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Tutorial Notes

Tutorial notes have been summarised from the last 5 weeks of the tutorial sessions, addressing
volleyball. Key information is included throughout other sections of the resource file, as indicated by a
star (*), as well as in this tutorial notes section.

Week 1
Principles of GERT
G – Game sample; equipment -> height of net – need to ensure success, ball
E – Exaggeration; exaggerate particular aspects to teach focus -> dimensions, rules
R – Represent; relate back to the game, authentic experience of what the game is
T – Tactics; how appreciation impacts tactical awareness

Readiness position

Volleyball is a sport which requires quick reactions and rapid,

controlled movements over relatively short distances. It can be
described as a ‘readiness-state’ sport. This state of readiness is
required both physically and mentally.

A sense of readiness can be portrayed by a correct body shape.

Key characteristics:
- Feet shoulder-width apart.
- Knees bent and inside the line of the toes.
- Weight forward with the knees loaded
- Spine straight.
- Hands in front of the body, ready to move

This relaxed, ready posture is the best position from which to move quickly and efficiently in any
direction forwards, backwards or sideways.

This readiness state is similar to that seen in many sports; a basketball defender, a goalkeeper in
football, a slip catcher in cricket are a few examples.

Specific Activities for Volleyball

- Head-ball -> one person rolls the ball forward, then partner gets behind and stops with head –
develop skills for setting the ball
- Catch the ball through the legs –> body position

Fundamentals of the Game

Controlling Space
Control of space by students, both as individuals and as members of a team is vital in the game of
volleyball. For this reason, players need to have an understanding of controlling their own space either
in defence attack before they can operate effectively in a team context.

The basic principles of controlling space are:

Base Position
The best place for a player to start from in order to defend his/her court is towards the back and in the
middle because:

i) it is easier to move forwards to play the ball than to move backwards, and
ii) taking a balanced middle position gives equal chance to defend to the left or to the right. The idea
of a defensive base position is thus established.

Read the Attack

It is important to watch the attacker and to move to get in line with the direction he/she is facing, as
this is the direction in which they are most likely to attack.

‘A’ reads the attacker

l’or’2’, and moves
in anticipation of attack.

Direction of
attacker and the attack.

Return to Base
After playing the ball the student finishes the movement cycle by going back to his/her base
defensive position; therefore the cycle is as follows:

1 Base

2 Move to play the ball

3 Finish the cycle by returning to base

Attack from the Net

It is better to attack the opponents’ court from a position close to the net because this
gives them less time to anticipate where the ball is going and hence to defend their court.

Traditional approach to teaching Volleyball Skills

- Game 1 – spike ball down for self
- Game 2 – partner throws ball up to player to spike down before red line
- When these should be implemented? – after games for understanding as you now know where their
skills are at and what they need to improve

Teaching Progression
Step One - Establish an understanding of ball flight.
- Students have to respond to the peak of the ball flight by moving into position and making a physical
action e.g. clapping, touching the floor with their hands etc. at the peak point. They should learn to
understand to use flight to the peak to adjust positioning, flight at the peak to re-assemble balance,
flight from the peak to deliver an action.

Step Two - Positioning and assembling touch point.

- Reading the ball flight has to be linked to positioning the hips correctly. In the early stages, this is
best done with a ball which is fed by a partner who stands facing the student who is working.

- Once the notion of aiming with the hips has been established, the students should be encouraged to
use the left side of the body to assemble the touch point.
Step Three - posture and swing
The key elements of controlling the hips and the position of the head should be introduced in a very
simple form. Asking the students to spike a ball onto the floor while standing can be used. The student
should start with the ball in his hand, breathe out to stabilise the position of the shoulders and the
head, then swing their hand to hit the ball off the ground without tossing it, or leaning forward during
or after the swing.

