Pepper is something commonly seen in volleyball. In it’s most simple form – and the one people likely think of first – it’s two people playing the ball back and forth to each other in a pass-set-hit sequence. Generally, that doesn’t involve a net. There are any number of variations from there. You can search YouTube and find dozens of examples.

Over-the-Net Pepper, as the name implies, simply includes the net. One of the more common forms is probably the 3-person. It’s basically a follow-your-ball. There’s also a 4-person version you can see in this video starting at about 2:25.

Go to 2:25 for 4-person over-the-net pepper

There’s even a 2-person version, often called something like 2 v 0 Pepper, if you really want to challenge the players. And you can go right up to 6 v 6 pepper. We had a Team Pepper when I coached at Radford that was one variation of this concept.

The basic principle of over-the-net pepper, not matter the number of players, is that you’re doing cooperative pass-set-attack with the 3rd ball going over the net. It is superior to the more standard net-less versions because every aspect of it is much more game-like. That’s why it can be such a great warm-up activity. Just move from standing to easy jumps to full jumps for the 3rd contact to gradually progress the intensity (and control demand).

Here are links to some other pepper variations.

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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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