Pre-Match Warm-up For Setters

warming a setter up
Here’s baby me 🙂

Now I haven’t played volleyball in a long time, so don’t judge, but from my experience, I know a thing or two about warming a setter up before a volleyball game. I set the entire time I played volleyball so I hope I know a thing or two about warming a setter up! Here’s what I’ve got:

  • Before warm-ups, get your setter or setters on the wall. When I say this, I mean: have them warm up their hands with quick sets and a variety of other exercises on a wall to get warm and loose. Stretching beforehand is good too. I remember that my coaches never let me get on the court unless my wall warm-ups were done. I also know that this definitely helped me feel relaxed and set much better when I actually played. My post on workouts and warm-ups for setters may be helpful.
  • Once your setter or setters are off the wall, have them work with each other for a little. Have them set back and forth for a couple of minutes. If you only have one setter, have them work with one of the coaches. Work on footwork and getting a rhythm.
  • After this, their individual warm-up is done and it’s time to join the team. You can warm up your setters with the team as you like. I preferred warming up with someone passing to me and then I set to my outside, middle, or right side. We would work on various hits during this time and this situation felt the most like a game would.

And that’s really it for how to warm up a setter, at least from my experience. I tended to start so it was important that I was warmed up and I know that even for our backup setters, getting loose and warm was important in case we needed to change something. During a match, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind for your setters too.

  • Keep their hands warm. I actually wore gloves in colder facilities so that if I rotated out during a 6-2, my hands wouldn’t get stiff. 
  • Keep your setters hydrated. We do a lot of work out there so it’s important to make sure that your setter is feeling good so they can keep up the good work.
  • During timeouts, pull your setter aside and talk with them individually. The setter is the playmaker and if there’s something you see as a coach, that needs to be addressed with them one on one. I always found this the most beneficial because I felt more focused. 

So here’s what I’ve got to say about warming a setter up! Good luck to all you setters and volleyball coaches out. Have fun out there!

All About Setters…

Some of you that have followed my website for a while will probably notice that this used to be its own page. I decided to take that down and turn it into a blog post. For you volleyball geeks out there, here’s some information on setters. When I played volleyball, I was a setter, and I had the honor of working with some really high-level coaches. Here’s a little wisdom on setting…

A setter has many characteristics. They have to be leaders, accurate, positive, deceptive, creative, vocal, and so on. One way to gain an appreciation for the many characteristics setters have is to evaluate pictures that illustrate these traits.

Thank You Setters

My sister, Allyson, and I evaluated pictures that my father had taken at PAC 12 games and various volleyball coaching clinics. Based on our knowledge from Trisha Kroll and Jenn Pritchard, we added captions that describe what volleyball setters should do.

Setting Lessons in Pictures Tricky

This first presentation is about how tricky setters need to be. It features Nicole Edelman from Colorado University and Lauren Plum from Oregon University.

Setting Lessons in Pictures Consistent

This presentation is about setters and their consistency of sets and technique. Once again, Nicole Edelman and Lauren Plum are featured.

Setting Lessons is Pictures Hits and Misses

This is a mix of shots and points both good and bad. Nicole Edelman from CU and Lauren Plum from Oregon are the stars.

Setting Lessons in Pictures Out of System Passes

Setters have to be able to set the pass no matter where it is. Nicole Edelman and Lauren Plum show us how it’s done.


How to Hit a Solid Float Serve

While I may have finished playing volleyball for good, I still do enjoy watching and talking about it. Having a strong float serve to get a point started for your team is crucial. Here’s how to hit a solid float serve.

  • Make contact with the ball on the “butt” of the palm of your hand. This can be difficult to understand. The “butt” of the palm of your hand is the meaty lower part of it. By making contact on that part of your hand with the ball high in front of you, have the opportunity to make the ball float in the air. Coming in straight at the center of the ball with the meaty part of your hand prevents any kind of spin from directing the ball in a certain direction. One of my old coaches helped with that by telling us to contact the ball at “the equator”.
  • Pull your hand back from the ball after you’ve hit it. This can also seem confusing without actually demonstrating, so I’ll do my best to make sense with words. Once you’ve made contact with the ball, pull your arm back. This shouldn’t be a jerky or super sharp movement away from the ball.
  • Keep the toss in front. This list of tips for how to hit a float serve are definitely not in order but the toss is a very important aspect of the serve. If you’re left-handed like me, the toss should be in front of you, high enough for your arm to reach it while it’s extended but not fully straight, and also in front of your left foot. If you’re right-handed it’s the same thing but opposite side.
  • When beginning your serve, start with your serving arm (your dominant arm) back by your ear with your elbow bent at about 90 degrees.  Your non-dominant arm should be out in front of you with the ball in hand, ready to toss it. Many coaches teach kids to bring their arm back as if they are drawing a bow to shoot arrows. While this does work for some kids, I find it uncomfortable and difficult to hit a good serve that way.
  • Focus on the four F’s. Fast, flat, float, and freakishly accurate. These are things to work on with your serve, once you feel like you’ve got the hang of it and are looking for ways to up your serve and challenge yourself. A 40+ mph float serve is difficult to read and return. Keeping the ball low as it crosses the net onto the opposing team’s side gives them less time to read the ball and react to where it coming. The more experienced you become with the feel for the float serve, the more deadly you can make it to your opponents. A good float serve will appear to “dance” in the air and will float and give the opposing team a lot of trouble. Being freakishly accurate with a float serve is a great way to cause trouble for your opponents. Being able to pick a spot on the court and serve to it can do wonders for your team and give you an advantage when the ball is back in play on your side of the net.


