What is a Tip in Volleyball? Secret Move to Beat Blockers

Tip in Volleyball

Tipping, a deceptive alternative to the powerful spike, can be a strategic game-changer in volleyball.

This strategy involves a light touch or dink to outsmart the opposition.

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But what exactly is a tip, and how can it benefit your game?

Key Takeaway: A tip in volleyball is a strategic move where a player lightly touches the ball over the net to an area difficult for the opponent to defend. This slow attack technique involves using either an open hand or knuckles to control the ball’s direction, often as a surprise element to the defense.

In this guide, I will discuss various types of tips, what makes them work, and how to get better at them.

I’ve also got some great drills for you to practice.

So, stay with me till the end, as we will unlock the potential of this clever technique together.

What is a Tip in Volleyball?

A tip in volleyball is a softer, more calculated attack, different from a hard spike. 

It’s not just a move for challenging situations.

Instead, it’s used on purpose to confuse the other team.

This strategic usage of tipping can improve team performance, contributing to point scoring and overall team morale.

It creates a dynamic that can shift the game’s momentum.

Regarding the frequency of tipping, it’s crucial to strike a balance.

A volleyball player trying to tip a ball
Photo by Morgan Crouse

Remember that over-reliance on tipping can make your play predictable, allowing opponents to adjust their defense.

The effectiveness of a tip comes from its unexpected nature, so blending it with various attacks, including powerful spikes, is vital.

Most importantly, the decision to tip should depend on the game situation, the opponent’s defense, and your team’s current strategy.

Each time you tip, it should be an intelligent part of how you’re trying to score, not just something you do repeatedly.

How to Tip in Volleyball? (Different Techniques)

Mastering different tipping techniques in volleyball combines skill, timing, and strategy. 

Each method has unique advantages and can turn the game in your favour when used correctly.

Let’s discuss these techniques and discover how to make the most of them in your game.

1) Tipping with an Open Hand

This technique is all about control and deception.

Start by making a standard approach as if you’re going for a powerful spike.

As you reach near the net, change your action instantly.

Instead of a hard hit, use the pads of your fingers to push the ball over gently.

It is perfect for placing the ball in hard-to-reach spots, especially when the opposing team expects a spike.

Remember to do a lot of practice to get good at hiding your plan until the very last second.

That’s the only way to master this tipping method.

A player tipping with an open hand
Photo by Chris Brooks

2) Tipping with Knuckles (Dink)

The dink, a smart alternative to the open-hand tipping technique, is particularly effective in beach volleyball.

Jump as you would for a spike and clench your hand into a tight fist.

Then, use the flat part of your knuckles instead of an open hand to hit the ball.

The force should be enough to carry the ball over but gentle enough to keep it unpredictable. 

This technique helps you control the ball’s direction more accurately.

It’s also more challenging for opponents to see, making it an intelligent move to surprise them.

The dink is particularly effective when you’re close to the net and need a quick, controlled touch to find gaps in the opponent’s defense.

Also, it is worth mentioning that according to beach volleyball rules, tipping the ball with an open hand is prohibited.

So, players often opt for knuckle tips instead.

A hand illustration showing dinking in volleyball

3) Power Tip

In a power tip, approach the net like you’re going to spike.

It sets up the expectation of a hard hit.

However, unlike a dink, which involves a subtle touch with the knuckles, a power tip requires a sudden shift in technique at the last moment. 

Instead of spiking, you use a swift, forceful wrist flick to send the ball over the net. 

This technique contrasts with dinking, focusing on a softer, more deceptive touch.

In short, the power tip effectively blends the aggression of a spike with the surprise element of a standard tip.

Elements of Effective Tipping

Understanding the core elements of effective tipping can significantly enhance your performance in volleyball. 

These parts of tipping make your plays more effective and harder for the other team to handle.

  • Deception: Getting good at tricking the other team, making it hard for opponents to predict a tip.
  • Accuracy: Being able to put the ball exactly where you want it. It means aiming for spots where the opposing team isn’t ready.
  • Timing: Choose the optimal moment for a tip, considering your team’s setup and the opponents’ positioning.
  • Variation: Use different tipping styles, like soft and power tips, to keep the defense uncertain and reactive. This variation in your play style makes it harder for opponents to predict your next move.

These elements will help make your tipping more strategic, giving you an edge in the game.

How to improve Tipping Skills?

Enhancing your tipping skills involves a combination of physical techniques and mental strategies. 

I have compiled some key points you can follow to improve your tipping or dinking skills and become more effective on the court.

1) Developing Anticipatory Skills

Imagine yourself in a volleyball game where your ability to judge the opponent’s actions gives you an extra advantage.

To enhance this skill, engage in drills that simulate real-game situations.

For instance, practice with a teammate who simulates various attack moves while you decide in real-time whether to block, dig, or tip.

This type of training sharpens your ability to quickly read the game and react, allowing you to place your tips successfully.

2) Enhancing Wrist Flexibility and Control

Think of your wrist as a precision tool.

Improving its flexibility and strength can significantly refine your tipping.

Regularly practice wrist exercises in your training that resemble the tipping motion.

It will help you gain the skill to place the ball exactly where you want it.

A volleyball spiking the ball harder by using his wrist

3) Tipping to Deep Court and Down the Middle

Picture the court as a chessboard and your tips as strategic moves.

Practice targeting your tips deep into the court and straight down the middle.

Focus areas that are often left less guarded.

This approach can catch the defense off-balance, opening up scoring opportunities.

4) Targeting the Opposition’s Blocker

Consider the blocker your target, not your obstacle.

Practice tipping techniques that challenge the blocker’s ability to react.

It could mean tipping over them or into spaces they struggle to cover.

Remember, it’s about outsmarting, not just overpowering.

As you work on these skills, be mindful of the rules, like avoiding lift or touching the net, which are common violations.

Understanding and sticking to these rules is as important as developing your skills.

Dinking Drills in Volleyball

Mastering dinking in volleyball is about practice and finding drills that work best for you.

Here, I’m sharing three drills that I’ve personally found effective.

However, it’s important to remember that different coaches might suggest various techniques.

The ultimate goal is to improve your tipping or dinking skills.

So feel free to explore and use what resembles your style and needs.

A) Solo Wall Drill

The steps for the solo wall drill are:

  1. Stand about 5-6 feet away from a wall.
  2. Use your knuckles to dink the ball towards the wall.
  3. Aim for consistent height and direction with each hit.
  4. As you improve, increase the distance or aim for specific spots on the wall.

B) Toss and Tip Drill:

This drill is engaging and works best with a partner or someone to assist you.

The steps are:

  1. Partner with someone who can toss the ball to you.
  2. As the ball approaches, practice dinking it over a net or into specific court areas.
  3. Focus on controlling the direction and distance of each dink.
  4. Alternate between using your knuckles and open hand.

C) Defensive Reaction Drill

The defensive reaction is my favorite drill to become a master at tipping in volleyball.

It involves some easy steps, which I have explained below:

  1. Have a partner or coach simulate defensive moves.
  2. As they move, try to dink the ball to areas they just vacated.
  3. This drill enhances your ability to assess and react to defensive setups quickly.
  4. Aim to keep the ball just out of reach of the simulated defense.

Final Words

As we wrap up, think of yourself growing stronger in your volleyball journey.

Learning to tip and dink well is like adding secret weapons to your game.

Imagine outsmarting your opponents, game after game, with your smart plays. 

With regular practice of these techniques and drills, you’ll see yourself becoming a more confident player.

Keep practicing, stay focused, and soon, you’ll be the player everyone watches out for on the court!

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