Tag Archive for intermediate

Drill: 7-in-7 Hitting

Synopsis: This a good drill to get hitters focused on getting in good, consistent swings. It’s particularly useful to temper the aggression of some hitters (think male teams constantly hitting the top of the net rather than swinging high for deep shots), but also helps develop a “get it in” swing for those times when a hitting error should be avoided.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for intermediate to advanced players.

Requirements: At least half a court and one ball per player

Execution: The primary framework is a standard outside hitting line. The objective of the hitters is to reach 7 minutes of time elapsed before 7 hitting errors occur. If they fail they have to start over.

Variations:

  • Balls hitting the top of the net can be counted as errors.
  • In case where a team is struggling to complete the drill, to avoid it going on forever you can put a fixed time limit (or number of attempts) and have punishment for failure to get done.
  • The hitting can be done from locations other than OH if you want to work on different types of attacks.
  • Rather than players tossing to the setter, balls can be initiated requiring them to pass or dig, then transition and attack. This will tend to slow things down, and lower the attack frequency, but will be more game-like and will force the players to deal with variability in the sets from a setter required to move around.
  • For advanced teams a target zone could be introduced.

Additional Comments:

  • Make sure the hitters are taking legitimate swings and not just hitting the equivalent of roll shots. The idea is to work on consistent swings, not giving away free balls.

Game: Newcomb

Synopsis: This is a great way to introduce the basics of volleyball play to new players and can be very useful in working with teams on positioning and movement.

Age/Skill Level: This game is suitable for beginners and lower to intermediate level teams.

Requirements: Court, two teams of players. This game does not require a proper net, just a rope or something else strung at an appropriate height.

Execution: This is volleyball played with throwing and catching. There are (or have been) some rules specific to the official game of Newcomb, but the primary ones are balls must be caught (not hit, blocked, patted, etc.), no steps are permitted by the ball-holder, there is a 3-second holding limit, and throws must be made from the ground.

Variations:

  • For more advanced groups things like throwing from in the air (alley-oop style) and blocking may be permitted.
  • For developing groups a mixture of Newcomb and proper volleyball contacts may be allowed.

Additional Comments:

  • The game can be used to work teams on movement and positioning for things like offensive and defensive transitions.
  • If played competitively, this game can also get players thinking about finding open areas on the court in advance of working on skills like setter dumps, tips, roll shots, etc.
  • Played at a sufficiently high level, this could be a good warm-up.

Drill: Run & Serve

Synopsis: Run & Serve is a drill which works on serving after a rally, when tired, and under pressure – with a strong conditioning element.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill which can be used with all age groups and skill levels.

Requirements: A full court, two coaches/managers, and one ball per player

Execution: Have each player get a ball, then split up and position themselves half spread out across each end line. Each player should place their ball on the floor at the end line in front of them. On the coach’s signal (“Go!”, whistle, etc.) the player sprint all the way around the court and back to their ball. They then each serve their ball. The coaches (one on each side) will yell out whether a serve is good or not. If anyone misses their serve, reset the drill and go again. Repeat until all players get their serve in at the same time.

Variations:

  • Adapt to your team’s level of play or developmental goals by setting specific targets such as Zone 1, below the top of the antennae, into the last 2 meters of the court, etc.
  • If you don’t have room to run around the court you can do on-court sprints
  • Other exercises such as push-ups, crunches, block jumps, etc. can be used in lieu of running.
  • You can mix up running and other activities if the team is struggling to complete the drill.
  • If the team is REALLY struggling and/or you are running out of time you can allow one side to finish by getting all their serves in, leaving the other side to carry on until they can do so as well.

Additional Comments:

  • If running around the court, alternate the direction (clockwise, counter-clockwise) so as to balance out the strain on ankles, etc.
  • If doing sprints to the net – such as a sequence like to the net and back, to the 3 meter and back, have one side to the sequence in reverse so both side are not running at the net at the same time to avoid and potential for contact injuries (turned ankles, etc.).
  • Make sure players aren’t rushing their serves. Part of the focus here is to get them to settle, go through their preparation, and execute as they would in a match.
  • This can be a very variable length drill, so make sure you account for that when putting it into your training plan.

Drill: Continuous Cross-Court Digging

Synopsis: Continuous cross-court digging is a high-intensity drill which builds mental toughness while working on individual digging and fitness.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill which can be used with all age groups and skill levels.

Requirements: Three players in the drill, two coaches, 6 or more players to collect balls and feed, lots of balls

Execution: Begin with one player in defense for position 5, and two players queued up behind. A coach positioned on a box or chair in position 4 on the other side of the net hits a cross-court ball at the player which they have to dig to target. The player then sprints across the court to defensive position where they dig a ball from a coach on a box in position 2 on the other side of the net. At the same time, the second player in line in position 5 steps in and digs a ball from the coach in position 4. The players continue going from back and forth digging in positions 1 and 4 until they collectively reach a predetermined objective of X number of good digs.

