by: Lisa Schulz, Contributing Writer
Beach volleyball season is around the corner, so now is the perfect time to start practicing the approach and other steps needed to execute a volleyball spike. A spike is a forceful overhand swing aimed at slamming the ball to the floor of an opposing team’s court.
“The approach gives all the power in the spike,” said Abby Cress, freshman fashion design major and captain of the Columbia Renegades volleyball team.
The team’s front row left, middle and right positions are the typical spikers who hit the volleyball which is popped into the air by a setter. Back row players can also spike the ball as long as they remain behind the 10-foot line on the court. Spikes should be executed at least two feet from the net to avoid illegally touching it.
1. Swift approach
Stand slightly behind the 10-foot line. If you are right-handed, lunge foward with your left foot. Hop into a lunge-like step with your right foot. Then step with your left foot to bring it beside your right foot. If you are left-handed, reverse the
footwork. This should be in a quick three-step motion. “If you just stand and jump, you’re not going to get a very powerful hit,” Cress said.
2. Gathering power
Immediately after the last step in the approach sequence, bend your knees to crouch down. Toss your arms straight behind your back with your palms facing upward. “It gives you more power because you’re using your whole body,” Cress said. Getting low and throwing your arms back gives you momentum for the jump and will create more height.
3. Pull back and swing
As you jump, have your non-dominant hand straight out in front of you. Have your dominant hand back behind your head so they’re almost touching. The non-dominant hand acts as a balancing guide and will drop before the swing is in motion. With straight wide-spread fingers on your dominant hand, swing straight out and make contact on the top of the
volleyball with the surface of your palm. Make sure your elbow does not drop below its initial height during this sequence. If your elbow drops, the volleyball won’t be angled toward the floor. “It’s just going to go like [a] shot put, [where you throw in a push motion] and you don’t want to do that,” Cress said.
4. Follow through
After you hit the ball, continue swinging your arm straight down. “Make sure you don’t cross your body because that will hurt your shoulder,” Cress said. Finally, land with both feet where you started your jump to avoid touching the net.