Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mastering the Volleyball Back Set

Although fundamentally similar to the "normal" front set, back setting causes problems for a lot of volleyball players. Here's a breakdown of this useful skill.
Before we dive into specifics, I want to stress that it's very important to learn to back set. It gives you versatility and unpredictability when you set. If you have to turn and face exactly where the ball is going, you're not going to be fooling any blockers, and you're going to be severely limited in your choice of hitters.
So, take a deep breath, and learn to back set.
First, the Differences Between Front and Back Sets:

  • You'll be extending your hands and arms behind your head instead of forward
  • Your hips will push forward slightly and your back will arch slightly to direct the ball backwards
  • You need less leg strength because generally you don't have to push the ball out as far as with an outside set, but you will need a higher arch to give the right side hitter time for an approach.

And Now, the Similarities:

  • Hand positioning is the same when you receive the ball
  • Footwork is identical, but you have to watch out for over rotating your hips and setting the ball over the net
  • Hands and arms still extend outwards, just behind your head

So now that we've done the helpful compare/contrast breakdown, what does this mean for your setting skills? Like most of the skills that get covered here on, your best bet for learning to be an outstanding back setter is practice, practice, practice.
If you're blessed with a plethora of balls and a friend or two, have someone toss you a ball while you stand in the target area and set to a second person or a target (ball buckets work well) located about a foot from the net and right at the outer court boundary behind the setter. At first it'll be best for you to turn and look at your set's final destination, but don't do so until you've completed the motion of setting or it'll throw of the direction completely.
Work hard and you'll be rewarded. There are few things more gratifying than hearing a blocker swearing under their breath because they thought you were setting outside - and that's where they're standing - but the ball is soaring toward the right side hitter.

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