Monday, 22 Jul 2024

The Importance of Reading in Volleyball

Imagine being able to quickly anticipate and respond to the movements on a volleyball court. This is what reading in volleyball is all about. It’s a skill that can make a huge difference in the game, and it’s something that can be learned and developed. In this article, we will explore the concept of reading in volleyball and share some valuable tips on how to improve this skill.

What is Reading in Volleyball?

Reading, as defined by renowned volleyball player Karch Kiraly, is the ability to respond quickly by seeing patterns unfold earlier. It is often associated with having a high volleyball IQ or strong court sense. But here’s the interesting part – reading is not something that you are born with or have to rely on exceptional sight. It is a skill that can be taught, trained, and improved.

How to Train Reading in Volleyball

To help your athletes develop their reading skills, here are some techniques recommended by Karch Kiraly:

Baseline versus Hinky Movements

One of the first steps in training reading is to understand the difference between baseline and hinky movements or patterns. Baseline refers to traditional and expected movements in volleyball, while hinky refers to non-traditional or deceptive movements. For example, a traditional three-step approach would be a baseline movement, while a higher elbow during an off-speed roll-shot would be a hinky movement. Physically demonstrating these movements can help expand your athletes’ visual encyclopedias.

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Time Slices

Comparing baseline and hinky movements through time slices can help you and your athletes recognize patterns in-game. Take two different images of the same skill, one showcasing a baseline movement and the other a hinky movement. Practice identifying the differences between the photos, such as posture, position to the ball, distance covered in approach, and height of the elbow before contact.

Slow Motion Video

Watching videos in slow motion provides more time to study how certain patterns, like attack routes or defensive systems, unfold. By analyzing these videos, you can gain a deeper understanding of the game and improve your reading abilities.

Video Freeze

Pause a video right before an action takes place, and try to predict what will happen next. For example, pause a video right before a setter sets the ball and guess where the ball will be set based on posture, location on the court, and footwork. This exercise can be done with your athletes, encouraging them to participate in the analysis.

Gameplay Teaches Best

While training methods are important, there is no substitute for reading the game in live gameplay, whether it’s during a match or practice. By providing plenty of opportunities for your athletes to watch and participate in real volleyball, they will have a chance to apply their reading skills in a dynamic and unpredictable environment.


Q: Can reading skills be developed at any age?
A: Absolutely! Reading skills can be developed and improved at any age. It’s never too late to start honing your reading abilities in volleyball.

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Q: How long does it take to become proficient in reading in volleyball?
A: The time it takes to become proficient in reading can vary from person to person. It depends on factors such as dedication, practice, and game experience. Consistent training and exposure to different game situations will accelerate the learning process.

Q: Can reading skills be transferred to other sports?
A: While reading in volleyball is specific to the sport, the concept of recognizing patterns and anticipating movements can be beneficial in other sports as well. Developing reading skills in volleyball can have a positive impact on overall sports intelligence.


Reading is a crucial skill in volleyball that can give players a competitive edge. By training and improving your reading abilities, you can anticipate and respond more effectively to the game. Remember to incorporate the recommended techniques, such as understanding baseline versus hinky movements, analyzing time slices, watching slow-motion videos, and engaging in live gameplay. With practice and persistence, you and your athletes can become expert readers of the game, elevating your performance on the volleyball court.

For more information and resources on volleyball and enhancing your reading skills, visit Alpinetgheep.