By: Coach Houser - CoachHouser.com
Screening - Avoid It; Getting Deep; Shadowing - Get It
One aspect of volleyball every new coach faces is which defense to use. A coach has available a wide number of defense possibilities. Most of us coaches do prefer a certain defense and stick to it. I am one of them. Moreover, I think even the majority of college coaches will rely on one particular defense, with certain adjustments from year to year.
I am sure there are a number of coaches who do not; although I have never worked with anyone, who changed defenses every year.
However, regardless of what defense you choose, there are some basic principles that coaches must follow:
1. SCREENING: NEVER have defenders screening each other.
Spread out your diggers so that, ideally, at the moment of the opponent's hit, each digger can see the hitter. This is possible in nearly every blocking scheme.
Also, encourage your diggers to know which one of them will take the ball that is hit between them BEFORE the opponents hit the ball there. This will reduce the number of balls that fall between them and, likewise, the number of the balls that two diggers are fighting over. This "no screening" goes for serve receive also.
2. HOW DEEP DO DIGGERS PLAY:
If an attacker hits the ball is at a digger's forehead, the digger should be in a position where it is IN!! If she has to reach up, stretch, or jump to make the dig, it should be (a) out or (b) someone else's. This rule also applies to serve receivers.
3. THE SHADOW:
If your blockers are tall enough to create a "shadow," then your diggers should never be standing there at the moment of the opponent's hit. Near the end of a 5-game match that was on TV, a replay showed a setter who was about 6 feet directly behind her 6' and 6'2" double block. What is she doing there? Is her team that slow that if a ball is tipped/rolled over that huge block, no one could get it? No way. She was in the wrong defensive position. If the opponent tips a ball in the shadow, then the coach should have previously designated who's responsible and it should come up most of the time!! The taller the blockers, the more we expect shadow shots to come up.
THINGS THAT MUST HAPPEN:
Regardless of the defense you play, at the moment the opponents spike that ball, then you must depend on your diggers to do two things:
1. DIG what's in their "zone," and;
2. REACT to the tips & off-speed shots that are landing in their "zone." If they follow the three rules above, they are likely to be more successful!!