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How to Improve Your Volleyball Attacks with Better Timing

Published: 2023-03-26
How to Improve Your Volleyball Attacks with Better Timing
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It’s not far from the truth to argue that timing is everything in volleyball—timely positioning to rebound the ball, yet how do we get in the right place at the right time when attacking?


Approach Speed Management

Like a finely tuned three-speed shifting auto, our attack energy transmission begins slowly, increases, and peaks at high speed in the explosive moment we strike.  Slow keeps the play in front of you and a gradual increase will keep it in direct or peripheral vision fields longer, providing more information and the likelihood of success.


Ask Set Recognition Questions

What sort of set is being hit?

Is the set in or out of the system?

What is the ball path shape?

Is it a beach up-and-down set or a fast ball coming across your body indoors?

This information affects approach and attack choices and on-the-fly changes and has a lot of timing impact.

Setter Connection

This comes down to practice. 

But a common way we can develop timing with our setters is based on our 4-step attack approach.


When the setter touches the ball be on the correct step.

On a high ball starting your approach should occur when the setter releases it.

For a fast ball you might be on the heel of your third step already. 

A medium ball calls for taking your first or second timing steps.

Middles at high levels may even be in the air or hard on their fourth steps.

Hannes running our offense from about 3m. Marek, Tim, and I are still in “fast” system (almost the third step, Marek's second step because a bit farther away. Nemo is available for the first tempo.


To personally conclude the reason for some of my success as an attacker is my early age hitting of sets from all kinds of setters.  The best skill as a hitter, I learned, is to NOT be critical of the sets we receive but, to kill or find the best solution for that particular set.   My skills grew, and the sets did too, as did the precious ability to adjust to all sorts of sets. 

For all the best lessons from my career, check out my book.