And the answer to your question is...

Question 1

I've played volleyball for about 12 years and I often even changed roles (playing most of the time in the middle).  This year I was asked to play as a right-side player and I'm sure that this change became even more difficult not only because I had never been good at defence (something I'd definitely have to get better at), but also because of my lack of motivation.  I play in a Series D league in Campania, a region of Italy, and I thought I'd write you seeing that our stature and profile as a player are very similar.  The only thing that sets us apart is that you are more consistent!!  I'd appreciate some advice on how I can get better in the position I'm playing now!
I tend to bend my arm when the set is low and so the ball ends up in the net.  Even my strength, my spike serve, has  changed because of knee problems.  For now I have an average float serve. I hope you will answer me soon and I'll take this opportunity to wish you luck in your volleyball season.  


Janis says...

First I'd like to thank you for writing and I hope that my advice will help your situation.  
     It is normal that throughout your volleyball career, you will change role at least one time.  This can be a positive thing to take advantage of as it will help you to become a more complete volleyball player and increases your possibilities on future teams. The transition is difficult because it is natural that the angles you are used in defense etc.,  when playing the ball as a middle player,  are different than those of the right-side.  However, often the greatest difficulty is getting used to the idea that you will not be in YOUR position.  The most important thing to do when the new role is still fresh, is to apply yourself 100% so as to quickly re-solidify your grasp on all the basic volleyball skills which may suffer while you are getting accustomed to seeing things through the eyes of a right-side player.    Gradually you will feel more comfortable and soon you will notice your progress. 
     On a positive note, a right-side player normally gets more balls in the match than the middle!!
     It is unlikely that you will always receive the perfect set (no matter how good the setter), however, I find it helpful in attack when I use my left hand to find the ball before hitting it with my right.  My right hand that follows the same path as my left hand, is in full extension and hits the ball in front of my head.  This helps to create a more constant contact on the ball (more or less the same each time) and also helps the hitter see when there is a block in front of them. 
    Defence:  After learning the basic skills of defense, I believe that the difference between defending and not defending the ball is  mostly in your attitude.  You'd be surprised  how many people who play at a high level are still afraid of the ball!   Sometimes when I am waiting for a ball that I know is coming really hard, I yell to give me the courage to stay behind it and defend.   I believe that if you expect the ball to come to you and are ready to defend it, 90 percent of the time the ball will not HIT you, but YOU the ball.  
     Serve:  Unfortunately injuries are also a part of volleyball.  I hope that you take care of your knee so that you can return to your spike-serve soon.  Now that you must float serve, remember that your contact must be behind and straight through the ball and once you have mastered your contact, don't be afraid to hit it.  Just like in attack, to avoid hitting the ball in the net aim for deep in the court when serving.  It is more difficult for the other team to pass and defend balls that are hit deep when you make them move.  
     I hope that I didn't give you too much information  at one time.  Try to pick one or at maximum two things to work on at a time.  That way you won't be overwhelmed.  At first it may be difficult, which is normal when we try to change something, but with hard work and patience you will soon see progress.  Be determined and don't give up!  Good Luck.