You’re facing a towering attacker who is killing cross-court shots at an alarming rate. The only thing standing between her heat-seeking missiles and the floor is, well, you. Rather than being defensive on defense, you must be aggressive and attack the ball.
The cross step won’t do you much good, because it effectively pulls you out of position. “Eliminating the cross step allows you keep your hips aligned with the hitter and toward the middle of the court at all times,” says Wyman Khuu, national team coach and skills coordinator for Premier Volleyball Academy (Maumee, Ohio).
A more efficient technique is the Drop and Drive defensive movement, a simple two-step skill for getting into position to make a play on the ball.
Before executing the Drop and Drive, you have to assume the “Two-Triangle Stance.” Get into a low position with your back flat and your arms extended in front of you, palms up. Khuu suggests thinking of it as creating a large triangle with your lower body and a narrow triangle with your upper body.
From the Two-Triangle Stance, drop your outside foot back and shuffle toward the sideline to execute the Drop movement. Keep your eyes on the opposing attacker and your arms straight—so you can easily slide them together to create a platform to bump the ball.
Next, it’s time to be aggressive. Drive forward toward the ball. Khuu says, "You want to make your defensive moves forward at all times. It’s an attacking mentality instead of waiting for the ball to hit you."
When bumping the ball, aim high and toward the middle of the floor, putting your setter in position to execute a precise overhand pass.
Perfect your Two-Triangle Stance and perform the Drop and Drive Movement. Put it into practice at full speed with the Base to Release Drill, as demonstrated by the Premier Volleyball team in the video above.