Game: Hitter vs Hitter Challenge

Synopsis: This is a good game to help assess hitters in a ranking fashion while also encouraging competition intra-squad.

Age/Skill Level: This game is probably best suitable for intermediate to advanced groups.

Requirements: Two teams, full court, 1 ball

Execution: Identify two hitters to go against each other and set a fixed rotation line-up for each team which matches – for example, setter up on both sides. The only way points can be scored is if the designated hitters are part of the play. In other words, to score they must get a kill or a block, and they will concede a point on an error. Plays by others will only suffice to win/lose a rally, not a point. Thus, if a non-featured hitter gets a kill, their team wins the rally, but it is a wash in terms of points. Rather than earning the right to serve by winning a rally, however, the team earns the right to receive serve. In other words, the losing team serves, not the winning team. Play to a determined number of points.

Variations:

  • The primary types of hitter match-ups would be OH vs. RS/OPP and MB vs. MB so the hitters are blocking against each other. One could also do a variation which sets backrow attackers in opposition.
  • You could potentially add in bonus points if you want to encourage actions or behaviors in the focal hitters.
  • This could be used just as easily for small-sided games.

Additional Comments:

  • The advantage to using this sort of assessment exercise rather than some kind of hitting line situation is that it puts the players in game situations rather than in some kind of rigid structure. That will allow you to better judge how they will be in games, and also their influence on the team overall. For example, there may be a hitter who doesn’t get a great many kills, but is a massive positive influence on their team that they end up winning anyway.
  • Ideally, you’ll want to try to make the opposing teams as closely balanced as possible for a fair judgement. You can also have the hitters flip teams to that end.
  • Having consequences for losing (for the whole team, not just the hitter) may help to encourage competition and keep the supporting players motivated and focused.
  • Depending on how many players you have and what you need to do, this might be a game you can use in a try-out situation.
  • I saw this game used by CSU San Marcos.
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.