Different Types of Volleyball Hits

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Volleyball is a game of skill and ability which relies on each player's ability to direct the ball to areas of the court where their opponent can not reach it before it strikes the floor. This process relies on different types of hits using the hands and forearms. When playing volleyball there is four hit series of events starting with the serve, and rotating through a bump, set and spike sequence until the ball hits the court or goes out of bounds.

Serve

The first hit in a volleyball game is the serve. Depending on the league or the level of those playing, a serve can be underhand, overhand, or a jump serve. Underhand serves use a closed fist or open palm to hit the ball over the net using an underhand motion. This type of hit provides more loft than other serves. Overhand serves involve throwing the ball up into the air first and hitting the ball using an overhand motion without your feet leaving the ground. At the professional level, the jump serve is used to get more height on the net and power behind the hit, and involves the same arm and hand motion of the overhand serve, but the feet briefly leave the surface of the court as you jump to hit the ball.

Bump

One of the most essential and basic hits in volleyball is the "bump". The bump is a type of "forearm passing," and typically used as the first hit as the ball comes over the net to pass the ball to a teammate. This allows the team to set up for a more planned attack back over the net. Bumps are broken down into two types, regular and digs. A regular bump is used when the ball is landing above the waist and does not require a significant change in stance to hit. A dig is a bump that occurs below the waist and requires getting in a lower position to the ground to save a ball from hitting the court. This is more used after a spike from the other team, and helps absorb the impact of the hit to allow better control of the ball.

Set

A "set" is another form of passing, that is traditionally the second hit after the bump. The set involves hitting the ball up in the air to line up the perfect shot for the third hit called a spike. This form of passing is "overhead passing," which typically uses the fingers in an upward or overhead motion to direct the ball closer to the net. The goal is to get the ball close enough to the net to be spiked, but not so close that it can be interrupted by a blocker on the opposite side of the net. A setter must be especially careful, as prolonged contact with the ball on a set could become a "carry," resulting in a penalty.

Spike

The spike is a hit used to direct the volleyball with force towards a specific area of the court. After the set has placed the ball in the air close to the net, a member of the team can jump into the air and use the force of her arm and shoulder muscles to increase the speed of the ball towards an area of the opponents court which is not defended. Spikes can be delivered in two ways: with an open hand using a wrist snap motion to put top spin on the volleyball to make it harder for the opponent to return; or delivered with a closed fist, although the open palm provides a better ability to aim the ball.

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