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Volleyball Coaching Concept: Wash Drill

Basically, a wash drill in volleyball is one which forces a team to either do things in a row, or at least in bunches. If the team does so it earns a big point with the objective then being to accumulate some number of total points or to beat another team. If the team fails to reach the objective it is a wash and no point is given, or alternatively, the opposing team gets the point.

There are a few primary variations you’ll find in wash drills. They include

X before Y – One team has to get X number of points before the other team gets Y.

X out of Y – A team must get X number of points within Y number of attempts (or could be done on time).

X in a row – The team must score X number of “little points” in a row to get a big point – or at least the opportunity to get a big point.

There is also the variation of wash drills where achieving some objective doesn’t immediately give a team a point, but merely gives them an opportunity to earn a point. The bingo-bango-bongo game is a variation of this in that it uses an “X in a row” core approach, but requires the team to win a service rally to actually get the point.

Wash drills in volleyball can be used for any number of purposes. For example

  • An “X before Y” variation could be used to make for more competitive games between teams of unequal levels, such as starters vs. non-starters.
  • An “X out of Y” type of game could be employed to pit hitters against each other in an attack vs. defense drill or game.
  • A variation of “X in a row” could be used to focus on executing a skill or tactic, such as successfully running a quick attack.I

If there’s something you want to work on with your team there’s probably a way you can do it with a wash drill. The advantage of this approach is that it gets players and teams focusing on not just singular executions, which is the case with many skill development drills (think serve receive or hitting line drills), but instead on execution repetition. This, of course, is much more realistic in terms of what will be expected in games.

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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