One of the toughest skills I have a hard time creating drills for is setting. When you cover passing and hitting, these are skills that all players on your team will need to use. But setting? Yes, everyone needs to know HOW to set... But they will rarely set from the setting position and would therefore not benefit as much from constant setting drills. HOWEVER!
There is something to be learned from practicing this skill occasionally. I'm a big fan of training my players to play every position so that their understanding of the game is pushed beyond the confines of their position (wow, that was deep lol). This drill gives players a good understanding of what it take to be a setter, and will help them see the court from a new perspective.
I personally love watching drills, so here's a quick video of the drill I created and I'll follow with a description of the finer details. Also, please consider subscribing to my channel (Get The Pancake) on YouTube! I'm working on bringing coaches more video content and if you're interested, I'd love to share it with you.
2 Ball Carts
This drill includes using targets so the setter can see where to push the ball. I prefer to have my targets stand on boxes so the setters cannot get away with a low set. I've also noticed that my players take drills more seriously if the boxes come out, what about you? Ideally you have two boxes for your practice. If not, you can have your target stand on the ground. Just be sure to emphasize the need to set high.
You'll also need two ball carts. Again, this could be optional since technically the ball should go straight from target to shagger to tosser, so you might only need 4-6 balls total. However, the drill will run quicker if your players aren't worried about handing the ball over and keeping it in the rotation.
Assuming most teams have about 10 players, you can split them up into two equal groups, though the ideal number of players would be 8. There are 4 active players on each side, but additional players can share shagging responsibilities. You could also add the job of keeping score for how many sets go to target. If your team has a short attention span, I'd recommend the latter. Keeping everyone busy with a job reduces goofing off.
For this drill, you'll have the following positions on each side of the net:
A score keeper (optional)
Run the Drill:
Setup your box/target first in the outside position. Have your setter start on the net and your tosser toss to the 10' line. You will want to emphasize moving to the ball so that it stays in front of the setter, and squaring the hips up to the target. After the first set from the 10' line, have your tosser toss on the net. Your setter will then run to the net and again, square up to the target. Do this 10x for each setter, and then rotate (setter become target, target becomes shagger, shagger becomes tosser, tosser becomes setter).
After each player has rotated through and all have taken a turn setting to the outside, move the box/target to the middle front position. Have each player go through the drill again, and then finally move to the box to the right side.
The biggest benefit to running this drill (in my mind) is that each player who is not normally a setter will complain/ask for a higher toss so they have more time to get to the ball the first time through. This is a great opportunity for you to point out the importance of high passes (depending on the age/skill level) so that your setter has time to get set underneath the ball.
Your hitters will also gain a new respect for your setter once they've gone through the drill and they understand just how hard it is to set the ball to target when the "pass" is not perfect. This awareness will translate to better anticipation for what to expect when the pass is not where it would ideally be.
Your setters will also get a time to shine, since they (ideally) will be the best at this drill. Setters do not always get the credit for the kills the set up, but they get a few feel-good moments from this drill and can help other players. Passers and hitters will likely compliment the setters or say "how do you do this!?" and that will give them a sense of pride.
Other benefits include having your entire team spend some time working on their setting skills. Players who are not comfortable setting will often find any excuse to NOT use their hands. This forces them to work on a skill which will benefit them in the long run.
A final benefit to running this drill is that it just feels efficient. There have been plenty of drills I've ran where you know you're teaching skills but players might goof off or the focus isn't always 100% there. I've ran this drill with one of my LEAST focused teams and it kept everyone focused and on task the entire 15-20 minutes it took to get through everything.
This team setting drill will benefit the entire team in the long run. Players may not understand the benefit to them, as it is mostly a mental benefit which helps them understand the game. However, if you run this at practice just before a tournament, you should see some of the concepts stick.
If you like this drill, and want more drills like it, let me know in the comments! Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and I'm also pretty active on Instagram and Pinterest. I hope to see you there! If you're a new coach, you can check out my book for first year volleyball coaches too!
Also, let me know in the comments if you have any requests. I really want to help my audience grow into better coaches and your comments help me understand how I can be of service!
Thanks for reading!