I hope that this article can help you- whether you are a beginner, a pro, or anything else in between. Ten tips to bring your game to the next level!
1) Focus on refining specific skills- for example if you want to improve your ability to return serves, consider taking a step or two closer to the net during pickup games when you're returning. Doing this will give you less reaction time after the ball is hit and make the ball seem like it comes incredibly fast. An average serve will seem like an elite serve- thus improving your serve return skills. After all, if you can return an elite serve- you shouldn't have any issues with anything less than that.
2) Practice setting towards the opposing teams side of the net- This essentially forces your partner to spike the ball away from your opponents, making it harder for them to track the ball down and get it back on the net = more points for you!
3) Mirror your opponent across the net- when the opposing player moves you should move in the opposite direction of them across the net. Their movement tends to give you hints about where they might hit the ball- so be aware!
4) Rotate after the serve to cover more area on defense- When your team is serving, typically the player on the right should start rotating to the right so that each of you covers half of the net. This allows you to cover more area instead of being on the same side of the net.
5) Practice body blocks- when you start playing against better opponents there are times when the ball may be coming too fast to get a defensive touch with your hands, this presents the perfect opportunity to utilize body blocks. Mirror your opponents and take a couple steps towards the net. When the opposing team spikes the ball in your direction lean back and keep your arms at your sides (to cover more area). Ideally if the ball hits you it should pop up near the net so your partner can hit an easy set and you can put the ball away. Remember your body orientation will dictate where the ball goes off your body!
6) Always take a big swing on the third hit- even if you are far away! Hitting the ball tentatively with the hopes of hitting it on the net will only delay how quickly you lose the point. It's easy for your opponents to put the ball away on three hits if you hit the ball softly. So next time you find yourself a little farther away from the net on the third hit take a quick peek where the net is and take a big swing!
7) Be aware of your partners preferences- some people like high sets, some people like low sets, some people prefer the set on a certain side of their body. Take time to initiate conversations with your partner about their preferences- it can be the difference.
8) Communicate- going off of #7, communicating with your partner is critical and can sometimes make the difference between winning and losing. Whether you discuss your own game or how to exploit your opponents weaknesses, be sure you are in constant communication with your partner.
9) Develop your backhand/weak hand: Whether you prefer backhands or opt to use your weak hand, it is critical to be able to hit the ball on both sides of your body. Especially if you want to compete against elite level players, you need to be able to put the ball away from anywhere. You should experiment yourself and see if you can hit the ball more consistently with a backhand or your weak hand.
10) Saving the best tip for last: Take time to work on your serve! It is something that is completely within your realm of control (in sports that's rare!). Moreover, you can quickly improve if you put in the time. Watch, learn, and ask questions. Find someone whose serve you want to emulate and study it! Think about your footwork and how you can maximize the angles you hit on your serve. Start developing different serves and counter serves so you can surprise opponents. Put in the time and watch it develop!
I hope you found these 10 tips helpful! Let us know what you think or if you'd like us to write an article on a specific topic! We love your feedback! Full disclosure, a DM on Instagram may be the quickest way to reach us. So feel free to reach out! You can also find Roundnet World on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@roundnetworld)!! Check out some of our roundnet accessories and Roundnet World apparel in our online store! If you don't want to miss any future blog posts be sure to signup with your email.