Hate to see your team standing around while you're warming up? Think your team hits great in practice but isn't able to execute during a match? Try using this drill!
Traditional hitting lines just don't cut it. If you're using this drill, you are practicing how to hit from a perfect toss. How often does that happen during a game? Well, zero. Your setter never gets a nice high toss, and they can NEVER complain about a toss and refuse to set it.
This drill advances your team much quicker than traditional hitting lines for two reasons.
1. This is closer to what your team will see in a game. By incorporating the pass, your players practice getting into position to make the pass, which is critical to a great set, which finally leads us to getting an attack. Instead of only getting big hits from a perfect pass, your front row will be able to produce better hits from not-so-perfect-sets in the game.
They are also training themselves to go up for a block if it is tight or over the net, instead of just running through. There is an element of control, in that the ball is put into play by the coach, so you should be able to move through your warm-up quickly and effectively.
2. Your passers (most likely) want to get out of the passing lines to hit. This creates internal motivation, which is imperative to getting anything accomplished. They want to hit, so they're going to make the effort to pass better.
Note: If you have a libero, you can keep them in the passing line and have them call for a backrow set every few times through.
And attackers REALLY want to hit the ball. You know that feeling when you finally rotate into the front row? Yeah, it's intense. So when the set is bad or goes over and you have to rotate through? That is really upsetting and frustrating, and your setter knows it. This fear motivates your setter to make every attempt to get a good set every time.
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And the motivation from your hitters? They're going to have to rotate through no matter what, and they want to hit the ball. They'll try to make the most out of their opportunities.
So there you have it! A drill which gets your players moving and warmed up, going all out, and practicing actual game-like movements. In my mind this is the perfect warm-up for your on-court time before a match, but I also like to use it anytime we're doing hitting lines in practice. The only exception may be when you're introducing plays, but one that skill is learned, plays can be run through this drill as well.
Pancakers: What do you think? Do you have any other variations of hitting drill which you find valuable in teaching specific skills? Let me know in the comments!