Published in 1999, Volleyball Drills for Champions is a collection of chapters authored by some of the more prominent US collegiate coaches (current and past). Each author (or in two cases, a pair of them) focuses on one particular subject area: Serving, Passing, Setting, Attacking, Blocking, Digging, and Drill Design.
Right at the beginning of the book is a handy guide listing all the drills included. The 2-page table includes the primary and secondary skill(s) covered by the drill. It also includes how many players it incorporates and how many balls it requires. This makes for a nice quick reference for a coach looking to develop a practice plan.
Each primary skill chapters averages 12 drills. The drill descriptions include a:
- Purpose describing the intention of the drill
- Procedure outlining the execution of the drill
- Key Points to help both the coach and player focus on desired outcomes
- Variations discussion to make the drill more or less challenging or focused
- Equipment Needed section listing the requirements for running the drill.
At the beginning of each section is a couple of pages worth of preliminary material. This is where you find the variation from different contributors. Some of the sections are technical while others are more philosophical. One of the short-comings of this arrangement is that where things get technical there are no visuals.
There are a few dated references in some of the discussions. This is understandable. The book was published before the introduction of rally score in US collegiate volleyball for more than deciding games. None of these references, though, have any real impact on the content of the text.
The bottom line is this is a drill book intended to act as a reference source. You will no doubt be familiar with some or many of the drills. That doesn’t devalue the book, though. My experience is that coaches forget about drills not used in a while. It’s nice to have a refresher for those times when you need to change things up or are working with a different caliber of team or player.
Along the same lines, the intros to each of the drill sections are quite useful. They are brief (as is the last section on designing drills), but act as reminders of the key coaching points for each skill. Some even provide a bit to think about in terms of how you approach a given facet of the game with your team. For example, will your focus be on aggressive serving or minimizing errors?
Overall, I’d say Volleyball Drills for Champions is a pretty good reference to have on your bookshelf.
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