Drill: 6+ Player Diagonal Over-the-Net Pepper

Synopsis: This team pepper variation is good for working on both defense and controlled attack across the net.

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

Requirements: 6+ players, balls, court

Execution: Place a setter on both sides of the net in target, along with players in positions 1 and 5 on both sides. Initiate a ball to one of the back row players to dig/pass to the setter, who then sets either one of the players on their side. That player hits a cross court standing attack (down ball) to the player in their same position (i.e. 1 to 1, 5 to 5). Play continues from there.

Variations:

  • If you have more than 6 players, the hitter/defenders can rotate by having the player who “attacks” the ball goes to the back of the court on the other side to eventually re-enter the drill there, with someone taking their vacated place.
  • Instead of hitting cross-court, players can hit line.
  • With more advanced players you can make it actual attacked balls, front or back row.
  • An additional defender could be added in 6, especially for less advanced teams to get more digs. If so, you can continue to have the players in 1 and 5 be the attackers, and have the player from 6 rotate in for the player who just hit the ball.

Additional Comments:

  • In order for this drill to work well, players must be relaxed executing a standing down ball. If they are not, there will be many, many errors.
  • Have balls on-hand to initiate them fresh quickly when a rally ends.
  • I saw this drill used in SC Potsdam training.
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.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.