Continuous Cross-Court Digging

Variations:

  • If there are no boxes, tables, chairs, etc. for the coaches to hit from, they could stand on the same side of the net as the players.
  • Depending on the skill level of your team you could only count digs to Target 1 (a 3-pass), or you can accept digs to Target 2 off the net near the 3 meter (a 2-pass).
  • To work on keeping digs on their side of the net, a -1 can be applied to the count if there’s an overpass (but don’t go negative).
  • To get players focused on digging with proper technique and being prepared, you can do a -1 for single-arm digs.
  • The temptation may be to go with more than 3 players in the drill, but that will likely prove challenging because of the players getting tangled up moving back and forth. Even with 3 players the players are often dodging each other on the cross-over.

Additional Comments:

  • Keeping the tempo high is a key to this drill, which means the players collecting and feeding balls must be highly efficient or you need to have sufficient balls to overcome this deficit.
  • Make sure players crossing the court do so away from the net rather than toward it. Otherwise they are at risk of taking a ball in the head.
  • Do not let the players give more than 100% effort. If a ball drops with no attempt to play it they go back to 0.
  • Don’t alter the rhythm of the hitting once you get going. That will force the players to continue moving rapidly and not slow their pace.
  • Make sure the players are going all the way to the sideline and not stopping well inside the court, especially as they get tired. You can do this by aiming your hits to land near the sideline, which will keep them honest.
  • Talk to the players throughout the drill. Remind them to get to the right spot, to move quickly, and to use good technique. Encourage them throughout, and make sure the rest of the team does so as well.
  • Encourage players of similar skill to go together so you can adapt the tempo and aggressiveness of your hits to be able to challenge all players at a level suitable to their development.

Game: Bingo-Bango-Bongo

Synopsis: Bingo-Bango-Bongo is a 6 vs. 6 transition oriented game which gets players focused on scoring points in a row using a little point/big point type of structure.

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

Requirements: Two teams of 6, two coaches/players, half a dozen balls.

Execution: Start with two teams of 6 on the court and one coach (or spare player) on the sideline on either side of the net with balls. One coach initiates a free ball across the net and the teams play through a rally. When that rally finishes, the other coach initiates a free ball in the opposite direction. The coaches then continue to alternate.

When a team wins a rally they get Bingo. If they win a second rally after that, it’s Bango. A third rally win in a row produces Bongo. At that point the team with Bongo serves for a point. If they win the service rally they get a point and the teams rotate. If not, the cycle begins again fresh with a free ball to the serving team.

Note, when one team wins a Bingo, the other team resets back to nothing.

Variations:

  • In order to give middle blockers a break, you can flip the teams back to front rather than rotating when a big point is scored. I often do something like 1-4-2-5-3-6.
  • You can rotate/flip both sides on a big point, or just the winning side if you want to maximize time working on weaker rotations.
  • For lower skilled teams (or when you want to move things along more quickly) you can do Bingo-Bango and have Bongo be the big point. In other words, the serve for point would happen after just two rally wins in a row rather than three.
  • This could be done with smaller groups, like 4v4, in a smaller space.

Additional Comments:

  • The coaches should initiate balls as quickly as is safe to do so to keep the tempo high. This forces the players to maintain focus and adds a conditioning element.
  • Any players not involved in the game should be alert to keep balls out of the way so things can move quickly – and no one risks injury.
  • Since this is a free ball initiated game, it offers opportunity to wok on specific free ball plays for teams having advanced offenses.
  • Coach should make sure the team not receiving the free ball is quickly getting to defensive base as the ball is being initiated.
  • While playing the game with smaller groups like 4v4 would limit the ability to working on full-team free ball offense, there would still be the opportunity to work on elements of it. For example, the setter and middle hitter could work on first tempo balls.

Drill: The Belly Drill

Synopsis: The Belly Drill is a game-play based volleyball drill which develops scrappy play and commitment to keeping the ball off the floor. It also challenges players to problem solve in the manner of “How can we get out of this drill?”

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill which can be used with all age groups and skill levels.

Requirements: A full court, enough players to be divided into 3 groups, and a supply of balls

Execution: Start by dividing your squad into teams of 3. Two teams start on the court, one on each side of the net, with the remainder waiting on the side. One of the teams starts the drill on their stomachs. Slap the ball, which is the signal for the team on the floor to get up. Then initiate the ball to that team and let the two teams play through a rally. Whichever team loses the rally goes to the floor while the winners are replaced by a waiting group.

Variations:

  • Use different ways of initiating the ball to adapt to the level of your team and what you want to work on. For example, you can initiate balls very quickly after the slap and/or use hard driven balls or tips and tosses to open court areas to challenge a more advanced group while you can go slower and use underhand lobbed balls for a less advanced or younger group.
  • The standard set-up is to use 3 players on a full court, but that can be adjusted. Additional players can be added for lower level groups. Working with a smaller court is also an option, either for lower level teams or to increase the length of rallies (and thereby touches).
  • You can set contact rules such as each player much touch the ball once to encourage communication and anticipation, or only allowing two contacts to work on scramble play.
  • You can run the drill for a fixed amount of time, until you think the players are too tired to carry on, or until some goal is reached (X number of kills, for example).

Additional Comments:

  • The question often comes up “Why not have the winners stay on rather than the losers?” The replay is generally quite obvious once someone has gone through the drill, especially when one team gets stuck on the court and has to fight hard to win a rally to get out.
  • If you have sweaty players, have them go into the down position of a push-up rather than all the way down on their stomachs to avoid leaving slippery patches on the floor.
  • The players not on the court should be alert to stray balls, making sure they stay clear of players on the court.