Monthly Archives: July 2017

Techniques to Improving Spikes in Volleyball

  • Develop a proper approach

Everything in hitting a volleyball starts with your approach. If you don’t have a strong, explosive approach then all the rest of the attack is going to be less than optimal. A good approach includes proper footwork with the last two steps being right-left (left-right if left-handed), with the hips open rather than square with the net. It goes from slow to fast in that the first step or two are used for direction and timing, with the second to last being an explosion, and the last one used to transfer forward momentum into upward force. A proper approach is also high to low in that the hitter starts in a standing or slightly flexed position, but on that second to last step reaches a fully coiled position in preparation for a max jump.

  • Focus on a fast arm swing

Many players fail to get the most out of their hits because they think “hit hard” rather than “swing fast”. Power in a spike comes from the speed of the hand at contact. A good arm swing starts with an open torso (which should come from proper approach mechanics) as power begins with twisting through the core with the elbow drawn back. That then carries through the shoulder as the elbow comes forward. It finishes with the arm extending at speed to ball contact. Players get into trouble when they swing from the shoulder, not just in terms of inefficient spikes, but also in increased likelihood of injury.

  • Contact at full extension

Execution of a proper fast arm swing as mentioned above will see the player strike the ball at the highest possible contact point. This is critical in many ways. Obviously, it creates the best possible attack angle. Players, however, will often drop their arm. Not only is this less efficient, it also leads to a lot of hitting errors. This is particularly noticeable when hitters are trying to hit down the line and when they have no block. If you can get your hitting mechanics working properly, that alone will make you a much better hitter. From there you can then work on being able to mix things up. Good hitters have the ability to change speeds and to hit to all areas of the court, especially in terms of being able to show a cross-court hit and do a line shot or vice versa. Those skills all require a strong mechanical foundation, however, so start with that and you’ll find yourself progressing nicely.

Volleyball and the Real World Application

To some, volleyball is just a sport, while to others it is an art form. Understanding volleyball allows individuals to develop critical thinking skills, organizational skills, and self-awareness skills. Bystanders may find the sport fun and fast paced, but they rarely understand all of the effort that goes into playing it. Playing volleyball involves more than learning how court chemistry comes together and how plays are run. Playing involves learning the moves and habits of your teammates as well as gaining a sense of awareness. By practicing, a person can develop awareness and critical thinking skills that are important in the game and life.

Skills to be Successful

For a setter, volleyball is like a game of chess. It is all about reading the other players and keeping track of his or her own team. A setter has to be more aware than the other players on the court because he or she controls the pace of the entire game. To play this position successfully, a setter must be witty and smart. He or She must be able to think faster than the pace of the game. On top of that, a setter needs to be able to express his or her thoughts to teammates as well as to listen to teammates. Communication, like in anything else, is a key factor of success in volleyball. A defender must communicate with teammates about positioning. If one player cannot reach the ball, his or her teammates need to know, so they can reach the ball. Players talk to each other during a play to help make decisions about if the ball is in or out of bounds, and players will normally give advice on what play to run. Sometimes players will voice encouragements if another teammate is not playing their best. Another example of communication in volleyball is how a setter and hitter communicate effectively to set the ball along the net where it will not be blocked. Some skills that a setter needs to be successful are as follows:

• Know where everyone is supposed to be on the court at all times.
• Read his or her opponent’s behavior and make small adjustments.
• Communicate thoughts and intentions to teammates.
• Move swiftly and think rapidly.
• Plan moves steps ahead.
• Make calculated movements that do not indicate plays to defenders.

Real Life Application

Communication, strategy, and critical thinking are skills that educators work hard to teach effectively. College focuses on testing a student’s ability to perform critical thinking activities. Some professors do not understand how students are coming to college with such limited practice in this area. While students have practiced critical thinking in a classroom environment, many students have never been exposed to critical thinking in a realistic setting. Sports are a realistic outlet that can give students an opportunity to begin developing these very important skills.

When someone is able to grow up practicing these skills in a scenario that he or she enjoys, that person learns faster and gives motivation to solve complex problems in life. Passion to learn infused within these necessary skills, one is able to gain experience in a fun, involving way.

By actively participating in sports, individuals practice at problem solving and forming strategy goals, skills which gain importance with age. Particular roles in certain sports, such as a setter position in volleyball, may offer more in-depth practice of these skills than other sports. In addition to learning physical skills, athletes develop mental skills that are relevant to life through the sports they play.

