Originally published in VolleyballUSA


"Be sure to serve in after 20, after timeouts, after your opponent misses a serve and after your teammate has missed. You don't want top serve underhand, but there are certain times when you can't afford an error. You have to make the other team work." ... Mick Haley, 2000 U.S. Olympic Women's Team head coach, former coach at USC and Texas

"Serve the ball over the net. If you always do this and avoid net serves, you force the passer to make a decision." ... John Cook, University of Nebraska women's team head coach

Mental Strength

"Stay in the moment. If a mistake happens (and it will from time to time), turn the page and prepare for the next play. Do not allow an error on the prior play to have an adverse effect on your ability to focus on the task at hand. A volleyball match is like a book, and each play is a page in a chapter of that book. Turn the page after each play and stay in the moment." ... Craig Dyer, assistant coach, Creighton University women's team

"Remember to breathe. Breathing is the best way to calm your body down and bring your mind back to the present. When your mind starts to race or think about plays in the past, take a deep breath and think only about that breath. It will help bring you back to the present and to what matters most: how to win the next point." Jamie Morrison, former assistant coach, U.S. Women's National Team, now head coach of Dutch women's national team

"Take a wide view of the court to avoid tunnel vision. What the eyes take in is critical information and impacts how you react on the court. Be a player who absorbs a lot of visual information. This will help you to move appropriately when blocking attacking, passing or defending." ... Jim Stone, longtime USA Volleyball High Performance Coach


"Error high rather than low when setting the middle attacker. The setter middle connection is something that takes time, but, as you are working on this connection, it's always important to error on the higher side. At least if the ball is a bit too high, the middle can still tip it in. If you under-set a middle, they will likely hit into the net." ... Lizzy Stemke, former head coach, University of Georgia women's team

"Keep sets at least three feet off the net. Hitters are far less effective when they have to attack a ball that has been set tight to the net. Keep the sets at least three feet off the net so hitters can hit with range and use the block rather than being trapped. Better to set too far off the net than too close." ... Joe Trinsey, former technical coordinator for the U.S. Women's National Team

"Communicate with your hitters. In serve-receive, you need to let them know what they're hitting, and you also need to make sure they know what the free-ball play is so communication errors don't cost your team critical points. Remember, hitters, don't put it all on teh setter. If you don't know what your free-ball or serve-receive set is, ask! ... Cary Wendell Wallin, former AVCA Player of the Year at Stanford, coach at 949 Athletics