Cheryl Butler insists that youth players be taught to swing block at a young age, when they can learn the techniques much faster. In this active warm-up, athletes learn to do just that while also getting the body ready for practice.
Drill Summary: This drill varies by the age of your youth players. For players in younger grade levels, a coach stands on a chair or stool and holds a squishy ball out in front of them in each hand. Players line up in a line a few feet to the side of the coach and take turns sliding over to the coach, jumping up and grabbing both balls, then jumping up again and giving the coach the balls back. The coach should vary the height of the balls for each player, based on their abilities. For older players, a coach stands on one side of the net and holds two squishy balls above the net. The line of older players sets up a few feet to the side of the coach. The difference between the older players and younger players is that the older players, instead of immediately jumping back up to give the balls back to the coach, shuffle back to the front of the line and then relocate over to give the coach the balls back in proper blocking form.
Keys to the Drill:
2) Get your hands in the right spot.
3) Work on jumping as quickly as possible.
4) Use the right technique.
This video came from Championship Productions’ video “Movement and Technical Skills & Drills for Youth Players.” View other world class Volleyball videos!
2012 NCAA national runner-up coach Jim Moore of the University of Oregon uses the “Fill In Drill” to run his players through a variety of situations. It’s a great practice drill to use when your team is struggling to pass and kill the ball.
Drill Summary: In this drill, the team splits into two groups with the team’s top two setters split into each group. Teams set up with the setter at the front of the net in the middle and two back row players. The remaining players in each team are in a single file line on the end line. The coach fires a ball at one of the back row players on either team and play becomes live. As the drill goes on, any back row player who makes a play on the ball exits the drill and is replaced by the next player in line.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Call out the right calls.
2) Accurate digs.
3) Go after every ball.
4) No cheating… You’ll just cheat yourself.
Ever wondered how to hit a float serve? How about a serve with topspin? In this clip, University of Central florida head coach Todd Dagenais teaches you how to hit a float serve, standing topspin serve, jump float serve and jump topspin serve.
Drill Summary: The first kind of serve is the float serve. For the float serve, the player stands and contacts the ball at the midline with a very firm hand. Ideally, the float serve is about 35 mph. For the standing topspin serve, the ball should travel at about 40-45 mph. To create topspin, use a very loose hand, hit underneath the ball and roll over and through. For both jump serves, hit the ball the same as you would on the ground, but step left-right-left and jump into it.
Junior high and middle school volleyball coaches sometimes struggle to find drills they can adapt to the beginner/intermediate level volleyball player. Look no further than the “Butterfly” drill from Kate Fitzgerald, freshman coach at Catholic Memorial High School. In this drill, players will quickly learn how to properly dig a ball.
Drill Summary: For this drill, you will need a player in all four corners where the 10 foot line meets the sidelines and a receiver in the middle at the front of the net on both sides. Balls start at opposite corners. The players with the balls overhand throw them to the players facing them on the other side of the net. The players on the other side of the net must pass the ball to the receivers standing at the front of the net. As play progresses, rotate thrower to passer, passer to receiver, and receiver to thrower. As players become more comfortable, have them start serving the ball overhand instead of throwing it to start the drill.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Toss inside the passer.
2) No setting.
3) Work on talking.
4) Angle your body toward the target on passes.
Learn to stop opponents from hitting the ball into the vulnerable parts of your defense in this drill from Ball State University head men’s volleyball coach Joel Walton. Coach Walton teaches his blockers the proper mechanics of swing blocking and wants them to disrupt the opponent’s attack. Without good blocking technique, teams risk leaving their defense susceptible to kill shots.
Drill Summary: In this drill, three blockers set up on one side of the net with a team of offensive players on the other side. To begin, the coach enters a ball to the offensive side of the court. The offense plays the ball as if it were a real game – passing to the setter and setting up an attack. Meanwhile, the blockers prepare for the attack depending on where the ball was put in play on the offensive half of the court. Blockers try to get a stuff block, a touch block or force the offense into making an error. If the offense succeeds in getting a kill shot down, they get a point. If the defense disrupts the offense by getting a block or forcing a bad shot, they get a point.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Work on fundamental blocking technique.
2) Read and react to the offense.
3) Force bad shots.
4) Offense works on timing.
This video came from Championship Productions’ video “Individual and Team Blocking Skills and Strategies.” View other world class Volleyball videos!