Drill: Run Serve Receive

Synopsis: This drill forces players to pass under pressure and when fatigued. It has a conditioning element and is good for working on mental toughness.

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

Requirements: A court, half a dozen balls, 6+ players.

Execution: Three players start in passing zones on the court, with three players at the net as their targets. A coach standing at about mid-court on the other side of the net serves to the first player, who passes the ball, then sprints to the end line, and back into position to receive another serve. Meanwhile, the coach serves the ball to the 2nd, then 3rd players, who do the same thing. Then it’s back to the first player once more. Each player must make 10 good passes to their designated target, that player keeping count. When a player finishes the drill they go out and their target enters, with another player taking over as target. Go through until all players have completed the drill.

run-serve-receive

Variations:

  • For beginning players the coach can do an underhand free ball as the serve.
  • If there are sufficient numbers, players can be used as servers rather than a coach.
  • The more advanced or athletic the group, the further back you can make them run after their pass, if space permits.
  • The number of successful passes can be adjusted for the skill level of the players.
  • You can use a single target rather than three for the sake of location consistency and ball circulation, but you would likely still want one player assigned to each passer for the sake of keeping count.

Additional Comments:

  • Make sure the pace of the drill is such that players don’t have to stand around in the court waiting to pass a ball for very long after they’ve done their run. Good ball circulation and feeding of the coach is part of that. So too is serving on rhythm rather than waiting for each player to get reset. This will force them to hustle back.
  • You will want to make sure players are sprinting and not just jogging, which make require introducing some kind of penalty, such as deducting from their tally or making them go back to zero.
  • There is no excuse in this drill for letting balls drop.
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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