Volleyball players use three basic quick sets, all of which are meant to allow a hitter to spike the ball before defenders can get in position to block. A regular set arcs the ball higher above the net, giving the hitter time to approach. A quick set sends the ball on a path closer to a straight line. The ball barely clears the top of the net, and the setter anticipates the hitter's approach.
The One Set
A one set, the quickest in volleyball, is a faster version of what is typically called a two set.
In a two, the setter sets the ball directly behind or in front of herself. The ball goes almost straight up, with only a slight arc at the top, so that it lands only a foot away from the setter. A one puts the ball is the same location: right in front of or behind the setter. However, the setter should try to make the peak much lower. In a two, the ball might reach three or more feet over the net and then drop. In a one, the ball should rise just a foot above the net before coming back down.
This type of set requires perfect timing by the hitter, who ideally jumps as the ball leaves the setter's hands. This allows the hitter to strike the ball just as it reaches its peak.
Volleyball players typically identify a middle set, or one that puts the ball at the midpoint between the setter and the outer edge of the net, as a three. Like a five, this set gives the ball a high arc, and the hitter should wait until it reaches its peak before making his approach.
A quick middle set is usually called a 31, because, like a one, it put the ball only a foot or two above the net. The setter should try to get the ball out of his hands quickly and to the midpoint, where the arc actually should peak. The hitter should begin her approach as the ball reaches the setter's hands, so she reaches the net when the ball reaches its peak.
In a typical outside set, or five, the0 ball arcs high and to the outer limit of the playable end of the net. The ball typically leaves the setter's hands and rises about four feet or so above the net before starting to drop. Ideally, the hitter would strike the ball about a foot or two above the net at its outermost point. The hitter should begin his approach when the ball reaches its peak and make contact when it gets to the outer point.
A shoot set also places the ball on the outside of the net, but the ball should leave the setter's hands and rise only a foot or so above the net while "shooting" across it, so that it remains at a fairly consistent height. The hitter should begin the approach as the ball leaves the setter's hands, so that he meets it at the net.
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