facebook_pixel

Archive for Volleyball Drills

Drill: 2-sided Serve & Pass

Synopsis: This is a good drill to get a lot of people involved in serving and passing on one court. Excellent for larger squads and/or try-out situations.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for intermediate to advanced players

Requirements: 12+ players, a handful of balls, a full court

Execution: This is an extension of a simple servers and passers drills where three passes and a target are on one side (perhaps with some players waiting to come on) and servers are on the other side. In this case, set up three passers and a target on each side and have servers and waiting passers on both ends. You can go for time or some target number of passes.

Variations:

  • This drill can be static with servers and passers staying, or you can create a butterfly type of system where the servers become passers, passers move to target, and the target takes the ball to become a passer.
  • If you want to work your setter(s) you could create a setting target in either the OH or RS position who rotates on each ball with the setter staying in place.
  • If you use a passing system with more or fewer than 3 passers, you can use that number in the drill to give the passers practice working in that system.

Additional Comments:

  • Consecutive missed serves can really slow this drill down so it is worth considering a punishment for serves missed in a row.
  • Servers who miss should be required to go get their ball and return to the serving line.
  • To move the drill along as quickly as possible, have the servers go as soon as the new passer is in on the other side rather than waiting to alternate with the servers on the other side.

Drill: 2-Player Set & Touch

Synopsis: You can use this drill to do both ball-handling and volleyball movement work, and it’s also very suitable for warm-ups.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for intermediate to advanced players

Requirements: Two players, one ball

Execution: As the video below shows (may take time to load), this is a setting based drill. Two players begin about 2 meters apart. The first partner sets the ball to the other player, runs up and touches them, then retreats back to their position. The second partner first sets the ball up to themselves to give their partner time to do the movement, then sets the ball back to them and runs up for the touch themselves. Run for a set number of reps.

Variations:

  • You may be able to run this using forearm passes rather than sets, but it would be more challenging.
  • If you want more movement training or to incorporate this drill into a conditioning routine you can run it for a set amount of time rather than just repetitions.

Additional Comments:

  • This drill is part of the Long Beach State warm-up routine.
  • Make particular note of the footwork involved. It is two running steps forward followed by a turn, cross-over retreat. No backpedaling.

Drill: 8-Person Serve & Pass

Synopsis: If you have a large group of players, this drill can have all of them involved for work on serving and ball control skills. It has much in common with the Serving-Passing-Setting Quads drill.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for all levels.

Requirements: 8-12, players, a court, 4 ball carts, lots of balls

Execution: Put two passers and two servers on both sides of the net, along with a setter and a target for the setter. In the initial phase the server serves to the passer across from them. The pass goes to the setter, who then sets to the target (in either the OH or RS position). This means all four servers are going at the same time. After a given number of serves the server switches with the passer in front of them on their own side and the drill continues. After that, the servers switch to serving to the passer diagonally across from them.

8-player-serve-pass

Variations:

  • Depending on the number of players you have and whether you want your setters passing, you could just have targets with ball carts in the Setting position (coaches, for example).
  • If you have 12 players the rotation could be from Server to Passer to Setter/Target to Server.
  • Rather than going for a set number of serves, you could go for a collective number of 3-passes or cumulative passing score.

Additional Comments:

  • This drill is run frequently by Long Beach State.
  • With a smaller group you can run this only in a half fashion (2 servers, 2 passers, etc.).
  • This drill really requires lots of balls and several ball carts to be run smoothly, so it isn’t suitable for teams with smaller equipment levels. This unless you can find an efficient ball rotation system which keeps the drill moving.

Drill: Serving-Passing-Setting Quads

Synopsis: This is a good drill to work on all skills short of attacking and can be used either to work on ball-handling or as a warm-up.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for all levels.

Requirements: Four players, two balls, a net.

Execution: Begin with a passer, a setter, and target on one side of the net and a server on the other side. The server and the target each start off with a ball. The server sends the ball over to the passer, who passes to the setter, who in turns sets the ball to the target. As soon as the first ball comes over the target tosses their ball to the server so they are ready to do the next repetition quickly. Continue until the passer reaches some defined number of good passes.

