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How to Set a Volleyball

Learn how to set a volleyball in this Howcast sports video with Aurora Skarra-Gallagher and Tanya White.


In beach volleyball, there's two main ways to set the ball. One way is to pass or bump set the ball, and that's done with your arms.

The other way is to hand-set it, and that's done with your hand. Typically, more women end up bump setting the ball, and men more often hand setting the ball. Some say this is because men have bigger hands. When you're hand setting a ball, you still have to get the same positioning with your legs, but instead what you're going to do is create a triangle with your hands over your forehead, and then extend upwards. The rules for hand setting are more strict. The ball cannot be doubled.

That means you have to contact the ball at the same time with your hands. Usually if the ball spins, that's an indication that you've doubled the ball, and the ref will call for the other team's point. When you're bump setting, you don't have to worry about a potential double call. As with passing, it's really important to have the right foot work when you're setting. You want to make sure that you're slightly behind the ball, and have your feet about evenly spread apart about shoulder width.

You want to make sure that you're balanced when you're setting and that you're facing your target. When you're setting, you typically want to set your partner anywhere from one to five feet off the net, but it varies depending on your partner's preference. If you set too tight or too close to the net, your partner might get blocked. If you set too far off the net, they might have trouble seeing the court when they're hitting.

After you set, it's important to give your partner a call. You want to say line, angle, one up, nobody, these calls let your partner know where the block is, or where the defense is, or where the open spot is. And that's how you set a beach volleyball.

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