This is from early in my second season coaching the University of Exeter women.
Priorities: Physically and mentally demanding session to quickly get players back into serious training mode after the try-out and selection process, start establishing team mentality
Training time: 1.5 hours
Space: 1 court
– – – The Plan – – –
Initial Warm-up: I had the team do a dynamic warm-up to start, knowing it was going to be a physical practice.
Ball-handling warm-up: I then had the players pair up and do a bit of passing and light pepper.
Serving warm-up: I had them partner up across the net. They started at about half-court just serving the ball back and forth with a focus on good mechanics. As they felt warm they backed up until they got to the point of doing full court serving.
Target serving: I had them do around-the-world serving where they had to get a good serve into each zone 1-6.
Serving and passing: I used the Get-2 passing drill as a fast-moving serve/pass exercise with a goal of 32 good passes. Overpasses were -1 and balls hitting the floor with no effort on them sent the count back to 0.
Position Hitting: In groups of 3 on both sides of the court, I had the players pass a free ball then hit, with the rest on ball collection and feeding duty. I then had the middles spend time running quicks. Using the small groups kept the tempo high for those in the drill, forcing them to do a lot of movement, transition, and jumping in a relatively short window of time.
Defense: To really push the players mentally and physically, I had them go through the Continuous Cross-Court Digging drill.
Team play: I finished up with Winners 4s
– – – Observations – – –
Although the group had already gone through the selection and try-out process, there was still the question of player commitment in some cases. Along with wanting to quickly get training at a high, demanding tempo and intensity to facilitate some needed conditioning work, I was looking to expose any potential commitment cracks. In other words, I wanted to encourage any who might be inclined to quit to do it now rather than in a couple of weeks.
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