Synopsis: This is drill which can be used to put hitters into a competitive situation for the purposes of assessment..

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

Requirements: 7 players, 1 ball, full court

Execution: Place three back row players (including a setter) and a blocker on one side, and a setter, a defender, and an Outside Hitter on the other side as per the diagram below. The 4-player side serves every ball to either the defender or OH. The teams then play through a rally. On the receiving side the OH must attack every ball (if possible). On the serving side, only back row attacks are permitted. Play out 10 rallies and keep track of how many times the OH’s team wins.

OH tourney volleyball drill


  • You can run a similar drill with right side hitters, or even back row attackers.
  • Since the serve is only going to the D or OH on the receiving side, you can have the Setter start in any zone to work on movement to target.
  • The setter on the serving side could also be the Blocker, allowing for the insertion of a third defender in the back row..
  • You could potentially alternate OHs on a rotation rather than having one player go through 10 straight reps.

Additional Comments:

  • This drill was described by USA National Team setter Courtney Thompson in a seminar at the 2013 American Volleyball Coaches Association annual convention.
  • For the most fair assessment of hitters, have them work against the same defensive group and have the same setter and defender on their side. That doesn’t prevent you mixing things up and running the drill for multiple cycles.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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