Synopsis: This is a fast-paced, small-side game based on a Winners model, but with a major wrinkled that creates lots of movement and encourages player communication and problem-solving.
Age/Skill Level: This is a game for all levels
Requirements: 6+ players, full court
Execution: Play starts with 2 players on the “winners” side and two on the “challengers” side. One of the challengers serves to start the rally. The winners team has three contacts to attack the ball at the challengers, but the attack must come from the “challengers” side of the court. That means they must play either the first or second ball over the net so it can then be played for a final contact back to their starting side. Meanwhile, the challengers run over to the winners side to defend. When the winners play the ball back into the winners side of the court, they then have to do the same process (play the ball back to the challenge side and attack from there). So the ball is always attacked (or otherwise played over on a final contact) from the challenge side after first being received/dug on the winners side.
Whoever wins the rally becomes/stays the winners. The losing team rotates out and a new pair of challengers begin a new rally. A team earns a point by winning a rally when they started on the winners side. Play to a predetermined number of points.
Here’s some video of what it looks like in action. I recorded this in May 2017 during the training camp for the Australian Men’s National Team.
- If you don’t want to score the game you can play for time.
- You can play with teams of 3. More than that would probably be too many people moving back and forth on the court, though.
- If you don’t have the right player count to make fixed teams you can have each player keep individual score.
- You can have the players stay on the ground (at least to start) if you want to use this game as a warm-up, as was done in the video.
- You can require the teams to use all three contacts, or make them only use two.
- For younger or less-experienced players you can require certain types of ball contacts. For example, the third contact must be a down ball.
- This game was introduced by Stefan Hübner, head coach of German Bundesliga club SVG Lüneburg.
- At the end of the video you’ll see legendary coach Andrea Anastasi enter the frame.