Variations:

  • For lower skill levels or to give shoulders a break, players can toss the ball over rather than serve.
  • In order to work different angles, the drill can be run on a diagonal rather than in a linear fashion. For example, instead of the server being in zone 1 and the passer in zone 5, the passer could be in zone 1..

Additional Comments:

  • If the initiation is done by an underhand toss with the ball allowed to roll off the fingers (USC called this bowling) it will imitate a topspin ball. If it comes from a 2-hand overhead toss it can be made to be like a hard, flat float serve. A simple underhand toss or underhand serve could imitate a freeball.
  • If the server serves from mid-court it can be a good way to warm up the shoulder while working on mechanics without having to also worry about power.
  • Having the two balls going is meant to keep the drill moving quickly as the idea is to maximize reps in minimal time, so make sure the players keep the tempo high.
  • Having the ball come over the net in a variety of ways (you could have the players go through several rotations varying up the initiation) helps the players learn to recognize and adapt to different types of balls, especially with the ball coming from over the net.

Drill: Second Ball Setting

Synopsis: This drill is largely focused on working on the libero taking the second ball rather than the setter, but also generally works on out-of-system setting. It can be a good volleyball warm-up drill as well.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for all levels.

Requirements: Two players, 1-2 coaches, a few balls, half a court

Execution: The drill sets up with one player in left back and one in right back. Position a coach at the net in the left front and right front positions. One coach starts the drill by hitting a ball to one of the defenders. The other defender steps in to take the second ball and sets in diagonally to the coach across from them (right back sets to left front, left back sets to right front). Continue for a set time or number of good reps.

Variations:

  • Use players rather than coaches as the hitters.
  • Use just one coach/hitter rather than two and change sides at some point.
  • Hitter(s) can attack from boxes over the net.
  • Rather than just working 2 players, rotate players on a dig/set sequence.
  • To work on your players setting either the OH or the RS attacker, you can change up the requirement that they only set diagonally the way they are coming into the ball and have them instead set the same side they are from (i.e. left back sets left front).

Additional Comments:

  • This is a drill I saw Wisconsin use during its pre-match warmup. I think I also saw it, or a variation, at either Long Beach State or UCLA training when I was there (perhaps both).
  • The main focus of this drill is to work on out-of-system sets by back row players, so it makes sense for the players in the drill to be operating from their primary defensive positions.
  • Note also that this drill is used a lot to work on the libero coming in to set the second ball if the setter has to play the first one. It assumes, however, that the libero is playing in left back (position 5). If that is not the case in your team (perhaps she’s playing middle back in 6), you can shift the drill such that it’s a middle back and right back variation.

Drill: Passing Triplets

Synopsis: This is a good drill to work on passing (and potentially serving) in a way with maximizes reps while having a game-like featuring in the ball coming over the net. It is also a good warm-up drill on multiple levels.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for all levels.

Requirements: Three players, two balls, a net.

Execution: Begin with a passer and target on one side of the net and a ball initiator on the other side. The initiator and the target each start off with a ball. The initiator sends the ball over to the passer, who passes to target. As soon as the first ball comes over the target tosses their ball to the initiator so they are ready to do the next repetition quickly. Continue until the passer reaches some defined number of good passes.

Variations:

  • The initiator can send the ball to the passer either by tossing or by serving.
  • In order to work different angles, the drill can be run on a diagonal rather than in a linear fashion. For example, instead of the initiator being in zone 1 and the passer in zone 5, the passer could be in zone 1.
  • If you have to use 4 players because of numbers you can add a player at the net as a second target with a ball. This could be quite useful for lower level players where there are more shanked passes, as it would allow the reps to continue while one of the targets chases down an errant ball.

