Speak up: The importance of vocal communication in volleyball

Volleyball is a unique sport in that it requires teammates to constantly communicate vocally with one another. While teams may have set plays, they still need to respond correctly to rapidly-changing in-game situations if they expect to win.

"Communication is one of the most crucial skills for members of a volleyball team to possess," according to Livestrong. "During matches, volleyball players must be able to convey important information to teammates, such as letting a teammate to know where you are, where a better-placed teammate is or where a gap in the defense may exist."

Coaches can encourage communication through practice drills. One activity could involve two groups playing against one another and forcing someone to speak every time the ball crosses the volleyball net. Coaches can keep score, penalizing teams when they are not vocal enough or when one or two players take all the responsibility for communication.

During the first practices of a season, this drill could be complicated, since teammates are not yet used to playing with one another. Coaches may see athletes shout out simultaneously, give out incorrect commands or not say anything at all, but as the players become accustomed to playing with each other, communication should flow naturally. Once players have mastered the ability to communicate and share the responsibility equally, coaches can move on to drills that more closely resemble game situations.

One such drill involves two teammates working together to spike the ball toward a particular part of the opponents' court. One teammate will toss the ball to a setter, who will then deliver the ball to the shooter and tell her where the ball should be spiked – left, middle or right. The duo earns a point if the shooter is able to spike the ball to the correct zone.

Coaches who run these types of drills and encourage players to use the best available volleyball equipment should be able to find success.