Defence against a spike

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3 to 5 balls for 5 to 7 players

Aim of the task:

Control and send towards a partner target, balls hit from the top of the net.


  • For the spiker: hit towards a (marked) angular section. The spiker places himself on a raised support (table, bench) behind the net or just in front and produces realistic trajectories with progressive intensity.
  • For the defender: use the signal from the spiker's arm to engage.
  • For the target player (passer): reception the ball and carry it to the spiker before going into defence position.


  • Hitting distance and height: the distance mustn't be too short and must reproduce realistic distances and heights.
  • Power: produce regular hits at first. Then progressively increase the intensity then vary from one hit to another.
  • Direction: hit from the different possible attacking positions, which create different angles of movement and control (right handed and left handed players will not be as comfortable on both sides).

This is an advanced level of play, where the attacker finds himself in a real spike attack situation to produce a direct and often powerful up-down trajectory. Technical court defence on a smash attack takes on board the particulars characteristics of the situation. This means ball speed and hitting power.

What are the consequences?

  • Defence can only cover a restricted space => we must reduce the angle with a block, identify the areas threatened by direct trajectories and allot defence to these zones between several players.
  • The available time is very short => we must anticipate through move and action.
  • The ball is powerful => we must absorb the ball's energy to control its direction.

Technically, solutions are organised this way:

  • The player places himself in alertness on the edge of the area to defend.
  • On hit, he engages in the defended angle to cut the ball's trajectory while looking to turn towards his target (the passer).
  • He engages his hands (thumbs together) and forearms in order to make the ball "roll" and thus absorb part of the energy on impact. The image is one of "sliding your thumbs under the ball".
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We can observe:

  • The placing in the edge of the area to defend, in readiness: bent legs; attention focused on the attacker's arm. A player facing the attacker would not know whether to move to the right or to the left. This indecision created a critical lag in the weight placement.
  • Early engagement: the player starts moving as soon as the ball is hit towards the inside of the defended area and adapts to the trajectory while he is moving. He tries to place a support outside of the trajectory to orient the rebound.
  • Thumbs passing under the ball, allowing it to "roll", absorb the energy and control the trajectory. We can clearly see the ball turn and slow down after impact.
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