I came across the following question in a coaching group:

I’m trying to find some drills or mind-like games that promote better and quicker decision making while in a match?

This is actually a really easy one to answer. Put the players in specific game situations you want to work on, then play things out.

For example, want to work on out-of-system play? Then initiate the exercise with an attack at the setter and play things out.

Want to work on the Middle Blocker making good movements based on what’s happening on the other side of the net? Set up the play(s) you want the other side to run, then send the ball over by way of serve or attack to get things going.

Need your defenders to making better positioning decisions? Set up the offense on the other side to run the specific scenario(s) you’re interested in, then put the ball into play.

Want your setter to make better hitter-blocker match-up decisions? Keep mixing up the blockers on the other side of the net so they have to constantly reevaluate their play calls and set decisions.

Obviously, there may be a teaching element involved leading into setting up these scenarios. Most likely there are things you would like to see and/or would not like to see. The players need to know that. From there you put them in the appropriate game scenario that lets them work things through. Make sure there’s some kind of feedback mechanism in place so they understand if they’re making the correct decisions. Then just repeat.

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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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