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Lloy's Corner: Becoming a Great Setter

Jan 3, 2018 8:16:54 AM

What does it take to be a great setter?  Well, here is a guide to get to that goal, from arguably the best setter in USA volleyball history!!  Thanks to Lloy Ball for his amazing insight and guidance ... we hope you take when you learn below and implement all these wise words.

1)  Confidence

Look and act confident even when you are not. A setter has to be the one player on your team that can separate their emotions from their play. All eyes will be on you. You are the only player that will contact the ball every time it crosses the net. Your teammates must believe that you are one step ahead of the competition … that you know the game plan exactly and each set you make has a purpose and an intended result that you and the coach have game planned ahead of time.

2)  Location

Location will beat trickery every time. While nothing gives a setter (or hitter) more pleasure than a one-on-one(none) situation, if the ball is un-hittable it doesn't matter. A good set against three blockers that your hitter can attack with height and range is better than a fast set that is ball determined. At International levels this changes because hitters are more capable and can deal with questionable location.

3)  Work Ethic

The setter must be the hardest worker on your team. Not necessarily your best athlete (but that helps:) but if your setter hasn't signed up for the most thankless job on the team, you need to find a new one. Most people will not recognize if a setter wins a match for you. But, they will recognize when he or she loses it for you:) Setting takes thousands and thousands of reps. Setting takes hours and hours of video. Setting takes constant babysitting of hitters and passers. You will be asked to run all over the court for bad passes, then criticized when your set is three inches to the left or right. Your setter must have the biggest heart and the highest self-confidence.

4)  Shortest Memory

Having a short memory is also a must for your setter. Nothing, and I mean nothing let's the opposition go on runs of points more than the setter dwelling on the last play. The wrong choice or bad location can only give the opposing team one point. Not letting that bad set go can give the other team runs of points.

5)  Conflict resolution

Dealing w problems one-on-one minutes after the play off to the side. This is an issue that can literally make or break a team. Player confrontation is the quickest way to lose a set, a match and your season. Since the setter is the most important cog in your team, he or she will need to be the best at conflict resolution. Never, never, never confront a passer or hitter directly after a mistake.  When hitters wine, when passers complain wait a few plays or wait till the next time out. Go over to the individual and in a strong yet positive voice tell them you understand they complaint and will do your best to rectify it. But, they must make a better effort to help you as well. Player back lashes happen when people are criticized in front of their peers. They feel embarrassed and naturally fight back. Taking them aside after you and they have chilled and talking one on one will not only squash the problem but lead to better team confidence and chemistry down the road.

6)  Leadership

You are a leader whether you like it or not. Embrace it. Put your shoulders back and lead the team. If a setter tries to run from this responsibility they will never take your team where you want them to go.

7) Physicality vs setting ability

This is the big debate. Everyone wants the big setter. I know my Dad did:)  But, you have to ask yourself, what does your team need????  If you have big left side studs and a big opposite that can terminate almost any ball, absolutely I would want a big setter with a big presence at the net. You can give up a higher percentage of quality sets for blocking and serving because you have the sticks to get the setter out of a jam. BUT, if you don't have those sticks, which I am guessing most of you don't. Go with the guy/girl that can most efficiently run your offense. Yes, you will give up some points on the block but chances are they are good defenders and get you transition points that way, and they can help your average hitters by giving them a higher percentage of quality sets. If you find a BIG setter that is athletic, great hands, good location, good blocker and loves to lead your team. Well, you hit the lottery.

Well there you have it … I hope this helps you become a better setter … leader … person.  

Best of luck!!  

Lloy

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