Benefits of Cycling

It’s just the lack of physical exercises and fresh oxygen that an individual fails to adapt. Late night office, sleeping till nine or 10, incorrect breakfast timings are all the catalysts to unhealthy conditions leading to problems like depression, weight loss or gain, etc. To prevent such things, it is mandatory to get involved in physical exercises like cycling. The respective sport helps to maintain good health in an efficient way. Below mentioned are some of the perks that pedaling provides.


  1. It strengthens the Muscles – This activity involves the calf and thigh muscles which help in strengthening them. The core muscles are also benefited over here. It helps in toning the abs while also toughening up the arms.
  2. Improves the cardiovascular system – The sport boosts the heart rate while giving a good cardio workout. People who are prone to cardiovascular diseases like stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attack can be highly benefited by the respective sport. It stimulates and improves the heart, lungs, and blood circulation while reducing the risk of the above-mentioned problems. It helps in strengthening the heart muscles while reducing the blood fat levels. A Danish study conducted over 14 years ago with 30,000 people aged 20 to 93 years found that regular cycling protected them from heart diseases.
  3. Helps to control diabetes – Diabetes is one of the common reasons for heart attacks, kidney failures, and many other disorders. Pedaling helps in controlling diabetes as it converts the glucose in the body to useful energy. A research in Finland proved that individuals who did this exercises for more than 30 minutes per day had a 40 percent lower risk of developing diabetes.
  4. Helps reducing the stress – Mental conditions like depression, stress, and anxiety levels can be reduced by the above activity practiced regularly. It keeps the stress levels in control which will help to keep the negative energy far from the focus.
  5. It helps in weight loss – This physical exercise is a complete calorie-burner! Even one hour of cycling thrice a week will have help in shedding the extra flab and kilos in no time. The more you sweat, the more benefits you’ll get. However, it is important to don the right style of men’s underwear as sweating in crotch area can result in chafing which makes the wearer uncomfortable during the sport.
  6. Protect from Arthritis – Arthritis is one of the terrible pains that a person can suffer from. Many doctors suggest bike riding as it reduces the arthritis pain. It helps the joints and muscles to get stronger with the workouts. This also keeps the person fitter, as it motivates you to perform better.

Best Cycling Getaways in Europe


Even though the Alps can challenge the toughest of Ironmen, the mountain range has something to offer for everyone. The Alps allow you to test your skills at the heart of French Alps, where the best of the best world’s cyclists meet to compete in Tour de France each year. And while this route might not be for everyone’s capabilities, it is well rewarding with the dramatic and enjoyable scenery. Meanwhile, in the East, you’ll find the Via Claudia Augusta – the first real road used as a Roman trade route in 15 BC. The historic road is now turned into a modern cycling trail, which stretches across the Alps at a comfortable altitude of 1600m.


Ask your British friends what they love about their country, and one of the most heard answers will surely be ”coastal roads and cliff paths.” Specifically, the beautiful English southwestern county of Cornwall that has been featured in many world-famous movies. The Cornish Coastal Way has two of the most popular routes both of which, will provide you with a full on British classic experience: little seaside villages, fish and chips on the beach, and the Land’s End – the most Westerly point of England. Overall distance is around 200km, so better plan a longer trip if you want to ride this trail from start to finish.


You’ve probably heard of the Santiago Road, made world-famous after Paulo Coelho’s novel The Alchemist. This road leads to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, located in a small Spanish town called Galicia, and attracts thousands of tourists every year searching for their spiritual growth. While most people walk this route eager to find themselves, El Camino de Santiago has also been developed for cycling. That’s right – you can ride your way to self-discovery, and whilst doing that, enjoy the medieval towns, vineyards of Rioja, and stunning landscapes of Pyrenees.


The Danube River Cycle route is considered family friendly and a relatively easy ride. The route delights with diverse views of the countryside and cities along the way. The most popular trail starts in Germany, in the town called Passau, and goes all the way to Vienna. It’s 340 km long and will gift you with many castles, churches, stunning villages, and historic monuments. If you have more time to spend traveling, don’t stop in Vienna. Continue your journey downstream to Budapest in Hungary, and compare the contrasts between the better developed western and more exotic and adventurous eastern European sides.


The Eurovelo 10 route loops around the Baltic Seashore countries. The coastline of over 7000km allows you to pick your starting point from anywhere between the northern part of Sweden and Germany and follow the shore pretty much all the way around. Plentiful of sandy beaches, national parks, and picturesque coastal towns – this route is a pure blast for your eyes. Once you hit the three Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, do not miss out on exploring their historic capital cities and beautiful mountainous sand dunes. Meanwhile, if you are keen on trying something new and aren’t afraid of cold, head towards the Finnish side of the Russian border. There, you can experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure of fat biking on frozen lakes and snow.