Two handed touch

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1 ball for 1 to 3 pupils

Aim of the task:

Juggle above the head with two handed ball touches

The first points to put in place relate to preparation, hitting surfaces, ball contact. As in all other volley-ball techniques we're not talking about power but about placing and amplitude. This is why we emphasise the sensations linked to the maximum use of the joints' amplitude in the fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders. It's at the same time a question of efficiency and security. Accidents that occur sometimes are generally linked to a bad position of the fingers.

The reference points in preparation are:

  • Fingers are spread and extended, thumb and little finger almost aligned => the fingers are protected and offer a tonic and large surface in contact with the ball.
  • Wrists are in complete extension, palms are facing, hands are above the ears => the "springs" are in place to produce energy: extension of the shoulders, the elbows, the wrists and rotation of the forearms enable the surface of the fingers to propel the ball whilst controlling its direction.
  • At the end of the push palms are turned outwards, arms and shoulders in extension.

To feel this we juggle on:

  • A time for control above the head <=> to succeed you must be under the ball, hands well placed.
  • A time for a high trajectory <=> we use all the amplitude of the joints.
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We call "hit" all actions on the ball in reference to the basic rule which forbids to "hold". It's the action on the ball that enables the finest and most accurate ball "touch". We will however continue to talk about hits most of the time because it is important for beginners to look for a contact with extended and tonic fingers and not a control, which will come naturally later.

The action of touching the ball with both hands is quick and therefore difficult to observe and analyse. We can rely on the preparation and end of action phases to understand the global unfolding.

As in all hits, the action, placing of the supports and leg action are essential (see below) but we are focusing here on the hands' action on the ball. A complete action combines extension of the shoulders and elbows and a forearms rotation.

Note: forearms rotation is often mixed up with a wrist action as it results in a rotation of the palms from the inside to the outside and often goes, after the hit at the end of the move, with a letting go of the wrist into flexion.

Before the hit:

  • Fingers are open in extension; palms are facing, thumbs near the ears. This will allow a wide contact with the ball, a rotation of the hands and the safety of the fingers at the moment of impact.
  • The arms are flexed and, if the hands are placed correctly, the elbows are pointing naturally forward.

The hit is done above the tip of the forehead.

After the hit if it was complete:

  • Extension of the arms and shoulders translates into a proximity of the shoulders and the ears and even into a contact of the arms against the ears.
  • Rotation of the forearms translates into the orientation of the palms to the outside, the hands finish back to back.

We observe some behaviours which will eventually become handicaps in the game and occasionally some finger sprains:

  • the player opens his elbows outwards (very spontaneous behaviour) thumbs move away from the ears and have a tendency to move forward, fingertips of both hands meet, shoulders are less free and it becomes impossible to mobilise the forearms. The action will be less efficient both in precision (control) and in power. Beginners feel more efficient this way because at this stage, they haven't identified the rotating action of the forearms.
  • The player is looking to control the ball by placing his thumbs under the ball towards the front (close to the previous behaviour). It is generally in compensation for a placing too far back on the ball.
  • In preparation the fingers point towards the ball and contact is made on the fingertips (Ouch!). This error can be observed in other hand ball games.
  • The arms are straight (no preparation) and the action limits itself to a whipping of the fingers towards the front.
  • The action limits itself to a closing of the hands in a "catch the soap" way.

To foster an evolution of the responses we come back to the points of reference for preparation and end of action.

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