Tag Archive for advanced

Drill: Get-2 Serve & Pass

Synopsis: This serving and passing drill can be quite useful for working with larger numbers of players to keep them moving while also getting the developmental focus on those who need it most.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for intermediate to advanced players

Requirements: 12 players, several balls, full court

Execution: Set up three passers on each side of the court, with a target at the net and servers on both ends (like 2-sided Serve & Pass drill). Rather than staying for a certain number of good passes or time or rotating on each repetition, though, passers stay in place until they get two good passes. At that point they move to target, target goes to serve, and a server moves into the passing group (if multiple servers, have the one who’s been there longest go to pass).

Variations:

  • You can use more or fewer passers than 3 as your system of play dictates.
  • You can increase the number of passes required to get out of passing.
  • If your passers are erratic, you can have two targets rather than one to allow for ball chasing to keep the drill moving more fluidly.
  • You can run this drill for time, for some total number of good passes, or for a certain number of good passes by some subset of players.

Additional Comments:

  • This drill has the advantage of keeping weaker passers in the passing rotation longer, giving them more reps.
  • The higher the number of good passes you require passers to get, the less frequent will be player rotation through the drill, and vice versa.
  • If the targets efficiently get the ball back to the servers on their side, the number of balls required to run the drill is only equal to the number of servers being used.
  • If you have several servers you can have multiple targets to allow for rapid-fire serving to keep things moving very quickly

Drill: 1-way Pepper

Synopsis: This pepper variation allows for consecutive execution of skills rather than a constant switching around through pass, set, and hit (saw this one run by USC)

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for intermediate to advanced players

Requirements: Two players, one ball

Execution: This is a variation on basic pass-set-hit pepper. Rather than one player hitting, the other digging, and the hitter then setting to restart the sequence, in this version the digger plays the ball up to themselves and then sets their partner to hit again.

Variations:

  • This should be done for some number of successful reps before the partners switch roles.
  • For more advanced players the requirement could be that the reps be consecutive, perhaps allowing for some scrambling so long as the ball doesn’t hit the floor.
  • Advanced players can be required to jump set and/or jump hit.

Additional Comments:

  • As with all pepper drills, this could be useful in warm-ups.
  • It is worth thinking about mixing up pepper variations to keep things fresh and/or to create more focus on certain skills.

Drill: 2-sided Serve & Pass

Synopsis: This is a good drill to get a lot of people involved in serving and passing on one court. Excellent for larger squads and/or try-out situations.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for intermediate to advanced players

Requirements: 12+ players, a handful of balls, a full court

Execution: This is an extension of a simple servers and passers drills where three passes and a target are on one side (perhaps with some players waiting to come on) and servers are on the other side. In this case, set up three passers and a target on each side and have servers and waiting passers on both ends. You can go for time or some target number of passes.

Variations:

  • This drill can be static with servers and passers staying, or you can create a butterfly type of system where the servers become passers, passers move to target, and the target takes the ball to become a passer.
  • If you want to work your setter(s) you could create a setting target in either the OH or RS position who rotates on each ball with the setter staying in place.
  • If you use a passing system with more or fewer than 3 passers, you can use that number in the drill to give the passers practice working in that system.

Additional Comments:

  • Consecutive missed serves can really slow this drill down so it is worth considering a punishment for serves missed in a row.
  • Servers who miss should be required to go get their ball and return to the serving line.
  • To move the drill along as quickly as possible, have the servers go as soon as the new passer is in on the other side rather than waiting to alternate with the servers on the other side.

Game: Hitter vs Hitter Challenge

Synopsis: This is a good game to help assess hitters in a ranking fashion while also encouraging competition intra-squad.

Age/Skill Level: This game is probably best suitable for intermediate to advanced groups.

Requirements: Two teams, full court, 1 ball

Execution: Identify two hitters to go against each other and set a fixed rotation line-up for each team which matches – for example, setter up on both sides. The only way points can be scored is if the designated hitters are part of the play. In other words, to score they must get a kill or a block, and they will concede a point on an error. Plays by others will only suffice to win/lose a rally, not a point. Thus, if a non-featured hitter gets a kill, their team wins the rally, but it is a wash in terms of points. Rather than earning the right to serve by winning a rally, however, the team earns the right to receive serve. In other words, the losing team serves, not the winning team. Play to a determined number of points.

Variations:

  • The primary types of hitter match-ups would be OH vs. RS/OPP and MB vs. MB so the hitters are blocking against each other. One could also do a variation which sets backrow attackers in opposition.
  • You could potentially add in bonus points if you want to encourage actions or behaviors in the focal hitters.
  • This could be used just as easily for small-sided games.

Additional Comments:

  • The advantage to using this sort of assessment exercise rather than some kind of hitting line situation is that it puts the players in game situations rather than in some kind of rigid structure. That will allow you to better judge how they will be in games, and also their influence on the team overall. For example, there may be a hitter who doesn’t get a great many kills, but is a massive positive influence on their team that they end up winning anyway.
  • Ideally, you’ll want to try to make the opposing teams as closely balanced as possible for a fair judgement. You can also have the hitters flip teams to that end.
  • Having consequences for losing (for the whole team, not just the hitter) may help to encourage competition and keep the supporting players motivated and focused.
  • Depending on how many players you have and what you need to do, this might be a game you can use in a try-out situation.
  • I saw this game used by CSU San Marcos.

