How to Read the Hitter in Volleyball

Make Sure to Take Note of the Hitter's Clues

Volleyball team in action

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Once you've read the setter and gotten yourself in position in front of the hitter, you can increase your chances of getting the stuff block if you take in the clues that the hitter is giving you. Paying attention to his shoulder, his eyes and his tendencies will give you a good idea of where he intends to go with his attack. The tips below along with good blocking position will help you turn the lights out on some hitters before you know it.

Three Clues for Reading Hittiers

  • Clue #1: The Shoulder
    The first clue in reading the attacker is to take a good look at his hitting shoulder. As you get more advanced in volleyball, you'll find that hitters become more adept at showing one thing and hitting another. But for the most part, the position of their shoulder will give their intentions away. Pay close attention to where the ball is in relation to the hitter's shoulder. Is he in good position to hit anywhere he likes? Or has he given himself only the cross-court option? If you are blocking solo, line yourself up directly in line with the hitter's shoulder and the ball. But as the next tip explores, keep your eyes open because that is not all there is to it.
  • Clue #2: The Eyes
    You got your feet to the hitter and you're lined up on his hitting shoulder and the ball. Now if you can, pay attention to where the hitter is looking. There are not a lot of hitter's that can attempt the no-look attack. So it is safest to assume the hitter will go where their attention is. Do they have their eye on the seam in the block? Did they just notice that they have a truck of line? Did they just see that your defense is deep and that the tip is open? Hitters aren't the only ones who can be deceptive. If you see they've made a decision with their eyes and you think you have a chance to stop them, you can move your block at the last minute to take away a shot they think is wide open. Drop your hand to close the seam, get a touch on that line shot for a soft block or do a half jump so you can get back down to the ground and pick up that tip. The key is to make sure you do not sacrifice your blocking form. If you do, you become a target for the tool and your team will suffer. If you can't make the move well, just stay where you are and trust that your defense will come through.
  • Clue #3: The Tendencies
    This is where some pre-game prep comes in. Watch the team you're going to play beforehand, either on video or in another match of the tournament. Pay attention to the starters in your position who you are likely to match up against. All hitters have tendencies. Do they always tip the tight set? Do they go high off the hands on the outside sets? Can they hit line if you give it? If you can factor in what they usually do in a certain situation and add that to your read on their shoulders and their eyes, you will give yourself and your team a real advantage.