Week 2
1. Introduction
• Develop Spike
• 1v1 Fixtures, Assessment/grading, Records
• Develop Spiking
• 2v2 -> Review Procedural Rules & Conduct Rules
Strategical/Tactical Solutions

2. Teaching Spiking - Revision

Unless the balance of the player is correctly controlled, nothing else matters; then until the posture is correctly
assembled, nothing else is relevant; then until the player understands how to correctly assemble the touch point,
no progression can occur; then until an understanding on how to assess ball flight has been reached, the correct
positioning of the touch point cannot take place. These are fundamentals and should be tackled in that order. Once
some understanding and stability has occurred in the player, the teacher can move on to:

- the technique of the approach footwork -> non-hitting side foot in front, weight from back foot (one foot forward,
one back)
- the rhythm between footwork and jump
- the mechanics of the arm swing -> tight and composed, not a big arc
- the quality of the hand contact –> palm of hand

Teaching Spiking

Step 5 - Posture for Spiking

The crucial element of posture for spiking is control of the space between the hips and the shoulders. There must also
be a second control space between the shoulders and the touch (contact point)
Positioning – There are 2 crucial elements to be considered when teaching positioning.
1. The positioning of the hips in relation to the fight of the ball
2. The positioning of the final touch point in relationship to the body.

Step Six - Last two steps

Students move about the court tossing the ball into the air for themselves to jump and
catch. Jump must be preceded with the last two steps ‘right foot, left foot’ for a right hand hitting action. The steps
should be taken sharply. The students can be encouraged to breathe out as they take the last two steps and the
control space for the hips should be highlighted as they catch.
- Posture for the spike, in one plane then in cross plane – sets them up for a good shot – kids need to judge flight of
the ball
- Playing off two feet for volleyball spike is important (6,7,8)

Step Seven - Last two steps to touch point

Still working in the situation where the student tossing the ball stands in front of the student working, the working
student has to read the ball flight, move to position aiming with the hips, use last two steps to accelerate to the
take off point, then jump and assemble touch point. As in Step Four, the progression from touching the ball with
the left hand to actually swinging at it, should be introduced slowly and in a very controlled fashion.

Once some success is being achieved, the pairs can become threes and the feeding point moved to the side of the
working student. During these progressions, when the ball is being hit, it should be directed to the floor or straight
to the feeder or to the third student who is acting as target.
The notion of introducing a target direction for the hit should be linked to the use of the hips to aim the touch

Step Eight - Hitting over a net

When the previously outlined steps have been tackled, the net should be introduced. The feed can be
from the other side of the net to the working student, or from the side of the student as in normal

Week 3
Types of Overhand Pass
- The overhand pass is most commonly used to set up an attack. It is used to put the ball high and
close to the net (one metre) so that an attacker can jump and smash it.
- It is also used when receiving a slow-moving ball from the opposition, to control the ball and pass it
to a team mate. (Free-ball)
- All players need to be able to overhand pass the ball over both short and long distances (2m to 5m).

Technique Description
• be ready to move to the ball (refer to Ready for Action, tutorial notes 6) (See Fig. 1a)
• watch the bail and anticipate where it is going (peak point of the bait)
• move quickly to the interception point (midline of the body, ball above hairline) maintaining good
body shape; be behind and under the ball
• be balanced and facing the direction in which he/she wants to play the ball before the ball arrives
(refer to Beating the Ball, tutorial notes 6) (See Fig. 1b)
• have his/her body under the ball, with the knees bent and arms relaxed. (See Fig. 1c)
• contact the ball above the hairline, on the midline of the body
• use a 1-2 rhythm to play the ball; i.e. count one — down beat with the knees bending farther as
the hands go up to contact point, count two — extend from the knees through the ball in direction
of the target (using the whole body, not only the arms and hands) (See Fig. 1c/d)
• finish the action physically by extending to the target, and mentally by seeing in the mind’s eye the
correct execution
• recover and be ready for the next action; e.g. if the player has played the ball to the setter, he/she
should prepare to cover the attacker, or should return quickly to the defensive base position if the
ball has been played over the net

