July 27, 2017

Volleyball Armswing Advice


I've read this blog post on your site, http://www.collegevolleyballcoach.com/2010/04/volleyball-armswing-technique.html, quite a lot because it's one of the few online resources I've found that talks about the position of your thumb after contacting the ball on the attack. Most on-line resources talk about how to use this to initially shape an attack, but I am fighting the unintentional thumb down follow through you describe.

It has been very difficult for me to correct this, and I'm reaching out to you for any advice you might have on teaching yourself to correct this, or why it might be happening. Shot in the dark that you might still be answering this email, but if you are and wouldn't mind spending a quick second to reply, I would really appreciate it.


Thank you for your email and reading collegevolleyballcoach.com.

With regards to having the thumb down through the armswing, it is a physical habit which you picked up earlier in your career.  As noted in the linked article, after the moment of contact, many players will rotate their thumbs down and away from their body.

All players hands face down after hitting, and the thumb will face down, but the issue is when the hand rotates away from the body (or towards the pinky finger).  As a reminder, this down and out rotation of the thumb puts strain on shoulder.  When the thumb rotates down and out, the armswing also rotates away from the body and this out rotation is managed by the rotator cuff of the shoulder.  

As a collegiate coach, I would not recruit any players who had this thumb down and out armswing because I knew it would result in shoulder issues in the player's collegiate years.

How to improve the swing?
  • After moment of contact, try to finish the swing into your belly button, not outside your hip.  If your hand finishes in your stomach, it is very difficult to rotate the thumb down and away.  The armswing should look like "/" and not "|", if you are right handed.
  • Practice this into the stomach swing by standing to attack the ball (against a wall, into the net, over the net, etc).  High toss, step, attack and finish into the stomach.
  • During practice or training, hit into the right back corner (if you are right handed) of the opponent's court - This forces you to swing across your body (instead of away from your body) and will keep that thumb from rotating away.
Ultimately, you are changing a muscle memory and this takes many, many and many repetitions to correct.  

Good luck!


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