AAU Volleyball Skill Progressions: Attacking

with Kevin Hambly, University of Illinois Head Coach;
2011 NCAA Runners-up; 2011 Volleyball Magazine Coach of the Year; President of the AVCA Board of Directors

Kevin Hambly presents his method of teaching beginning athletes the fundamentals of a powerful attack. He breaks the attack down into a natural progression of skills, which gives coaches of any level, as well as parents or fellow athletes, the steps they need to develop solid hitting skills.

Coach Hambly covers the skill of hitting with focus on the arm-swing, approach, and vertical jump. He uses some of his college players to demonstrate his detailed progressions for teaching hitting, and then he teaches younger players to execute the same safe, aggressive hitting movements. Listening to Hambly’s teaching points as he corrects the young athletes will help you know how to help your aspiring volleyball players.

In teaching an effective attack from start to finish or movement, Hambly walks his players through a progression of movements in which each step builds on the previously learned technique. His progression involves putting the following steps together:

  • Throwing
  • Attacking from the ground
  • Working vertical movement
  • Approaching to attack

His drill progressions show great insight into the bio-mechanics of the swing and how to train players to perfect the motions. See how he uses tennis balls to help players get the hang of the swing mechanics without having to worry about the timing of hitting a ball. The use of the throwing technique and tennis balls in Hambly’s drills really help athletes get the feel for the motion of the swing. He shows some great drills that can be used to work on all of the keys to hitting and goes into great depth on how to toss and when to toss for each drill.

After arm swing is covered, athletes begin to work on their approach, taking their horizontal movement and turning it into vertical. You will learn why the last two steps are so important in transferring movement to vertical. Hambly focuses on slow to fast efficient movement, removing any unnecessary motion. The video finishes with the slide approach which Hambly explains is a great skill for more experienced players.

As he takes both levels of athletes through the progressions, one skill is focused on at a time. This singular focus really allows the athletes to fine tune one skill before moving on. Even after moving to the next layer, Hambly only stresses the current skill being taught. Revisiting these skills over and over will develop the consistency a high level athlete needs.

At several points in the video Hambly stops to give advice to parents or athletes who want to train without access to a volleyball court. This allows for driven athletes to get more training time in even when they can’t get to a court. Additionally, his teaching is easy to understand, with terminology that anyone can understand. Finally advice on how to toss a volleyball for a hitter!

Whether you’re a coach, player or parent of a player, this video will be a useful tool in teaching and learning how to become an aggressive attacker while maintaining safe movement to prevent injury. Any coach, player or parent will feel very confident in their hitting training after watching this very detailed video.