Ball Contact
• The hands are open, in the shape of the ball.
• The index fingers and thumbs form a triangle; index fingers and thumbs are the
same distance apart.
• The thumbs should point at the opposite ear.
• The forearms make a second, bigger triangle.
• The ball is contacted with the pads of the thumbs along the length of the forefinger and the pads of
all the other fingers.
• The player should try to play the ball quietly with relaxed arms, wrists and
fingers. (See Figs. 2.1 & 2.2)

a) Ball Flight Judgement

The ability of a student to predict the path of the ball, both in terms of space (where) and time (when)
is critical to success in volleyball. This prediction must also be accompanied by a movement of the
player to the point of interception, and by his or her preparation to play the ball. It is therefore essential
that students are taught the fundamental skills of judging ball flight and that some time is allocated to
learning these skills.

In volleyball, three types of trajectory can be defined.

Type One
e.g. the overhand pass. Characterised by low speed and easily identifiable peak point. This trajectory is
easiest to judge.

When introducing the game:

• Teach good feeding skills to ensure the use of this type of trajectory.

Student A and B play the ball back and forth. C and D try to hit the ball
with their ball.
All 4 students have a ball – they attempt a mid-air collision.

• Use a high net.

• Do not allow players to serve the ball overarm. (Start the rally with a volley or underarm throw over
the net.)

Type Two

e.g. overarm serve. Characterised by high speed and flat trajectory. This is
considered moderately difficult to judge and should not be used with beginners.

Type Three

e.g. smash. Characterised by very high speed and downward trajectory. This is
considered very difficult - to judge and controlling this type of shot is an advanced

Week 4
The block is the first line of defense against the smash. It may be performed by one, two or three front-row
players who jump at the net to stop the smashed ball from crossing the net and to deflect it back into the
opposition’s court. The block can also stop the smasher from hitting a particular area of the court, thus
channeling the ball to where the back-court defenders have been placed.

Blocking is a difficult skill to master, but time spent practicing it will be well rewarded. Good blocking not
only wins points, it can also demoralise the other team and pave the way for victory.

Types of Block
- A block can be performed by one player alone or in combination with one or both of the other front court
players to form a two or three- person block.
- A two-person block is most common in volleyball, as it is the best compromise between strong blocking
and adequate court coverage, i.e. it is too easy to smash past a one-person block and there is too much
court for only three players to defend it three blockers are used.

Being a good blocker depends on many factors other than jumping high. Much more important is knowing
why, when and where. Read the smasher and control the hands while blocking.

Technique Description — Block

The student should:
• stand about half a metre from the net in Volleyball position
• hands in front of the shoulders elbows forward (ears on)
• be balanced and ready to move to either side depending on where the
ball is set.
• watch the opposition develop their attack and move quickly to where it is
anticipated the attacker will hit the ball over the net.
• use side steps or cross steps to move along the net, and use a brake step to stop lateral movement before

Week 5
1. The Underhand or Forearm Pass
This pass is often called the dig, is a technique unique in style to volleyball. It is used to play a ball which
is traveling too last and low to overhand, and is performed by bringing the forearms together to make a
platform, off which the ball rebounds. It is used most often to receive the service or an attacking shot
from the opponents, and it is necessary that this important skill is introduced and mastered early in the
development of students.

Types of Forearm Pass

The forearm pass is a general term which is used to describe several similar but slightly differing
• The ‘service reception’ or ‘first’ pass technique is used to receive a service. (Higher posture, more
time to see and react to the ball.)
• The ‘defensive pass’ is used to prevent a hard or a placed smash from hitting the floor. (Lower
posture, very little time to see and react to the ball.)
• The ‘free ball pass’ is used to control a relatively easy, high ball from the opponents and to pass it to
the setter. (More upright posture, no time pressure.)

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