I hope these tips help you get started on being able to hit a super float serve or improve the serve you have already. Take time to make sure you’re practicing the correct technique and never give up. Mastering a certain skill can take a lot of time and patience and you have to be willing to work hard and try hard. If you’re looking for visuals or more information on how to hit a good float serve, there are hundreds of videos on YouTube and there are plenty of players and coaches out there willing to help you improve your serve. Have fun with it and good luck!


Losing is Good for You

Winning feels great and makes a person happy, but there isn’t too much one can learn from winning all the time. A person can become arrogant and lazy and that’s why losing can sometimes be good for someone. It allows them to learn from their mistakes and do better next time. The article “Losing is Good for You” by Ashley Marryman contains many relatable points that can be applied to my life as well as the lives of others.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been involved in sports. My coaches have always been supportive and pushed me towards excellence. When I was younger, I was praised for participating in events, performing well, or winning tournaments, and there would be certain rewards that I earned. As I became more experienced and older, the rewards for performing well or winning were trophies or plaques awarded by the tournament directors. When I was twelve, I was on a club volleyball team and I was one of the strongest players on the team. My coach was constantly praising me and it felt good at first but then it started to get old. According to Marryman, “Awards can be powerful motivators but nonstop recognition does not inspire children to succeed”. I didn’t feel as motivated to give 100% because the praise didn’t feel genuine, since my coach was always praising me. My parents worked hard to develop humility and help me understand that winning does feel good but it’s just as good to lose because you’ll learn from your mistakes and do even better the next time you go out and play. In tennis, I’ve always had a high ranking and been known for my good record. About two years ago, I went through a long losing spell and that was definitely not a fun time. My dad did his best to get me out of the losing streak and eventually I was able to succeed again and from that experience I learned that “you’re going to lose more often than you win even if you’re good at something. You’ve got to get used to that to keep going” (Marryman). It was so rewarding to win after so many loses and I was able to grow as a resilient athlete. I’m more motivated to work hard and succeed.

I guess losing really can be good for you.


Thinking Positive

Whether it’s in sports, school, work, body image, or life, it becomes very easy for people to focus on what they are doing wrong and all of the negativity. People want to succeed at what they’re doing and feel good about themselves and their accomplishments. However, it can be challenging, when one is constantly telling themselves, “This is terrible,”, “I’ll never be good enough,” or “I don’t think I can do this,”. Thinking positive is a way to turn those thoughts into something positive that will help you achieve your goals and feel better about yourself and whatever you do.


In sports, all athletes struggle with the pressure of wanting to win, not let down their coach, teammates, and parents, and perform with perfection. They also struggle with the ups and downs in their performance and when they are going through a rough period, they tend to think negatively which will only make things worse. Two words that are heard often are “can’t” and “don’t”. There are a lot of coaches out there who will tell their athletes, “Don’t hit the ball out,” or “Don’t lose,” and that causes the athletes to think about what they should not do versus what they should do. Then when athletes have talked themselves into doing the wrong thing, they start to believe that they can’t shoot a free throw, or land their back flip, or hit a float serve. Everything can go downhill if this negativity isn’t stopped in its tracks.


For example, in tennis, I can be very hard on myself. Now that I’ve been cleared to start running and playing a little bit of tennis again, my dad and I have been playing quite a bit so that I can get back into shape for the high school season. I haven’t played in about six months and getting back on the court for the first time was great, but there was frustration that came with it too. My groundstrokes were definitely not what I remembered them being and I struggled to get the ball in the actual court. My dad would ask me how my groundstrokes felt and I told him, “I’m not getting the ball in the court” and “I can’t seem to hit forehands”. After I told him that my dad told to focus on what I can do right for the next shot. I’m much more successful when I focus on the positive and what I can do to improve versus how bad my last backhand was.


The idea of thinking positive has been something I’ve been working on for a long time in tennis and life in general but it can be hard. It’s very easy to slip into a negative mindset but when you focus on what you can do to get better, you’re probably going to improve and feel better about yourself.


