Synopsis: This is a good drill to work on passing (and potentially serving) in a way with maximizes reps while having a game-like featuring in the ball coming over the net. It is also a good warm-up drill on multiple levels.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for all levels.

Requirements: Three players, two balls, a net.

Execution: Begin with a passer and target on one side of the net and a ball initiator on the other side. The initiator and the target each start off with a ball. The initiator sends the ball over to the passer, who passes to target. As soon as the first ball comes over the target tosses their ball to the initiator so they are ready to do the next repetition quickly. Continue until the passer reaches some defined number of good passes.


  • The initiator can send the ball to the passer either by tossing or by serving.
  • In order to work different angles, the drill can be run on a diagonal rather than in a linear fashion. For example, instead of the initiator being in zone 1 and the passer in zone 5, the passer could be in zone 1.
  • If you have to use 4 players because of numbers you can add a player at the net as a second target with a ball. This could be quite useful for lower level players where there are more shanked passes, as it would allow the reps to continue while one of the targets chases down an errant ball.

Additional Comments:

  • If the initiation is done by an underhand toss with the ball allowed to roll off the fingers (USC called this bowling) it will imitate a topspin ball. If it comes from a 2-hand overhead toss it can be made to be like a hard, flat float serve. A simple underhand toss or underhand serve could imitate a freeball.
  • If the initiator serves from mid-court it can be a good way to warm up the shoulder while working on mechanics without having to also worry about power.
  • Having the two balls going is meant to keep the drill moving quickly as the idea is to maximize reps in minimal time, so make sure the players keep the tempo high.
  • Having the ball come over the net in a variety of ways (you could have the players go through several rotations varying up the initiation) helps the players learn to recognize and adapt to different types of balls, especially with the ball coming from over the net.

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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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