The first thing you’ll need to determine is who is best equipped to handle the ball that’s on the way. The key factors in determining this are positioning and skill level.
- Positioning – Just because you are close to the ball does not mean you should be the one to play it. If there is more than one player near the ball, it helps to make an assessment of who is in better position to make a good play. If you’ve got your back to the court and will have to make a blind off-balance play on the ball, you may not be the best person to make the play. Make sure to take note of the other players position in relation to the ball. If your teammate is facing the court, has good position behind the ball and can make a better play, you should back off.
- Skill Level – You may have three passers in the serve receive formation, but there may be one passer that is the most consistent. If you know that this player has a better chance to pass a perfect ball and they have called it, you should let them take it when possible.
The same goes with an out of system set. If your best hitter can take a good swing from the back row while you’d have to take a step backwards to get a swing on the ball, the ball is better played by your teammate.
Also, don't be quick to take the second ball from a setter who is on the way and can make a good play. It is always better for your setter to deliver the ball to the hitters whenever possible, even by bump set. Take a quick assessment on every play and make a good choice as often as you can.
It is wise to know who the strongest passers, setters and hitters in each rotation are before the play starts and to know how much court they are comfortable taking so that you can make a better decision. Know your strengths and your weaknesses and play each ball accordingly.