These same ideas can be applied to how you see yourself as a person and your goals in life. Maybe you think that you aren’t pretty or you don’t fit in. Those same two thoughts could be turned into something positive. Even in something “ugly” or negative, you could find something “beautiful” and positive to think about. And with the whole “fitting in” thing, isn’t it better to be yourself and discover who you are than fake it and be in unhealthy relationships? If you think that you aren’t good enough to try out for something, too shy to ask a teacher about something in class, or you’ll never be able to go on that trip to Japan that you’ve been dreaming about forever, you’re probably right, if you aren’t doing anything about it but complaining and thinking negative thoughts. If you think positive, you might not reach your goals when you hope you will but you’ll get there eventually. And if you don’t give going for your goals a try, how will you know you could have accomplished them anyways?


So with those same thoughts up above, you could turn those into “I’m going to make the best of this situation” “I’ll work towards my goals and achieve them”, and “I can do this”. Turning your negative thoughts into something positive, will help you out in the long run. Set goals for yourself, stick to those goals, and think positive. The road to your goals might be rough, but in the end, all of your hard work will have been worth it. You can do this!

Tips For Tryouts

Whether it’s for volleyball, tennis, or whatever sport/activity you compete in, you’re going to have to tryout to make a team at some point. Tryouts can be stressful sometimes and I want to help make it easier and less stressful so here are a few tips for tryouts.

1. Relax and have fun! If you end up making the team, that’s great. And if you don’t make the team, so what? At least you had fun trying. There will be plenty of other opportunities to make teams and try other sports or activities. So knowing this, you should just relax, play your game, show off your stuff, and have fun.

2. Control what you can control. The two things you can control are your attitude and effort. You can’t control the coaches and evaluators (although that would be pretty cool), the place and time the tryouts are held at, the other people trying out, the drills you do, and so on. So many people worry about those things going into tryouts that they forget what’s really important and what they should be focused on controlling. When you focus on controlling only your attitude and effort, you perform well, feel relaxed, and have fun.

3. Wear something bright so that you stand out from the rest of the crowd. From experience, a lot of people will either wear black or white to a tryout. You want to be noticed and have the coaches and other players watching and keeping an eye on you.

4. Stay positive and don’t get down on yourself. This goes along with the first tip for tryouts. If you shank a pass or miss a layup, or hit your serve in the bottom of the net, it’s not a big deal, just as long as it isn’t happening on a consistent basis. No one’s perfect and we’re all human, so if you make a mistake figure out what you’re going to do right next time, and execute it. Relax and you’ll do fine. Also, don’t get down on yourself if you don’t end up making the team, there other teams to tryout for and other opportunities.

So when you all head into tryouts just remember to relax and have fun, control what you can control, wear something bright, and stay positive and don’t get down on yourself. I really hope these tips will help you all succeed in tryouts. Good luck and have fun!

A Setter’s Warm-Up/Workout

Volleyball setters usually touch the volleyball every time it’s on their side of the net. So this means that a setter has to work especially hard and they should look and feel ready to go, right? Here are a few ways your setters can feel warmed up before they play and get in some good reps while they do it. These exercises don’t require a court; all you need is a wall, some space, and maybe even a partner.

– 300+ mini sets on the wall. Make sure your setter’s arms are slightly bent and all of the work is in the wrists as the ball comes on and off the wall. Their right leg should be slightly in front of their left leg and their knees should be bent about a 165 degree angle. When doing this, setters should discipline good hands and stop after every ten to check on their hands. My sister and I try to get over 900 mini sets on the wall so do challenge yourself but don’t overdo it.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout

-100+ one-handed sets on the wall. These are similar to the mini sets above but you do them one-handed. If your setter’s arms are stronger, they can extend their arm fully but still bend their elbow slightly. If they are working on strength and wrist control a little more, then they should bend the setting arm at about an 80 degree angle and hold on to it with the other arm while focusing on using their wrist.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout
Working on right-hand one-handed sets.

– 6 circles to the right and left (12 total). Circles are similar to the first exercise but for this the setters are turning in a circle while still setting the ball on the wall. Have the setters turn to the right six times and then to the left six times. This one might be kind of tough when your setters start doing it but just watch and make sure they are adjusting to the different angles as they turn.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout
Getting to the back set part of a circle.

The first and last exercises can also be used with jump setting if your setters are working on jump setting. They go through the same steps if they were on the ground they just time it a little differently and jump to set instead.

– 50 rockers. For these sets, setters should move off of the wall but still set at the wall. These sets work mostly on their weight transfer from their left foot to their right foot so it’s okay of the set isn’t high or at a certain height for this exercise. The setter will toss the ball to themselves and then set at the wall exaggerating the weight transfer. The ball should come back and then the setter will continue this until they get 50.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout
Finishing rocker set, weight transfer, and bringing arms back up quickly.

