When it comes to volleyball, your teammate is also your only friend. Every little advantage makes a big difference, so making sure your communication is up to par can help put your team over the top. While vocal communication sometimes works, you don’t want to be screaming out the location you’re headed to in the middle of the match.
Hand signals streamline you and your teammates’ minds, but what do they mean, and how can they be used to your advantage? Unlock the full potential of your team with an understanding of the signals when serving and blocking during volleyball matches.
Signals When Serving
Every team has its own variation of serving signals, but these tend to be a bit more straightforward than blocking, as there’s only so much you can do during the serve. Some teams may signal with a hand (either left hand or right) which direction they intend to serve, while others serve with the hand of the side of the court they want the ball to go. Regardless of which signals you use, some common variations involve either two fingers back, two fingers staggered, or two fingers close to the center.
Two fingers back show which side the anticipated target will be while serving. Two fingers staggered is a bit more complex. The top finger indicates which side to serve to, while the bottom shows how deep or short to aim the serve. Two fingers close to the center means the person will back off the net and play defense after the serve.
Signals When Blocking
Blocking signals are a bit more detailed because a lot more strategy and communication are necessary when only two individuals cover the entire court area. One finger usually means the individual is going to block line, and the other will defend angle. Two fingers mean the opposite — block angle and defend the line. Three fingers mean fake angle but focus on blocking line. Four fingers mean fake line but block angle.
You don’t just have to use fingers, either. A closed fist can mean a few things; either there will be no blocking (just play defense), or you’re going to block straight on, and you want your teammate to dig if anything gets past them. An open hand means straight blocking the hitter or indicates that you’re ready for defense if the opposing team pays the ball in two hits. A pointed thumb tells the server which direction you want the serve to go. A signal high on the back means there might be a backset coming, and a fist with pinkies out means come around your rear to defend the block.
Some Other Volleyball Strategies to Consider
There’s a bit more to volleyball than hand signs. If you want to stay ahead of the game, keep in mind these strategies to take your team to victory. Remember, these marginal victories are key to success, so don’t take them lightly. Study your competition, perfect some of these strategies, and destroy the competition!
- Communication — whether through hand signals or vocally — is the most important thing
- Serve to the worst passer or the worst hitter
- Serve to the partner of the worst setter
- Occasionally serve the ball in the middle of two players
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