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Defend Against Dink in Volleyball

Positional responsibility

After attitude comes positioning. The players with designated responsibility for tip coverage, if any, are determined by the type of defense a team employs. For example, a rotational defense in which the right back player moves up behind the block on an outside hitter attack means that right back defender is responsible for shots over the block and into the middle of the court. In a standard perimeter defense there is no specifically designated tip coverage player, so basically it is up to the player(s) closest to the ball to make the dig.

Expecting the shot

This is perhaps the most important part of being good at off-speed defense. Tips, roll shots, and the like tend to score more because defenders are surprised than because they are well-placed. A prime example of this is setter dumps scoring when in most teams’ base defense there are two players specifically placed to defend against the first or second ball coming over. If those players expect the setter to dump they will often make a rather easy play on the ball. If not, they are caught flat-footed and the ball drops – a source of many a coach’s grey hairs.

Moving through the ball

As noted above, defense against an off-speed shot is often about pursuit. A player must move to the ball to make the play on it. In many instances the player has to run to get the ball and may not be able to be stopped in time to make a good play. In these cases they need to be able to execute a run-through dig to the favored target zone. This is something which requires training for less advanced players as the mechanics involved are a bit different than the normal more static dig or pass.