This week we have a brief review of setting footwork. Key phrases for this week are “beat the ball” and “finishing steps.”
When you’re setting you have a lot to think about — where are the blockers? am I front row or back row? who are my hitters and what plays are they running? is this pass going to be good enough to run any of those plays, or do I need to use my “out” set?
But first and foremost, you’ve got to get into position to set. Unfortunately you’re not going to be standing right in the target position for the whole game. You’re always transitioning and always on the move, which means footwork is one of the most crucial parts of setting.
The first thing to remember is you’ve got to beat the ball to its destination. This basically means that you can’t time your movements so that you and the ball arrive at the same time. Getting there early lets you adapt to a pass that’s too tight or too far off the net much more easily; whereas if you and the ball arrive simultaneously you’re more likely to get thrown off by a less-than-perfect pass.
Once you’ve arrived in the target position (or wherever the pass has forced you to go), you need to get your hips facing the target you want to set to. The best way to accomplish this stance is to finish up with a quick left-right step, meaning you plant your left foot and then very shortly after you plant your right foot. We’ll call this your finishing step.
So, if you only had a few steps to go from your defensive position to the target area, you’ll finish up your trot with a left-right step. And if you’re sprinting as hard as you can from the other side of the court for whatever reason, you should also finish up with the same step.
It’s crucial that you get into the habit of always planting your feet in this way. It’ll help your brain realize that you’re about to set and will kick in the muscle memory that you’ll eventually develop after doing setting reps over and over again, and it’ll help you transfer your forward momentum into the set itself.