So learning skills is always fun right? I’m constantly teaching new skills to my players at SHIELD VBC. The girls often come to me with little to no volleyball experience. Or worse, they’ve played for several years under a coach who is incompetent.
One skill I always have to teach my girls is sprawling. Sprawling is the process of moving to a ball, playing it up, and then lowering to the ground. Often players refer to this as diving, but diving is a misnomer in the girls’ game. Girls aren’t built to dive. Diving involves landing on the chest, and sprawling is about lowering to the stomach.
So I start teaching by getting their attention. Usually they want to learn to dive/sprawl so they can stop sliding on their knees (this is painful, even with knee pads). It goes something like this:
“Ladies, listen up. We’re going to talk about sprawling now. This is keep you from hurting yourself, and allow you to pass balls more accurately.”
(These are both positive outcomes so this is usually sufficient to get their attention.)
I then review the first movement: stepping in the direction of where the ball will be. (This skill is only to be used if they know they are going to be too late to play the ball while on both feet.)
I demonstrate the first step in front of them and have them mirror me. If any are having issues, I step in front of them and they watch me from behind. Then they perform the skill as I watch them and note where they are making mistakes, providing feedback to fix in the next repetition.
We follow this outline of demonstration, rehearsal, and encoding for the next 3 steps
- Pass the ball
- Lean forward, catch
- Lower down
All the while I am demonstrating each successive step, helping them be successful, and making sure they are performing it safely.
When they have the motion down, we work on speeding it up, because balls travel quickly and they have to play faster than the ball is traveling. So we begin introducing balls to repetitions, first tossing them, and then spiking the balls at the girls so they can practice sprawling at speed.
The entire process usually takes 30-50 mins.