This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for the 2020-21 season.

Back for a second week of practices. We were still on the 1 hour limit with 6′ spacing required.


The players had really good energy for this session. I started them off with some serving both for practice and to warm-up hitting and jumping. The bulk of the session was spent focused on setting and hitting. I put the players in three groups. One of them (Group A) featured two players I wanted to just concentrating on hitting. The other two groups (B and C) had three players each, and they all would pass, set, and hit at different points. Here’s what I did.

On one side of the set I had two hitters, a passer, and a setter. One hitter was from Group A and one from Group B. The setter was from Group B as well, but the passer was from group C. On the other side there was a ball initiator from Group C, with the remaining three players (1 from each group) on ball collection and feeding duty.

I did two minute rounds of balls initiated to the passer, who passed the ball for the setter to set to the pin (initially to 4, but later to 2). After the two minutes, the Group A players flip-flopped and the B and C ones rotated within their positions. After three rounds, I had B and C swap such that C now had the hitter and the setter.

The last 12 minutes I had them play 4 v 4.

My main focus was on evaluating potential setters. Unfortunately, I had another recording failure, so I didn’t get video to review afterwards.


Most of this session ran a lot like the prior day’s. We started with serving, then progressed to the same passing/hitting exercise. This time, though, I only did 1-minute rounds rather than 2-minute. Also, we also only did sets to 4. That’s because I wanted to also do a round of quick sets. That ended up being a hitting line situation with me tossing to a sequence of setters while the others hit. I’m not a big fan of that kind of approach, but it was the most efficient way to do things in this case.

The remaining 15-20 minutes of the session was a narrow court Winners 3s game. It was actually three games of about 4 minutes in length. Each game featured two of the players as fixed setters, with the remaining 6 split into three teams of two.

One of the things I use small-sided games like this for is to force greater precision in things like serving and attacking. I was really pleased with how aggressively many of the players served and I told them as much at the end.

And then it stopped

Unfortunately, on Wednesday afternoon New York change the COVID risk level in our area from yellow to orange. That shut down athletics, so we were officially done for the semester.

So much for me being able to continue to evaluate potential setter options.

There were a lot of sad emojis in the GroupMe when I shared the news. 🙁

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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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