Tag Archive for out of system

Game: Win 2 Out-of-System Rallies

Synopsis: This is a wash type of game which puts the focus on attacking in a setter-out or out-of-system situation. It can be very useful for getting pin hitters (or back row attackers) to make good decisions when not put in the best of attacking situations.

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

Requirements: 12+ players, full court

Execution: Initiate a setter-out ball (attack a ball at the setter, or otherwise require a non-setter to take the 2nd ball). Play out the rally. After the first ball, play is as normal. If the team receiving the initial ball wins the rally, they get a second ball in the same fashion. If they win both, they rotate. If they lose either the first or second ball, it’s a wash and the other team gets the setter-out ball. Play until one team rotates all the way around.

Variations:

  • You can keep a rally score tally going (each team gets a point for a rally won, regardless of who got the initial ball). If you set a score cap (like 25 points), then it will let you put a rough time limit on how long the game goes.
  • To encourage positive errors rather than negative ones, and hitter coverage, you can have a team rotate backwards if a pin hitter hits an out-of-system ball into the net or is stuff blocked.
  • Once a rotation is earned, you can either restart with a first ball to that team, or give the first ball to the other team.
  • As an alternative to initiating a setter-out ball, you could toss in a ball that is the first contact, and require a certain player (or position) to play the second contact off of it.

Additional Comments:

  • Be aware the players can be stuck in a rotation for a while in this game. In most cases it requires a team to win three straight rallies (stop the other team, then win two setter-out initations). This can be further exacerbated by having to reverse back on bad errors. You may want to consider doing rotation flips (1,4,2,5,3,6) rather than going sequentially as a result. Either that or have system to rotate players around to keep some (like MBs) from being in or out longer than desired.
  • This could be used in a small-sided game situation.

Game: 4 v 4 Out-of-System Winners

Synopsis: This is a variation on Winners 3s or 4s which narrows the attacking options. That should produced more rallies while getting in good work on defense against live hitters and out-of-system offense, among other things.

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

Requirements: 12+ players, full court

Execution: This game features 4 players on each side, two front row and two back row in a box type of formation. The two front row players are pin hitters, with the two back row players as wing defenders. The area within 6′ (2m) of the hitter’s line is declared out (so if the hitter is attacking in 4 then zones 1 and 2 are basically out of play. In other words, the hitter must attack middle or cross-court. The game is played like Winners in terms of having a winning side, rally initiation by a serve, etc.

Variations:

  • You can change up which areas of the court are out. If you exclude the middle of the court, then you make the hitters attack line or cross. If you exclude the cross court you force the hitters to attack middle or line.
  • You could eliminate the Winners element and just have the two sides playing each other with the sides rotating each time they send the ball over the net.
  • You can have positional specialization either by keeping players in fixed positions, or by left side players just playing on the left and right side players just playing on the right.
  • You can require that one of the back row players take the second ball.

Additional Comments:

Game: Scramble

Synopsis: This coach-initiated game is good for working on a variety of out-of-system type situations.

Age/Skill Level: This game is for all levels.

Requirements: 2 teams, full court, several balls

Execution: This is a coach-initiated game. Each rally begins with the coach playing a ball to one side. The rally goes on per usual from there. When the rally ends, a new ball is immediately initiated.

Variations:

  • Russ Rose at Penn State uses a variation in which he puts in 4 balls – with the ball going to either side – then has both sides rotate.
  • The balls can be initiated all to one side for some given period of time (30 seconds, 1 minute, etc.)
  • Score can be kept to make it a proper game that finishes with a specific objective being met.
  • This is suitable for small-sided play.

Additional Comments:

  • You can use this game to focus on certain aspects of the game that your players struggle with – balls off the court, balls in the net, etc.
  • To encourage full commitment to keeping the ball off the floor you can do something like adding time or extra balls if a team lets a ball drop without sufficient effort.
  • If you make the ball you initiate the first contact – meaning the players must get the ball over the net in only 2 contacts – you will have something akin to the Virus game.

Game: Virus

Synopsis: This is a game which encourages better out-of-system play and decision-making on one side, and good recognition of play development on the other side.

Age/Skill Level: This game is for all levels.

Requirements: 2 teams, full court, a few balls

Execution: This is a coach-initiated game. Rather than starting with the serve, the coach puts in a ball which represents either the first or second contact. The side receiving the ball then has the remaining contact(s) to get the ball over the net. Play is as normal from there.

Variations:

  • The ball can either be initiated to the winning team to make it similar to standard game conditions (and to benefit the rally winner), or balls can be initiated on an alternating basis if there’s an imbalance between the teams.
  • You can rotate when a team wins a rally after having lost previously (like siding out) or after a specified number of rally wins.
  • Bonus points can be incorporated.
  • This game is suitable for small-sided play.

Additional Comments:

  • If a variable number of contacts is to be allowed to the receiving team, the coach should yell that out when initiating the ball.
  • Only allowing teams a single contact will tend to work on good free ball and down ball execution (assuming a good initiation). Allowing two contacts can bring in attacked 3rd balls if the initiated ball does not require too much scramble/chase.
  • If you’re looking to encourage aggressiveness in the 3rd ball (get a swing or down ball rather than free ball) make sure failure of execution is not overly penal.
  • If you’re looking to discourage certain types of plays (free ball to the libero, for example), you can have a penalty.
  • Make sure to not just focus on the ball-receiving side and what they are doing with the third ball, but also on the other side in terms of their recognition of free ball, down ball, or attack and the appropriate defensive positioning.
  • By only rotating when a team is able to win a given number of rallies, you can focus most of the playing time on the weakest rotations.

Drill: Dig and Set Back

Synopsis: This is a useful drill which focuses on both controlled digging and setting an out of system ball.

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

Requirements: Coach, 2+ players, balls, half court

Execution: Begin with a coach in either the OH or RS position at the net, in the diagonally opposite defensive position, and one more players waiting to come in behind. The coach hits a ball at the player, which that player digs to themselves and then sets back toward the coach. Continue for time or a number of good reps. (Saw this at USC)

Variations:

  • With two coaches this drill could be run in both diagonal directions on the same side of the court.
  • At advanced levels players could replace coaches.
  • If the players are sufficiently skilled the ball they set back could be hit by the coach to the next player in line to keep the drill continuous.
  • The coach(es) could hit from over the net on a box.

Additional Comments:

  • Along with being able to control the hit ball, this drill focuses on being able to put up a hittable ball to the hitter at the net diagonal from the digger. This is what you would want to see rather than the player trying to set the ball to the net in front of them (for example from zone 5 to the OH in zone 4) where the angle is extremely disadvantageous to the hitter.
  • This can be a good pre-match warm-up drill.