Synopsis: This drill forces players to pass under pressure and when fatigued. It has a conditioning element and is good for working on mental toughness.

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

Requirements: A court, half a dozen balls, 6+ players.

Execution: Three players start in passing zones on the court, with three players at the net as their targets. A coach standing at about mid-court on the other side of the net serves to the first player, who passes the ball, then sprints to the end line, and back into position to receive another serve. Meanwhile, the coach serves the ball to the 2nd, then 3rd players, who do the same thing. Then it’s back to the first player once more. Each player must make 10 good passes to their designated target, that player keeping count. When a player finishes the drill they go out and their target enters, with another player taking over as target. Go through until all players have completed the drill.



  • For beginning players the coach can do an underhand free ball as the serve.
  • If there are sufficient numbers, players can be used as servers rather than a coach.
  • The more advanced or athletic the group, the further back you can make them run after their pass, if space permits.
  • The number of successful passes can be adjusted for the skill level of the players.
  • You can use a single target rather than three for the sake of location consistency and ball circulation, but you would likely still want one player assigned to each passer for the sake of keeping count.

Additional Comments:

  • Make sure the pace of the drill is such that players don’t have to stand around in the court waiting to pass a ball for very long after they’ve done their run. Good ball circulation and feeding of the coach is part of that. So too is serving on rhythm rather than waiting for each player to get reset. This will force them to hustle back.
  • You will want to make sure players are sprinting and not just jogging, which make require introducing some kind of penalty, such as deducting from their tally or making them go back to zero.
  • There is no excuse in this drill for letting balls drop.
  • This is not a drill I would use very often as it isn’t particularly game-like. If I use it, my focus is more on the mental side of things (see who pushes themselves, who gives up). See my post Favorite drills/games to practice serve receive for stuff I prefer to actually work on passing.

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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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