Volleyball Could Learn from Tennis

Around the Net Shots

I attended a high spirited clash of regional high school volleyball powers this past week.  To be sure about two things, not all net sports are the same, and I prefer tennis to volleyball by a wide margin.  Having said that, the games were fun and the student sections were animated.  One thing that bothered me as a tennis player was the volleyball rule about not hitting certain angles to get over the net.  A volleyball net has antennae sticking up that the ball cannot touch.  In volleyball, the ball cannot go around the net, but the ball cannot even go over the portion of the net that lies outside of the court’s lines.  There must be reasons for this, but I have to think that volleyball is missing out on a lot of imaginative and exciting plays by stifling how one team can get the ball into the court being defended by the other.  Consider these shots:

  1. Federer Around the Net on Break Point
  2. 12 Around the Net Shots (None by Federer)

Why would a sport not want to add those type of options to one’s defense or attack?

Adapting the Backhand Overhead

If solely from the point of view of surprise, I think employing some version of the backhand overhead to either defend against shots that seemingly make it past a player or as an unexpected offensive attack would be good for volleyball. As a sport, virtually every volleyball team tries to execute the same game plan and strategy.  It just comes down to who has taller or higher jumping players.  Has conventional wisdom won out to such a point in volleyball that potentially effective avenues of attack are ignored or shunned?  Volleyball could stand to add a little heterodox  variety.

  1. Defense to Offense Backhand Overhead
  2. Offensive Backhand Overhead

Incorporating a backhanded spike or backhanded defensive layout into volleyball could not hurt anything could it?  At a minimum, it would give the defensive players one more thing to try to anticipate.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. tennis fan says:

    The biggest problem with volleyball is that they cheer after every single play. Sometimes even after losing a point. Oh yeah, 6 people covering a space smaller than 1/2 of a tennis court makes the game way too easy.

  2. Ben Pronin says:

    Sick videos. I don’t know how one would hit a backhand overhead in volley ball though. The net rules sound dumb, though.

    1. Dan Martin says:

      I am thinking of a weekly feature called YouTennis where find 3-5 good videos from youtube to share. I never played volleyball at a super competitive level, but 2000-2002 I played in a work based league against some decent players. Every time I did the backhand spike (which was not that often) it would hit the blocker’s hands and fall onto their side of the court. I don’t know if it was shock or something about the spin or a combination, but it was usually good for one point per game.

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