-25 bouncers. Bouncers are an exercise is which the setter tosses the ball to themselves, sets at the wall with some power, lets it bounce in front of them, and then gets under the ball to set it back at the wall and repeat the process. This is a good exercise to work on footwork and getting low to set with the hands instead of bump-setting it.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout
-10 hot dog rolls. Hot dog rolls are a lot of fun. Your setter will lie down on the ground about a ball’s length away from the wall and start setting on the wall while on their stomach. They can then roll onto their side (right or left) and then eventually onto their back and the other side while still setting the ball to the wall.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout

So these are a few exercises that you can have your setters do to get some more reps in and come ready to work at a practice or game. Make sure to encourage your setters and challenge them. And also, practice makes perfect but it also makes permanent, so check on them to make sure proper technique is being used. Have fun and go setters! 🙂

How to Become a More Competitive Volleyball Player

This past week I attended a competitive camp for volleyball. There were so many great things I learned about being a good competitor. Here are a few of the things I learned:

  • The Four Intangibles of a Good Competitor: Confidence, Competitiveness, Commitment, and Character. Confidence means you believe in your skills and know you are a good athlete. Competitiveness is the ability to fight (with character) and want to win and succeed. Commitment is being dedicated to the sport and taking the time to play. Character is your integrity, kindness, respect, self-control, etc. on the court. These are really important and I know I need to work on my competitiveness and when I become stronger with that I will become a better competitor.
  • Play smart and aggressive. Schwarzinstein! (Albert Einstein and Arnold Schwarzenegger). You have to be able to play smart and have a purpose with each decision and shot, like Albert Einstein. You also have to be able to play aggressive and want the ball and hit it hard, like the terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you play just smart or just aggressive you won’t be as successful, you have to be smart and aggressive.
  • Competitiveness Like a Missile Strike: Purposeful, Powerful, Planned, Precise, and Persistent. When you compete you have to have a plan for each player and team you play. You need to have everyone on the team in with the plan and you have to execute it and finish it. Last club season, if I had used this strategy, my team could have beat teams that we didn’t. If we had focused on a mission or a battle plan, and had scouted the other teams, we could have done better. I really hope I can use this, this season and become more competitive.
  • The Eleven Obstacles that Inhibit Competitiveness were also really interesting to learn about. These include: lack of confidence, lack of commitment/interest, lack of focus/purpose, lack of pride, lack of competitive role models, accepting losing, haven’t fully recovered from an injury, seniority rules, being threatened by the alpha on the team, passive personality, and not being socially accepted to compete. When I ranked them for myself I realized what I could work on to make me a stronger competitor. I plan to correct my weaknesses quickly so they become less of a problem.

Overall, it was a very interesting camp and a great learning experience. Even though I couldn’t play, I took in a lot mentally. A lot of this information was taken from How to Develop Relentless Competitors by Jeff Janssen. It’s a great book and it has a lot of great tips and ideas that you can take with you and use in your game. How to Become a More Competitive Volleyball Player

Setters Have to Have Many Abilities and Qualities

Setters are the coaches on the floor. They lead the team and they touch every second ball on their side. Someone with a position that important has to be a person and player with many abilities and qualities. Here are a few of the abilities and qualities setters should have.

  • Servant Leadership: Setters have to lead the team by serving them. They are not selfish, but selfless. Everything they do is for the team and not just themselves.
  • Work Ethic: Setters have to be the hardest workers on their team. Getting every second ball requires a lot of work so they have to be willing to work hard.
  • Deception: As a setter, the job is to set up your hitters with a chance to score and win. By being deceptive, a setter can hold the block and create holes in the defense. This creates a better chance for the hitters to score.
  • Creativity: Setters have to be creative with their sets and all that they do so that the defense is always on their toes, guessing where the next set will go. Setters have to have different moves to get to different balls. Like a setter might do a spin move to get to a close, low ball and might use an outside foot stop move to get to a really low ball that might put them off-balance.
  • A Positive Attitude: As the team leader, a setter has to be encouraging and positive with fellow teammates. They have to have an optimistic attitude. This creates a lighter, happier mood on the court and it can keep the team strong and prevent players from getting down.
  • Communication/Vocal Leadership: Setters have to communicate with their teammates. They have to be able to tell their teammates what play they plan to run and what your opponents are doing with the block and such. This could be in a form of hand signals or actual words.
  • Confidence: Confidence is something a setter MUST have. At the higher levels of volleyball, have you ever seen a setter afraid to make a set or a setter who just isn’t proud of their skills? Of course not! Setters have to believe in their skills and know they are great players.

There are many things that make setters the great players. Setters have to be servant leaders, hard-working players, deceptive, creative, positive and encouraging, communicative, and confident. These abilities and qualities are some of the things that make setters stand out. Without these few things, what would a setter be?

Setters Have to Have Many Abilities and Qualities