Yesterday at practice, my 9th grade MB's spent about 15 minutes learning the slide approach. The OH's & setters were at other stations accomplishing other tasks.
Digressing for a moment................One way I judge my practices is how much of the time my players are standing around doing nothing......so when I want to teach something to the kids who play a certain position, we get into stations. For about 15 minutes yesterday, my OH's were working on rolling & emergency digs, while my MB's were working on their slide approach, while the setters were setting 82's in preperation for the time when the MB's and setters would be together.
Back to the slide approach: Here's the email that I sent to Samantha, my assistant coach. She's only 18, so I tried to be as specific and detailed in the email as possible. Then when she arrived at practice, I reviewed with her again.
Sam, you will teaching the MB's slide footwork. Here is what I want you to go over:
a) Footwork: Forward with the left foot, then right & left. The final two steps are like she's shooting a lay up in basketball. Do not let the MB's take a 45 degree angle with the first step, or they'll run past zone.
b) The approach doesn't lead the hitter TOWARDS the net, but ALONG the net. The approach takes the hitter parallel to the net. So as the girls are learning the footwork, when they swings at an imaginary ball, their fingers shouldn't rake the net.
c) The hitter's attitude is the following: The ball is set, then I "run it down". It's like giving the rabbit (the volleyball) a head start, then having the dog (the slide hitter) chase it and "run it down".
d) Stress to the girls to not be early. The hitter must have confidence that she can run the ball down. And she will be able to, if the set is the proper height and properly set off the net. (If it's not the proper height, we'll take that up with the setters.) Even if the setters put the ball in the wrong zone, if the hitter isn't early, she can adjust. If she is early, she'll look like a goof b/c she'll be running by the set or she'll be swinging at a ball that hasn't gotten there yet.
e) Just like when hitting any 2 set, the hitters should have their left foot on the floor when the ball is in the setter's hands.
f) The hitters' armswing is the same: "Arms following the left foot". Try to have the girls do it, but I see a lot of sliders who have very little armswring. If they can't master the arm swing, don't spend a lot of time with it. The footwork is your top priority.
g) I will be on the other side of the net teaching the setters to set the 2 into the 8 zone. You may need to put a piece of tape on the net in the 8 zone so that the MB's can see the zone. The setters & MB's will later be working on this together, so the tape can be left there even during rallies.