Guideline: Drills that are for movement only (not a lot of thinking required) should be used for Warm-Up, Drills that are competitive and are asking players to read cues, make decisions etc. should be used for the body of the practice.
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First to 25 (Passing and decision making)
Purpose: To train passing and decision-making in a competitive environment
How it works: Players split into two groups. Each group positions three passers, a setter and a target on the court and remaining players at the end line. Teams alternate serve until one team reaches 25 points. A Perfect pass receives one point, and a perfect set receives one point. A missed serve gives two points for the receiving side.
Variations: Add a middle and outside attacker on each side of the net and award two points for a successful middle attack and one point for a successful outside attack.
Requirements: At least ten players, cart of balls and a full court
Aces and Nails (avoid the best passer)
Three passers- trying to serve tough- if you get aced as a passer- you become a server- rotate to the left every serve (three passers and extra is standing at sideline next to the right back passer). Passers count how many 3’s they get- game to seven.
Blind man block
One blocker and one hitter on either side of the net (spares behind)
Coach tosses ball from behind the blocker to a hitter on the other side of the net. Hitter must hit the ball line if coaches tosses to the pin or cross court if he tosses inside (almost to middle). Works on the blocker watching his hitter and moving accordindly.
Challenge Three (Individual Serving and Passing)
Passing on left- serving on right- groups of three- narrow courts
server vs passer (target for passer)- winner can serve or pass- if you ace- it’s a big point- if passer wins (game to 2) then server and target switch. If server wins- can decide if he or she passes or serves.
Golden Egg (warm-up drill)
Purpose: To work on ball control, communication between players, and managing complexity
How it Works: Four players set up for short court with two players on each side of the net. Each pair is given a “golden egg” ball which they cannot let touch the ground. What makes this so hard? The “golden eggs” aren’t the only balls in the drill. The third ball introduced is the ball which is used for rallying. One team initiates the rally by “serving” the playing ball over the net with a set. Whoever passes the ball on the other side cannot be holding their team’s golden egg, and must toss it to their partner so they can pass the rally volleyball but not drop the golden egg. The rally continues until someone wins the point with the rally volleyball, or until one team drops their “golden egg.” One point is rewarded for a point made with the rally volleyball, and two points are rewarded for a “golden egg” dropped ball.
Requirements: 4 players, 3 balls and at least half of a court
Mini Games Drill (Team play)
Purpose: To train teams to play under pressure
How it works:
This mini-game drill sets up with six players on each side with the score tied at 20-20. The coach tosses in a free ball and both teams play to win the point. This continues until a team reaches 23. At that point, they earn the right to serve. The winner is the first team to 25.
Variations: After one set, you may want to swap front and back row players. You may also want to give teams time to discuss strategy between sets.
Requirements: 12 players, a cart of balls, a full court and a coach
5 before 2 (Defensive Drill)
Purpose: To pit hitters and defenders against one another in a quick, engaging drill
How it Works: Three outside hitters line up in left front. A coach tosses a free ball to a setter, who sets to the outside. The hitters get a point if their swing is a kill. The six defenders on the opposite side get a point every time they dig a ball that is playable. The outside hitters must get 5 points before the digging team gets 2 points! The players aren’t the only ones who get to have fun in this drill. For the losing team, the coach can opt to make a consequence (like 5 push-ups or sit-ups, sprints, etc.)
Variations: Instead of having your outside hitters be the offenders, ask your right side hitters and middle hitters to have a go at the drill, as well.
Bundle (Serve Receive)
To set up, assign one team to serve and the other to receive. The goal is to earn points for passes and kills. The better the pass, the more points earned. As a bonus, teams can add 2 more points if they make the first ball kill.
For example, let’s say the receiving team earns 3 points for the pass plus 2 for the first ball kill. Bundling the points together, they get 5 points for the play.
The serving team can earn points too. When they stop the attack, they get one point and the chance to serve-receive to boost their score. The game ends when one team scores 25 points.
4 Corners Serving and Passing (Warm-Up Drill)
Purpose: To warm up a team’s passing and serving in a short amount of time. This is a great drill to do as a warm-up as it targets the basics of the game but progresses every ten reps or so.
How it Works: Have a passer in each corner of the court. Have at least one or two players behind those passers whose job is to give reps to the passer across the net. The progression is simple; each passer will pass a certain number of free balls, then down balls (hitters are still standing, warming up their arms), then real serves from behind the end line.
Requirements: A full team, a cart of balls and a full court
Dig set/Box Drill (Warm-up Drill)
Players divide in two lines- one line in position 5 and one line in 1
Targets in positions 4 and 2
Coach or player hitting ball at alternating lines from position 3
Digger must dig ball to middle of attack line, non-digging player must move in and set a high ball to opposite side. Ball is caught by the target.
Setting player must move to be next target. Digger goes to the other line.
Target to receive Set goes to back of line on their side.
