1. Where to Hit-what's open.
One of the best things you can communicate to your front row hitter (s) is what part of the court is open. This can be combined with letting them know what the block is NOT taking away. This can be done in two ways. You can wait between plays and after the ball is dead you can tell your hitter “Hey they keep blocking you line just keep cranking it hard cross court. " Or you can do what I do and what elite beach volleyball players are taught and trained to do and that's to yell to the hitter what is open as the play is developing. It takes practice . . . so do it in practice but get used to watching for what the block is taking away then call the opposite OR call the open area on the court. Use one syllable commands and Say them loudly just before your hitter makes contact with the ball at the height of his spike. Call “LINE", “CROSS", “TIP".
2. The Block.
You can choose to tell your hitter whether the block is UP or not. I yell “Nobody" which lets my hitter know that she can swing away and hit the poop out of the ball with no worries. This often happens on a ball that has come back over unexpectedly and the opposing team's block doesnt have time to form but your hitter is looking UP at a high ball unable to see whether he/she has a block or not. By calling out “nobody" you are being your hitter's eyes.
Another option to help out your hitter is tell them how many blockers he/she has. I learned in Italy to communicate as much as possible how many blockers my hitter had just before they hit. “Y’ got ONE" or “Y’ got TWO" let's my hitter receive information that they have ONE or TWO blockers up . . . that helps them decide how and where they want to hit the ball.
3. Who the hitters are on the opposing team's front row.
Call out where and who the front row hitters are on the opposite team. Say it out loud and if you want to point with your fingers like I do. . . . Do it. . . that's always fun it just adds a little emphasis.
Let everybody know on your team whether the setter is front row which means it's possible for her to turn and hit or to tip it over to your court. Let everybody know especially her. . . that YOU know where she is. Say It LOUD. Trust me usually setters are less likely to sneak attack a tip when they know that YOU know that they are front row.
4. Characteristics of the opposing hitters.
Sometimes the back row is the best place in the house to see what is happening in the front row. If there is a particular hitter that your block can't seem to stop. . . watch to see exactly How that spiker is being successful then communicate that to your front row.
Here's what I mean. If the same hitter has gotten points by spiking the ball on your side its your responsibiliity to give your blockers the information needed to stop them. Are your blockers jumping too soon against a hitter with a slow armswing. Then tell them to “Wait" and time their block so they go up later. Is the hitter beating your block by hitting inside the middle blocker's internal hand? Tell the outside blockers (with the coach's approval) to take one more step to the middle of the court-taking away more of the cross court.
I have seen many balls that were easy to recover that were blocked and deflected right back to the feet of the off blockers who forgot to cover their hitters. These are easy opportunities for your team to replay the ball and either sideout or make a point. Why waste the opportunity when it's as easy as reminding everybody including and especially the off hitter/blockers who didn't get set to come and “cover" the hitter.
April Chapple is a former International Indoor and Beach Volleyball Professional. After many years of playing with and against Olympic and World Champions in Europe and the U. S. April has created, owns and publishes Volleyball Voices and April's Beach Volleyball Blog the first virtual volleyball mentoring communities where all female volleyball players come to write their stories. To learn more from and about players who play-visit http://www.volleyballvoices.com and http://www.aprilsbeachvolleyballblog.com To vote on the best Volleyball Photography visit http://www.volleyballvoyeur.com today!