Orientation (See article 2) is perhaps the most critical part of the OODA Loop as it relates to “Reading the Game”. One important area that is not empathized enough on defense is the physical orientation of the set and players getting meaning from the set as it relates to defense both blocking and digging.
To help overcome this challenge I have created a fun verbal cue / acronym to help players understand the importance and how this should be the first thing they should look for when “reading the game” on defense.
I.T.S.S – It’s The Set Stupid!
As an attacker especially at high school and lower levels the set most often dictates where the attacker hits. This means defenders reading should start with the set when reading.
Set is inside – Most player hit angle
Set is tight – Most players hit line
Set is fast – This limits range and most players hit angle or seam
Set is too far in front of player – Most players tip
Below you can see how “Physical Orientation” is just one part of how we as human process information. I feel “I.T.S.S. – It’s the set stupid” should be a place most coach’s start when teaching players how to orientate their opponent’s actions on the court as it relates to defense.
* Additional note: Even advanced players generally only have two shots they perform 80-90% of the time in emergencies. When a bad set forces the attacker into these limited options players should mentally limit the attacker too only two options thus increasing their reaction time by taking advantage of “Hicks Law”.
** This same idea should also be used by indoor blockers on bad passing and evaluating where the setter sets.
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