React or anticipate

Imposing a time constraint as fundamental basis of the game brings us to differentiate the levels of response to this constraint. We can see a variety of behaviours from beginners to intermediate or expert players spread between two extremes:

Play in reaction =======================================> play in anticipation

The late reaction play of the novice

The behaviour is characterised by his ignorance of trajectory signals as signals that organise the game: the opponents' hits do not concern him and do not trigger a response. The player is spectator of the action. The ball bursting into hi nearby space causes a reaction which can sometimes be defined as explosive when he manages to touch the ball.

We often attribute the "explosive" or uncontrolled hit to a "technical error" but the delay appears to be the main cause with the following consequences:

  • contact player / fast moving ball equals accumulation of speeds
  • conflict fast movement – imbalance / independence of arms to hit
  • conflict run orientation / trajectory orientation

In volley-ball hits are made in conditions created by the movement. With beginners they are organised in compensation of the delay.

Developing hitting techniques in these conditions would be to encourage compensation attitudes and encourage the pupil to stay stuck in these behaviours without ever solving the problem in a satisfactory manner.

The premature response play from beginner to intermediate

From the moment he has identified the opponent's hit as an action signal, the player can organise himself in advance by postures and a mental activity favouring reaction speed (concentration, hit and trajectory observation, posture ready for rapid movement).

When this stage is reached hitting technique can be developed in favourable conditions.

Play in anticipation with roles differentiation
from intermediate players

In the next phase, an individual player becomes capable of taking into account clues from placement, preparation and the opponent's characteristics and in order to reduce uncertainty, orient himself towards the probable trajectory, thus reacting even more quickly or even anticipating thanks to probabilities.

Another major stage will be reached with the team game with role differentiation.

Defining oneself very early as receiver or not of the opponent's trajectory, as recipient or not of the pass allows to get positioned immediately in a role of support, or pass, or cover which constitutes a true anticipation which means an advance on events to come.

Play in anticipation with roles differentiation
from advanced players

Player specialisation is the only way to respond to the acceleration and the complication of the game at the next stage.

In this configuration players can project themselves into a very efficient anticipation from a tree of known scenarios and the confirmation or not of each hypothesis. This means that the team's efficiency definitely resides in the players' common reading of each situation while playing times and available pieces of information follow each other.

It is common to hear that player specialisation belongs to an expert or at least intermediate level. In practice at intermediate level a part specialisation and in particular for the setter, constitutes a simplification of the game by reducing the uncertainty of decision. It therefore favours success and progress for the game and the players.

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