What Should An Intermediate Player Be Able To Do ?
If you're intermediate, then a large number of the descriptions below describe you. Maybe not on one of those "bad" days, but on most days. And if you're weaker in one of these areas you're stronger in another (e.g., maybe you can't set real well, but you can hit, or maybe you can't hit real well but can set). The "numbers" below certainly are not cast in stone, but are meant to be illustrative.
- You pretty consistently get a decent pass to the setter. For example: Consider 4 of your passes to the setter. On 3 out of 4 passes you get a decent pass to the setter, one that the setter can get under and make a set. On 1 or so of those passes, it's a great pass (the setter doesn't have to move or hardly has to move). And on 1 or 2 of those passes, the setter has to move to get to the ball but can get to it. And, on about 1 out of 4 of those passes you miss-hit it (shank it off to the side or whatever). To get a little more specific, see the next two items.
- You can field some wicked serves. On "wicked" serves your "3 out of 4 decent passes to the setter" ratio goes out the window, but you can get 1 decent pass to the setter out of 4 wicked serves, and on 1 or 2 others you get the ball "up" enough so that your team can recover, and on 1 or 2 of the wicked serves you either miss-hit it entirely or your team is left scrambling to the point that the team is left very vulnerable.
- You can very consistently pass weak serves. On "cream-puff" serves your "good passes to the setter" ratio goes way up, and you get closer to having your passes land on the setter's forehead.
- You understand the general passing scheme. (see "About Us" and "Ten Commandments" pages for more discussion).
- You get your serves in. For example: If you're not a power server, you generally get 5 out of 6 serves in, and try to place some of them. If you're a power server, you get 3 out of 4 in, with 1 of those resulting in an ace.
- You can hit at least a little bit. If you're not a power hitter you at least get it over and can place some shots, and you get 4 out of 5 hits at least over the net and in. If you're a power hitter, you get 3 out of 4 shots in, but you may miss-hit some balls in your zeal to smash the ball (i.e., you hit it into the net or hit it 20 feet long), but one or more out of those 4 shots are not going to be returned by the opposition.
- You can either set really good or you are really trying very hard to set as good as you can. Great setters are hard to find. If you're not comfortable hand-setting you can do an ok job at bump-setting. You at least get the ball up and in the general direction of the hitter. You may not give great sets to impatient hitters who need a perfect set or else their timing is all thrown off, but you do generally give hittable sets to those hitters who (knowing you're not a perfect setter) hold back a little bit to see where the set is going to go.
- It's a plus if you can dig. You have a knack for getting the ball up and sacrificing your body and you can lay out for a ball. You hustle and get to balls that not everybody can get to. Everybody should hustle, though, especially in 4's or 3's.
- It's a plus if you can block. If there's enough net play where blocking is an asset, you're a plus for your team if you can get up and block. In 4's, 3's or 2's where the passing is still a little rough, there may not be a lot of net play. Not everybody can block. Some of us can't get high enough to bother, and some of us don't have the speed/reaction to effectively block. But, for games where everything else is clicking and where a blocker is matched up against a hitter, certainly blocking is a very helpful skill.
- Other plusses. It's a plus if you have some knowledge of more advanced topics such as offensive schemes, blocking schemes, calling where to hit the ball, etc.