A spike is often the most dramatic part of a volleyball game. Professional players are defined by their spike moves. It is the ultimate offensive weapon in the game of volleyball.
A spike occurs when one player jumps up and hits the ball with a powerful one-armed overhead swing, hitting the ball squarely with a slightly opened hand.
A skilled player can aim the ball to an unprotected area where it can’t be hit back.
“Spiking the ball will make you a good player,” says professional volleyball player James Martin Natividad from the Philippines who has put his athletic profilings on Sportamix. “Good coaches know that anyone can learn how to spike a volleyball with power.”
Approach the spike with your non-dominant foot. If you are right-handed, for example, step with your left foot first. These first two steps should be quick to develop more elastic energy.
The second big step is with your right foot. Taking these two big steps help give your next step more power and height.
Plant your left foot next to your right foot and jump. Use your entire body to generate the power you need.
As you approach and jump, the ball should be just in front of the shoulder you are hitting with. If it is inside or outside the area, it will limit the power of the hit. If the ball is too far forward, it may not even make it over the net.
Stretch your arm upward about six inches behind the ball, and then hit the ball at the highest point of your jump. The idea is to hit the ball so hard it is impossible to stop. It is best to hit the ball when your arm is at full extension.
Arch your back after you jump and swing through the ball while closing your chest.
Land on the balls of your feet with your knees bent.
Learning how to spike doesn’t mean you have to have strong arm muscles or be extremely tall. You can learn how to develop a spike with some special tips by coaches.
Helpful Tip #1: Learn to Miss
To master most sports techniques, they tell you to start off slow and then build up for power. For volleyball, the opposite is true. Work on power first, and then develop the accuracy.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but some coaches will tell you that to develop a good powerful spike, you have to first stop worrying about where the spike will go on the other side. It’s about jumping high enough to get the ball over the net, so first feel comfortable with that skill before worrying about your aim.
When a player pays too much attention to where the ball is aimed, then you can lose a lot of power. Develop the power first, and then work on the aim. Accept that you may not land the ball into the opposing court.
Learning how to modulate the power of a spike is important, so the best way to figure that out is to hit the ball up against a wall. You’re not worrying about aim, or getting it over a net, or even jumping, you are just pounding the ball against the wall with an overhead spike.
Helpful Tip #2: Hit a Wall
Swing your arms at the ball with as much speed as you can, and hit the ball against a wall. Don’t worry about the height, or jumping. Just begin to understand your own strength.
Helpful Tip #3: Get in Position
Repetition helps your body remember how to feel when you can best hit the ball. The best powerful hitters will try to position themselves in the exact same position to hit the ball in the same way.
Helpful Tip #4: Aim Straight Ahead
Follow your arm through with your spike and have it come down across your body. Aim the ball straight ahead as much as possible.
Power comes from the same twisting action that baseball pitchers use. The key in volleyball is to open up after you take that swing.
“I think it is the spike that helped me get noticed and get into the pros,” say pro player Natividad. “It is important to get that skill down well.”