you always want you right foot forward (as a right hander) when you shoot the basketball.  As a result, these younger, dual sport athletes will make their last step with their right foot before jumping and attacking.

Your daughter has already established the muscle memory with this backwards footwork and it is important to change it asap, because the negative results will be that she will not hit as hard, not broad jump as much and it places too much strain on the attack shoulder which can manifest into a shoulder injury.

The only way to correct the backwards footwork is to establish new muscle memory and this is accomplished by significant repetitions the correct way; there is no easy fix.

Below are my suggestions on how to make the transition to correct footwork:

Have her take approach jump laps around the gym/court.  Left, Right, Left, Jump (not a max jump), again and again and again.  She literally needs to be taking 5, 8, 10 laps around the court with correct footwork.

After a number of days with approach jump laps, get her a bag of tennis balls (grab used ones from the school tennis coach, if possible).  She stands like she is in hitting warm-up lines facing the net, but instead of hitting a volleyball, she goes Left, Right, Left, Jump and throws the tennis ball over the net with her attacking hand/arm.  Then she walks back and does it again, and again and again.

The last step is for her to attack from a setter.  The coach, or parent, or mailman, tosses the ball to the setter and your daughter approaches Left, Right, Left, Jumps and attacks. The instant she goes into backwards footwork, immediately put her back into tennis ball throws, and back into approach jump laps.

It is critical to fix now; and the way to do it is to continuously practice the correct footwork, with gym laps and tennis ball throw.  When she plays, she will revert at times to incorrect footwork just because this was her first learning pattern, but she can make that the rarity instead of the standard with repetitions.

Good luck and getting her footwork corrected is well worth the effort!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please stay positive or at the minimum present constructive criticism - Negative comments or attacks upon other reader's opinions will not be posted.