Left foot forward ready to hit

Step One of approach

Attacking the ball is all about timing and precision. The goal of the third hit, or spike, is to make the ball difficult for the opposing team to return. The approach for a front-row attack starts several feet behind the 10-foot line. You should be in an athletic position with your knees and hips flexed; your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, and all your weight should be on the balls of your feet.

Call it.

Watch the ball and make sure the setter knows you want to hit by calling for the ball. Some advanced teams call out numbers for each position, but any kind of call will work as long as your setter knows whatís happening.

The Approach

The footwork for the approach goes back to what is most comfortable for you. There are variations for all hitters, but usually there is a three- or four-step approach.

Arms come back, right foot forward

Step Two

Step One:

The first step (or two) is for DIRECTION. This tells the body which way itís going. Take a step with your left foot (righties).

Step Two:

The last two steps are quick. The second step is for POWER. This should be a big, long step with your right foot. Bring your arms back as your right heel lands and your weight shifts.

Step Three:

The last step is to STOP forward motion. The jump begins when your left foot joins your right, and you push off the floor. Bring your arms back as in a topspin serve and swing through, snapping your wrist. Beware of blockers!

Jump and swing

Step Three: Jump and swing!

Don't give up!

Hitting can be a very difficult skill, so don't give up if you don't get it the first time you try. I've been playing for more than 8 years, and I still struggle with it. It just takes a lot of practice and patience until you get the steps down and the timing perfect.

I didn't spend a lot of time practicing hitting when I played in middle school and high school because I mainly focused on setting. So, while all the outside hitters and middle blockers needed to practice, the coaches used me to set them up, and therefore I didn't get much practice hitting. We had a few setters on the high school team, but I still ended up doing a whole lot of setting and not much hitting, for which I have no complaints! I'm glad I got to work on the skill I liked more anyway! I am starting to develop a good approach though. It's all about repetitions and practice!