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Developing Spiking Expertise

Published: 2021-05-19
Developing Spiking Expertise
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The purpose of the Volleyball Deliberate Practice is to create a system of training advanced youth and also elite players based on their level of expertise. These tasks are designed to maximize learning and increase the capacity of performance of volleyball players who are already advanced performers. When top level players have an injury or when they return from more than two weeks of interruption of their practices, it is recommended that they engage in practicing the tasks designed in the Volleyball Deliberate Practice Method so they can return to the top of their performances without the risk of getting injured again.  All of these tasks have a high correlation with advanced volleyball skills. All of them have been tested and recommended by some of the top 12 expert volleyball coaches in the world.

In a game situation, frequently, hitters face a well-set double block.  The hitter can increase their ability to beat the block by mastering cut shots (cut in, cut out, speed straight and tool the block).  That is what experts do!



MAIN GOAL: To acquire the ability to perform cut shots with precision, accuracy, and power.

WHY/PURPOSE:  As a result of overtraining and also of acquiring bad kinesthetic habits, elite players need to re-wire their movement concepts to be able to contact the ball, in front of their bodies and in their midline so they can:

  1. Reach the ball at their maximum reach.
  2. Perform cut shots around the simple and doble blocks.
  3. Perform the cut shots with power & accuracy.
  4. Be able to land on two feet and be safe (injury free).


  1. Taking off with a good balanced jump and keeping the ball in front of their bodies.
  2. The ball should be aligned in the center line of the body (positioning the hitting shoulder at the direction of the ball will constraint the cut back shot).
  3. Maintaining the hips stable but generating power through hip extension (prior to contact) and flexion (at the point of contact).
  4. Keeping elbows high and above ears, so the wrist acceleration will produce angular momentum (power).
  5. Maintaining the whole body relaxed to maximize timing. Hyper contraction will generate “tunnel vision” and affect the ability to “see” the blockers due to reducing the peripheral vision field. It also affects timing!


When the blockers are in the air, you (the hitter) can see the holes and where the blocking hands are positioned. If there is a hole between two blockers you should accelerate your swing and hit in between the blockers (seam). 

If a double block is drifting into the extremities of the net, you should use the cut towards cross.

If a double block is jumping early at cross, then you should perform a cut shot line (parallel).

The cut shots are also tactically effective to tool the block and to win the point by using a block out (hit at the hands of the blockers and force the ball to go out of bounds).


Extended body arm swing.  It is more efficient to generate power from the hips than from the shoulder.  The extended body arm swing (EBAS) relies on the notion that the volleyball player should contact the ball at his/her midline to assure a balanced flight and safe landing. In addition to elicit a full range of motion, the extended body.

arm swing facilitates the performance of cut shots (at maximum reach, inwards, outwards, and straight down) with high accuracy and better timing, because this (EBAS) connects the chain of muscles, the joint proprioceptors, and the spindle muscles (muscles proprioceptors) from the tip of your pointing finger to the tip of your pointing toe. In many cases, the use of this technique helps players to reach the ball higher which is also another huge advantage.  Thus, in this case, this is the only body position that allow elite players to hit the ball around the blockers.


If you have learned how to use the “Bow and Arrow” concept.  Be aware that this technique creates an exponentially higher tear and wear on the shoulder.  The use of cut shots is possible but it is more difficult if the elbows are not already high to create a full range of motion through pectorals and wrist snap.

Many volleyball coaches opt to say to players to “close their eyes” and hit as hard as they can.  Others recommend using a spiking strike that does not include the wrist snap.  Honestly, as blockers improve their ability to penetrate their hands the likelihood of you being blocked increases a lot, if you do not have a technical resource and the finesse to hit around the block.  There is no right or wrong, just think that by using this technique you can increase your kills by 40% or more.