Synopsis: This is a series of small-sided games that is a good warm-up exercise.

Age/Skill Level: This is an exercise for all levels.

Requirements: 2 teams of 3, one court, multiple balls

Execution: This is a progression of three mini games. In the first, the 3rd contacts are down balls. That moves to easy jump attacks in the 2nd game, then to full back row attacks in the third. A coach or player from the sideline initiates each rally. When a rally ends, the next ball comes in immediately to the winner. Each mini game goes to 8 points.


  • You can have teams of 4 with a front row setter (fixed or otherwise)
  • If you have excess players, you can sub them in on a rotation
  • Players can have fixed positions or rotate
  • You can initiate balls as free balls or down balls. If you have the coaches to serve, that’s an option too. You probably don’t want players serving, though, if this is used as a warm-up.
  • You can have a team’s score go back to zero for a ball hitting the floor with no effort

Additional Comments:

  • A particular coaching point can be the base-defense positioning and movement. To reinforce this, you could potentially give bonus points for setter dump type kills.
  • If you have a bunch of extra players, and can’t have them doing their own game on another court, you should probably make the games longer to ensure players each get sufficient touches.
  • You may find the To-1 game an interesting variation

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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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