Hey Jude – Passing Pt2

Forearm Pass – Part II

Last month, we looked at a few very simple points that are the keys to good passing. This month, we’ll add some more technical stuff that refines some of those basic points. If something goes wrong when you pass, it is most often the simplest thing (“Platform faces Target”) so read and reread last month’s column.

Contact Point – There are two aspects to this section: The first concerns where, on your arms, is the ideal place to contact the ball. Give yourself a “thumb’s up” for trying to improve your passing. Now look at your forearm. The 15cm (6 inches) of bone and skin that starts at the base of your “thumb’s up” is where you contact the ball. I know many of you try to pass using the soft (and much more sensitive) inside of your forearm, with your palms facing the ceiling. That soft tissue is not as solid or consistent as the bone in the “thumb’s up” position, so make a change.

The forearm pass, or “bump” is often the most important skill because it begins the “Pass – Set – Hit” sequence. If you make a perfect pass, you have increased your chances of a good offensive play. If you shank it or fire it into the net, your team will have a more difficult time setting and hitting. Here are some points that I think will help you improve your passing…I could go on and on, so no matter what, this piece will be incomplete. Email me if you want more detailed information.

The second aspect of contact point is where, relative to your body, you play the ball. We now know where it will touch your arms, but not much else. Your knees are bent and wider than shoulder width apart and your weight is slightly forward (get used to this position, you should be in it ANY time you are not serving or at the net!). Ideally you should contact the ball BETWEEN your knees and hips. That means, if I watch you pass from the side, and there is an imaginary line extended horizontally from your knees and your hips, the ball will be contacted between those lines. Since this is a pretty small area, you can see that judging the path of the ball and moving quickly are VERY important.

Platform II – “Platform faces target”…I wish I could somehow yell this at you through the internet…perhaps we need a sound component to this web page!

If the ball is not directly in front of you, you have to compensate the angle of your platform so that it still faces your target. You accomplish this compensation by dropping a shoulder. For example, if I am receiving a pass on the left side of the court and the ball is on the left side of my body, I need to adjust the angle of my platform so it faces the target, which is the setter, way over to my right. In order to do this, I drop my right shoulder. As you read this (thinking “this technical stuff is boring.”) take your hand off the mouse and form your platform. Now lean over to your right, so your right shoulder is 6 inches lower than your left. Does your platform face the setter (who is over to your right)?

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