Drill: 2-Player Set & Touch

Synopsis: You can use this drill to do both ball-handling and volleyball movement work, and it’s also very suitable for warm-ups.

Age/Skill Level: This is a drill for intermediate to advanced players

Requirements: Two players, one ball

Execution: As the video below shows (may take time to load), this is a setting based drill. Two players begin about 2 meters apart. The first partner sets the ball to the other player, runs up and touches them, then retreats back to their position. The second partner first sets the ball up to themselves to give their partner time to do the movement, then sets the ball back to them and runs up for the touch themselves. Run for a set number of reps.

Variations:

  • You may be able to run this using forearm passes rather than sets, but it would be more challenging.
  • If you want more movement training or to incorporate this drill into a conditioning routine you can run it for a set amount of time rather than just repetitions.

Additional Comments:

  • This drill is part of the Long Beach State warm-up routine.
  • Make particular note of the footwork involved. It is two running steps forward followed by a turn, cross-over retreat. No backpedaling.

Drill: 8-Person Serve & Pass

Synopsis: If you have a large group of players, this drill can have all of them involved for work on serving and ball control skills. It has much in common with the Serving-Passing-Setting Quads drill.

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

Requirements: 8-12, players, a court, 4 ball carts, lots of balls

Execution: Put two passers and two servers on both sides of the net, along with a setter and a target for the setter. In the initial phase the server serves to the passer across from them. The pass goes to the setter, who then sets to the target (in either the OH or RS position). This means all four servers are going at the same time. After a given number of serves the server switches with the passer in front of them on their own side and the drill continues. After that, the servers switch to serving to the passer diagonally across from them.

8-player-serve-pass

Variations:

  • Depending on the number of players you have and whether you want your setters passing, you could just have targets with ball carts in the Setting position (coaches, for example).
  • If you have 12 players the rotation could be from Server to Passer to Setter/Target to Server.
  • Rather than going for a set number of serves, you could go for a collective number of 3-passes or cumulative passing score.

Additional Comments:

  • This drill is run frequently by Long Beach State.
  • With a smaller group you can run this only in a half fashion (2 servers, 2 passers, etc.).
  • This drill really requires lots of balls and several ball carts to be run smoothly, so it isn’t suitable for teams with smaller equipment levels. This unless you can find an efficient ball rotation system which keeps the drill moving.

Game: High Ball to Receive

Synopsis: This game works on hitters being more aggressive in challenging the block, which also means a focus on good hitter coverage, with additional work on serve receive and free ball attacking.

Age/Skill Level: This game is suitable for intermediate to advanced teams.

Requirements: Two teams, full court, a couple balls

Execution: This game begins with a coach-initiated ball to one team. That team must then run an outside or right side attack off a high set (no quick or faster tempo sets allowed on this first ball – and the ball must be hit, not tipped or rolled). The rally is played out from there in normal fashion (any set is permitted after the first ball). The winner of that rally earns the advantage to receive first a served ball, then a free ball. A point is awarded to the team which wins each of those rallies (not just the receiving team). The next coach-initiated ball goes to the other team. Play 8 points before rotating.

Variations:

  • You could make this a wash game by forcing a team to win both the serve and free ball rallies (either just the receiving team or the either team).
  • To work on weak rotations you can require a team to get 8 points before rotating (or some number of big points under a wash system).
  • This could be used just as easily for small-sided games.

Additional Comments:

  • The idea behind the initial high ball attack is to get players to be aggressive about attacking the block (looking for seems, going high hands, etc.). As such, players should be required to take a legitimate swing at the ball and not permitted to tip, roll, or otherwise use an off-speed shot.
  • Encouraging the challenging of the block also puts a premium on hitter coverage.
  • I saw this game used by UCLA.

Drill: Serving-Passing-Setting Quads

Synopsis: This is a good drill to work on all skills short of attacking and can be used either to work on ball-handling or as a warm-up.

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

Requirements: Four players, two balls, a net.

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

Variations:

  • For lower skill levels or to give shoulders a break, players can toss the ball over rather than serve.
  • 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 server being in zone 1 and the passer in zone 5, the passer could be in zone 1..

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 server 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.

Game: 2 in 2

Synopsis: This is a simple, likely fast-moving, game which requires players to score in both serving and serve receive situations.

Age/Skill Level: This game is suitable for all levels.

Requirements: Two teams, full court, 2 balls

Execution: This is a standard serve-initiated game with alternating pairs of serves (Team A serves once, then Team B serves once) using a wash scoring system. A team must win both the service rally and the serve receive rally to score a point. If one team cannot win both rallies, no points are scored and the two serves are repeated. Teams rotate each time a point is scored.

Variations:

  • Depending on how long you want this game to go on, you could run it to a set point objective (15, 25, etc.), or just on a timed basis.
  • You can change the rotation rule to require a team to win a point before it can rotate (rather than both teams rotate together).
  • This could be used just as easily for small-sided games.

Additional Comments:

  • If you don’t count missed serves as rally wins for the receiving team you will encourage players to serve more aggressively. Just make sure the players don’t miss serves consecutively per the rules.
  • Requiring a team to score a big point to rotate would likely have the benefit of giving more reps to your weaker rotation(s).
  • This game was inspired by something I saw in Long Beach State training.
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