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.


  • 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.
John Forman
About the Author: John Forman
John currently coaches for an NCAA Division II women's team. This follows a stint as head coach for a women's professional team in Sweden. Prior to that he was the head coach for the University of Exeter Volleyball Club BUCS teams (roughly the UK version of the NCAA) while working toward a PhD. He previously coached in Division I of NCAA Women's Volleyball in the US, with additional experience at the Juniors club level, both coaching and managing, among numerous other volleyball adventures. Learn more on his bio page.

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