As coaches, we spend a lot of time with our players training them to hit balls. We do a lot of hitting repetition. While that’s really important, if players are struggling to be in a position to hit the ball well, then we need to look at more than just their ability to hit the ball, we need to look at how well they can receive the incoming ball too.
Why “direction” is a great first step when building receiving skills
In this first video on receiving skills, I’m going to start us off by looking at the direction of the incoming ball. I start there because it’s the first thing that you see about the ball coming towards you. You can tell the direction of the incoming ball before you can identify other characteristics of the incoming ball. The second reason to start with direction is that the direction doesn’t change! Once the ball has been hit by your opponent, the direction is fixed. So, if we can be really fast at working out the direction the ball is coming from, then even as red and orange players, the player has a really good head-start on knowing which part of the court to move to.
In this video, I go in-depth into a short exercise that you can work on with young players to help them learn to read and judge the direction of the ball. The beauty of this exercise is the way that it also builds footwork and positioning skills.