How to Spike a Volleyball

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The most powerful shot in volleyball, the spike is the third and final contact that a team has with the ball before sending it back over the net to the opponent’s court. It is an offensive shot used to win the rally and gain points for your team. The spike can be hit from anywhere on your side of the court, whether at the net or further back at the attack line. Maximizing the impact of the spike requires agility, power and speed.

  • Prepare to receive the ball from the setter. Separate your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly. Pull your abdominals in toward your lower back. Lift your chest and push the shoulder blades down and away from your ears.

  • Keep your eyes on the ball at all times once the opponent hits it over to your side of the court. Watch the bumper as she passes the ball to the setter, and then as the setter pushes the ball into the air in preparation for the spike.

  • Begin to advance toward the ball using a three or four step approach, depending on your preference. The three-step approach will start with your dominant foot. For example, a three-step approach for a right-handed player would be right, left, right. The four-step approach starts with your non-dominant foot; left, right, left, right, for a right-handed player. Cover the most distance with the first step for both approaches.

  • Jump in the air as high as you are able to meet the ball at its maximum height. Step with your right foot first, for right-handed players, followed by the left. Bring your right arm behind your body. Bend your knees to slightly squat down. Push off through both feet evenly to propel your body into the air.

  • Swing your right arm up and around in a swift and powerful overhand movement. Meet the ball with the ball of your hand, palm open. Push the ball as hard as you are able into the opponent’s court; keep pushing until your arm is straight.

  • Follow through by swinging your arm down and across to the left of your body. Land on both feet evenly and with slightly bent knees.

Tips & Warnings

  • Reverse the order for left handed players; approach the jump by first stepping on the left foot and then the right. Swing your left arm behind your body; follow through by bringing the left arm down and over to the right side of your body.
  • Keep all arm and body movements on your side of the court; it is illegal to reach your hand over the net when spiking.

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  • Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images
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