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Volleyball Skills – the Basics of Volleyball Spike

This volleyball spike section of basic volleyball skills focuses on few the most important aspects of hitting. Discover few the most important factors in spiking.

Definition of Volleyball Spike

A player approaches the ball using basic four (or three) step approach to generate high forward speed. A player redirects that speed into the upward energy by jumping up to the air. Created speed, arm action of the jump and powerful jump are important factors in lifting the player up.

On the top of the reach player performs an arm swing and uses her middle body power (“abs crunch“) to add power to her swing. She swings the ball over the net to desired target by hitting the ball with the palm of her hand.

When? Why?

A spike is usually performed on the third contact after the setter, the playmaker of your team has set up the ball. The purpose of spike is to score a point for your team and finish the ongoing rally, or at least to make other team’s playmaking as difficult as possible. A spike could be also called a hit, a swing or a shot.


A spike is a very complex skill and it takes a lot of patience and perseverance to master in it. A volleyball spike requires quickness, agility, explosive power, strength, hand-eye coordination and whole- body coordination.

Volleyball Skills - Main Points in Volleyball Spike

  1. To develop a 4- step approach. A right handed player takes a step with a right foot (step 1), then another step with a left foot (step 2) and finally ”the plant” (step 3 and 4) to perform a jump.

  2. Timing. Start your approach by placing your right foot (step 1) to the ground when setter touches the ball. (This is a general rule for hitting outside ball; it is depending on the speed of the set!!!

  3. When spiking the ball player should hit on the top of the ball to create a top spin, which naturally curves the ball down to the court.

Volleyball Skills – Important Volleyball Spike Tips

  • The purpose of the first two steps is to create you forward speed. The speed is very important factor pulling you higher up when you jump. Work on developing your steps into a very smooth approach.

  • The second step, in other words the step before the plant, is CRUCIAL to develop the speed. You should really “push” it to generate the maximum speed.

  • Timing is usually very challenging for starting volleyball players. Especially in the beginning, it is difficult to know what is the right moment to start approach. It might be frustrating because sometimes you leave too early, sometimes too late.

  • A good general rule to get a correct timing is to place your right foot on the ground when the setter touches the ball. After that you just take you step 2 with your left foot, and set up the plant (steps 3 and 4 next to each other) and take off to the air. (This general rule is depending on the speed of the set!! On faster sets set up your left foot on the ground when setter touches the ball.)

  • In the air focus on reaching high and making a good contact to the ball. Control beats the power when learning volleyball spike. Repeating one controlled swing after another makes your spike more and more natural. More natural it is, the more you have speed and power behind it.

  • To get a top spin, you have to place your hand on the top of the ball. If you place it to the middle of the ball, it will float. If you place it on the bottom, it creates a down-spin. Place it on the top, you will create a top-spin.

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