Watching Your Own Video
“You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.” -William Adams
Watching video is something that all players, great and newbies, should get into the habit of doing. It allows you to see yourself from the eyes of the coaches and spectators, from other players and parents. So what should you look for when you watch video of yourself? It all depends on your position.
Liberos/Defensive Specialists should watch their hand and arm positions when they pass. Is it the same every time? Are your shoulders squared up to the target? If not, even if you’re a good passer now, when you reach higher levels with harder hitters and harder serves, being inconsistent is not going to fly. Another thing you can do is film from behind your side of the court. Watch the film with the pause button at hand. As soon as an opposing hitter gets up to hit, pause the film and point on the screen where you think the hitter will hit the ball (called reading the hitter). Then hit play and see if you were correct in where you lined up to play defense.
Middle Blockers should watch how many times they were fooled by opposing setters and why they were fooled. Was it a good set or were you leaning? When you go up for a quick, is your footwork consistent? When you block, do you penetrate the net or do you go straight up and get tooled? Another few things you should watch for are openings on the court when you hit the quick, slide, or any other attack. Is the tip in the middle open? Is the deep line? Keep this in mind when you play.
Setters should watch how consistent their setting is. Pause the video on the first set (providing it is a good set) and count how many squares from the antenna your outside set is. For all of the other outside sets in that match, see if your set is around the original area. Do this for all of your sets. Watch your hitters as well. Do they have to break off their approach because the set is inside? Do middles constantly paintbrush the quick because it’s too high? When you dump, do you go up with one hand or two? Does the opposing blocker read this? Keep these things in mind when you play.
Outsides should watch the opposing blockers. Was there a hole in the block? Where are the openings in the block when you hit? They should also watch the defense and if the defense is able to read and dig them. If the defense is constantly digging you, learn some new shots. Try tipping, pushing it to the deep corners of the court, tooling the block, roll shots-anything really. A point is a point whether it’s a hard kill or a tip, and your job is to score points.
Opposites should watch their blocking and approach footwork. On the block, are you lining up with the opposing hitter’s arm? Blocking the line when the hitter is five feet outside the antenna is pointless as there is no way they can possibly hit line. Take a step in to block the only remaining hit they have: sharp angle. On your approaches, do you start in the same place every time (provided it’s a good pass)? If you’re running a combination play (say, a 2 or “X”), do you leave too soon and reveal to the other blockers where you’re going?
All players should watch their defensive footwork. If you’re constantly too close to the net after pulling off to dig, go to the gym and work on that footwork. In practice, focus on that footwork. Soon enough, you’ll be in the perfect position every time.
Watching video of yourself is beneficial, but watching Olympic, AVP, and college volleyball is more so. Watch what the best of the best are doing. What are they doing that you aren’t?