Additional Comments:

  • If the initiation is done by an underhand toss with the ball allowed to roll off the fingers (USC called this bowling) it will imitate a topspin ball. If it comes from a 2-hand overhead toss it can be made to be like a hard, flat float serve. A simple underhand toss or underhand serve could imitate a freeball.
  • If the initiator serves from mid-court it can be a good way to warm up the shoulder while working on mechanics without having to also worry about power.
  • Having the two balls going is meant to keep the drill moving quickly as the idea is to maximize reps in minimal time, so make sure the players keep the tempo high.
  • Having the ball come over the net in a variety of ways (you could have the players go through several rotations varying up the initiation) helps the players learn to recognize and adapt to different types of balls, especially with the ball coming from over the net.

Drill: Dig and Set Back

Synopsis: This is a useful drill which focuses on both controlled digging and setting an out of system ball.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for intermediate to advanced players.

Requirements: Coach, 2+ players, balls, half court

Execution: Begin with a coach in either the OH or RS position at the net, in the diagonally opposite defensive position, and one more players waiting to come in behind. The coach hits a ball at the player, which that player digs to themselves and then sets back toward the coach. Continue for time or a number of good reps. (Saw this at USC)

Variations:

  • With two coaches this drill could be run in both diagonal directions on the same side of the court.
  • At advanced levels players could replace coaches.
  • If the players are sufficiently skilled the ball they set back could be hit by the coach to the next player in line to keep the drill continuous.
  • The coach(es) could hit from over the net on a box.

Additional Comments:

  • Along with being able to control the hit ball, this drill focuses on being able to put up a hittable ball to the hitter at the net diagonal from the digger. This is what you would want to see rather than the player trying to set the ball to the net in front of them (for example from zone 5 to the OH in zone 4) where the angle is extremely disadvantageous to the hitter.
  • This can be a good pre-match warm-up drill.

Drill: 3-Person Pepper (Over the Net)

Synopsis: This is fairly simple multi-player pepper drill which can be used for warm-ups and general ball-handling practice.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for all levels.

Requirements: Three players, one ball, a net.

Execution: Begin with 2 players on one side of the net, with one player at the net and one off, and 1 player on the other side. The single player toss the ball to the play off the net on the other side who passes it to their partner on the net. That player set the ball, then moves off the net, swapping positions with their partner. The passer hits a roll shot to the original tosser, then steps under the net to become their setter and the cycle continues.

Variations:

  • At lower levels the hitter can do a standing down ball, or even execute a set over the net rather than doing a jump and roll shot.
  • A tip can replace the roll shot if you want to work on that skill or perhaps work at a lower level (tipped balls generally going higher).
  • Advanced players can actually hit the ball at something approaching full power if they have sufficient control
  • Advanced players can be required to jump set
  • You can run this with 4 players, in which case players stay on their own side and the hitter and setter simply switch positions when the ball goes over rather than the setter ducking under the net.

Additional Comments:

  • This is obviously an extension of the 3-person in-line pepper drill, with the addition of the net giving it a more game-like aspect.
  • In the 4-person variation you basically have a co-operative version of small-court doubles play, so this drill could be used as a lead in to something like that, or in a similar fashion to something like the Hard Drill Game.

Drill: 3-Person Pepper (In-Line)

Synopsis: This is fairly simple multi-player pepper drill which can be used for warm-ups and general ball-handling practice. (Saw this one while watching the University of Rhode Island training)

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for all levels.

Requirements: Three players, one ball

Execution: Begin with 2 players on one sideline and 1 player on the other. One of the two players hits the ball to the 1 player, who digs it. The hitter sets the dug ball back to the digger, then runs around behind them. The digger hits the set ball to the other player, and the cycle continues.

Variations:

  • More than 3 players can be used with little problem
  • Advanced players can be required to jump set and/or jump hit

Additional Comments:

  • Having the hitter wait and set the dug ball rather than run around behind the digger right away slows the movement down, which will help less skilled player keep from chasing all over the place.
  • One of the coaching points of this drill is for the digger to play the ball only part way back to the hitter rather than all the way as is normally done in pepper. This is a more realistic approach since the player does not want to dig a ball in match play all the way back to the hitter, but somewhat short of that for the sake running a transition attack.