Improving volleyball serves through motion tracking

[NICOLE RAY] So when you’re serving a volleyball from the ground, it’s really important to toss the ball out in front of you so that you’re stepping forward into your serve, giving the ball momentum to go over the net, reaching high so that you’re hitting the ball over the net and not into the net and rotating your hips. You start from sideways position, rotating forward, again gathering more momentum. So there are many different options for analyzing video data outside the lab. One specifically that we’re using for video tracking is Kinovea. And so, you can trace your position as you’re, say, serving a volleyball. And you can go back and review the film and see if you can correct your own performance and achieve the outcome that you want. A lot of volleyball players have shoulder injuries. And a lot of times, that happens when you are swinging for the ball and you drop your elbow. So if you keep your elbow nice and high, you reach high, everything looks great. As soon as you start swinging down to the side, that’s where you run into rotator cuff issues. You want to stay on your feet as much as possible, so it’s important to shuffle your feet keeping usually your dominant foot out in front, move to the ball, stay under it, and that way, you can lift it up and pass to your target. If there is no hope and you know you’re not going to get to the ball in time, then that’s when you dive. And you get as close to the ground as you can before you actually lay out on the ground.

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