I saw the following inquiry in a coaching group.

2 HR practice how much time do you spend on serve/serve receive?

This is a tricky question. Are we talking about about how many activities including serving and reception? Or are we talking just about exercises where serve and reception are the specific focus? Further, are we talking specifically about the skills of serving and receiving serve, or does this include working on the reception phase of the offense?

If you go to a professional team’s training you’ll see a huge amount of time spent in activities that start with a serve. It’s probably close to 90%. Obviously, different coaches do things differently. There is, though, a lot of focus on the serve receive phase of the game at that level. What I have often seen is something like a morning session (maybe 45 minutes) focused on individual skill development. For those players who pass, that is mainly about reception. The afternoon session (more like the 2 hour block mentioned) is then all about team.

So if we’re counting total time spent in activities which feature serving and passing, they are probably something like 75%. If we are talking about exercises where the specific focus is on technique, more like 20%. I’m figuring about 30 minutes of the morning session out of about 2.5 total hours for the day.

This is not to say a coach could not focus on technique for 100% of a session (or nearly so), even when doing 6 v 6, or perhaps small-sided games. It is entirely a question of where the instruction and feedback is aimed. I talk about this further here.

The question every coach needs to ask themselves is where they should be allocating their training focus.

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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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