Progression: Targets now approach and catch or easy hit)
Next- targets become blockers- targets are game speed hitting
Next- blockers move to diggers etc. Must have full compliment of players to do this.
Nibs (Passing/Serving Drill)
3 passers per side full court (can do 2 passers on narrow court if limited players)
Servers (Keeping order for who is on deck next- everyone serves)
1 Person on deck
Passers keep individual points
1 pt for a 2 or 3 pass (for younger players), 1 pt for a 3 pass (older players)
Have coaches in setters positions on both sides of court deciding points
If passer gets a point, they get to stay. If passer gets a 1 (or a 2 for older), they must go to end of “on deck” line. If passer gets a 0 (for younger) or a 1 or 0 (for older), they must go to the back of the serving line.
Servers alternate sides for serving.
Players get 1 nib/pt received.
Yo-yo (Free ball Drill)
One score (starts at 4)
One team goes up with a goal to get to 8, the other team’s score goes down trying to get to 0
Free ball tosses only
Team that wins the rally, gets the next free ball
Free ball can go anywhere
Be sure to switch front and back rows and rotate
Can be played with players up to 6 on 6 full court or as low as 2 no 2 narrow court.
Speed Ball (Game Play Drill- works on Reading/Defense/Competitiveness)
2 on 2 (or 3 on 3) on narrow court (can have both sides of court going at same time), OR 4 on 4 full court if you have lots of players (or players can double on teams)
Full hitting VB from back row attack only
Setter at net, passer(s) in back
If you win, you stay, if you lose, you are off
Losing side always serves- Waiting team on losing side serves the ball and runs on to court to play defense
Stay in your teams/ team point for each rally won
Teams Stay on same side of court
Winner reaches X amount of points
6 on 6 (5 on 5, 4 on 4)
Those not on court are shagging and feeding balls
First ball- Serve
Second Ball- goes to serving side
Must win both balls for a pt
Wash if points are split
Team points are awarded- teams stay on same side- can rotate players in from the back- moving everyone toward front, front players off (or if no spares, be sure to rotate 3 or 4 positions often)
Can have players on court serving- or have spares serving to involve more players
Serve switches every time regardless of score
6 on 6, 5 on 5, 4 on 4
The game follows a sequence of three rallies (service, tossed ball 1, tossed ball 2).
1st rally – introduced by the server
2nd rally – tossed ball given to the receiving team
3rd rally – tossed ball given to the serving team
The service rotates between teams after each three-ball sequence.
A team must rotate and introduce a new server when it is their turn to serve.
Every ball introduced is worth one point.
Focus Drill- (works on focusing on skill being performed before moving to next skill)
Three lines at back of court (pos 1, 6 and 5)- each player has 1 ball
Have players line up on the side of the court in which they play defense. Example, Setter should line up in pos 1.
Need lots of balls
2 coaches managing drill (One coach feeds players in pos 1 and 6- and the other feeds line in position 5)- Coaches work independently of each other
First ball: Player Serves
Second Ball: Player goes to correct position and digs ball from coach
Third Ball: Coach Tosses high ball for a Down ball hit (standing on ground or progression to a back row attack)
Can do Rt sides and powers first and have mids shag or all groups go and they must shag two balls- one for coaches and one for them to take to serve.
Players must do 2 burpee jumps on the side for every missed attempt at a skill. Example- missed serve but was successful on dig and down-ball- must do 2 burpees)
Can run drill for 20 min then everyone needs 1 sequence of three to get out of the drill- those out of drill shag balls for those still trying to get 3 out of 3
Butterfly (Serving, passing Drill)- Great warm-up drill
Tossers/servers line up on right side of court (both sides)- on attack line in tossing or deeper if serving
1 Player on each side as target, passers line up on left side of court both sides (facing tosser/server).
All players follow their ball- players will rotate through both sides of the court.
Progression: Start with underhand throws for Overhand pass, then overhand throws for forearm pass, the serving for forearm pass.
Continuous (Warm-up Drill)
Coach or player at net in 2 hitting balls.
One line of players in position 4, another in 1.
2 balls going at one time.
Player in 4 starts with a volley to pos 1 then moves to play defense in 5, Coach/Player hits at player in 5. Players in 4 and 1 keep volleying to each other continuously while not interfering with the hit from Coach.
Players go from 4 to 5 to 1 to passing ball to coach in 2 to 4.
2 on 2 short court (Warm-up Drill)
Fit as many 2 on 2 mini games along the net as needed.
Compact rallies inside attack line
Goal is to keep the rally going.
Bump, set, volley- then bump set easy jump and tip
Rotate every time the ball is put over.
Run Forest Run (Warm-up drill)
Divide players in half- one team per side
Played on short court (attack line and up)
Trying to score with bump or volley only
2 contacts only (bumping and volleying only)
Player who contact the ball must run to end line and touch line with foot and get back to court ready to play next ball.
Players on the court must constantly slide and fill in for those running (want to avoid players hiding on sideline and never contacting ball)