Synopsis: This is a small-sided game designed to encourage players to hit deep in the court.

Age/Skill Level: This is an exercise for intermediate to advanced levels.

Requirements: 2 teams of 4, one court

Execution: Teams set up with 1 blocker and 3 defenders. Three total players can be front row attackers. Play is normal, but only deep kills earn points. Kills that don’t go deep are hitting errors, giving a point to the other team. Free balls (including overpasses) are not attacks, so if they land they count as points. All other scoring is as normal.


  • You can have teams of 3-5, with no more than 2 blockers
  • Players can have fixed positions or rotate
  • You can consider setter dumps as either normal attacks or more like free balls, possibly depending on the type of attack.
  • You could change the scoring from normal rally scoring to earned points only (kills, blocks, aces). In that case, the rally winner serves the next ball.
  • If you want to raise the tempo (e.g. for added conditioning), you can change rally initiation from serves to coach initiations.

Additional Comments:

  • This can be a particularly useful game when you don’t have many players and/or be in a situation where putting hitters against a full block is a challenge, but you still want hitting to be pretty game-like.
  • You can define deep based on your group of players, with probably 2m/6′ a good starting point.
  • Balls hitting off the block that land in the shorter part of the court should generally be kills, unless you feel the attack was not one that would have gone deep without the block.

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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.

    1 Response to "Game: Kill it Deep"

    • RNN

      Keep pumping those ideas out and a short video would be fantastic

Please share your own ideas and opinions.