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Quality Setters

posted Feb 1, 2015, 11:06 PM by Debbie Sokol   [ updated Feb 2, 2015, 3:08 PM ]
A good setter can make a weak team decent and a good team exceptional. A poor setter can do the opposite. If you analyze the most successful teams, they usually have one thing in common: a quality setter. There are usually five key ingredients when choosing a setter, and are listed in order of importance.
  • Athletic ability and touch: Must be fast and quick (speed in changing direction), as well as agile. The most important factor is getting to the ball, and having a quick touch or quick release. A quick touch delivers a more consistently hittable ball which is the #1 goal
  • Communication and leadership: setters are the liaison between the coach and the team. They direct the team offense verbally and with hand signals, and they adjust the serve receive according to their own release position. They are calm and absorb the mishaps, whether or not they are at fault
  • Mental toughness: They demand the ball in tough situations, and they compete on every play by seeing each point separately from every other. To a setter, each point is its own mini-game
  • Game understanding: They have the ability to direct changes in serve receive patterns, deliver the ball to the hot hitter, take advantage of mismatches at the net and change the tempo of the offense. They should know the possible options in each rotation for serve receive and the transition game 
  • Physical attributes: Ideally tall, athletic, left-handed and have a good vertical jump
Setters who play with the mentality and ability to “better the ball” will elevate their team’s play. Setters in a 5-1 must play in the front court and must be able to defend (block) at the net. In a 6-2 system, since there is another setter in the backcourt, setters who rotate into the front court can either be utilized as a hitter if they have good jumping & blocking skills, or may be replaced by a better hitter/blocker. Realistically, most setters - especially at the lower levels of play - will not possess all of the ingredients. In any case, the coach must decide on the most important ingredient for their setter and for their team’s success. From Peggy Kane-Hopton, Keystone Region
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