Teach “The Turn” - Getting Your Setter To Square Up To Their Hitters

It’s currently the beginning of the school season, which means one thing is certain: We’ve all got a LOT of work to do.

Players will always be growing and developing, and even us coaches aren’t as perfect as we’d like to believe. But there’s something I’ve seen a lot of this particular season and I want to help you see it and overcome this lazy play with your own teams.

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Teaching “Vision” Using Rock, Paper, Scissors

It’s easy to tell your players to look on the other side of the net… However, if they don’t learn WHEN to look, or if they don’t PRACTICE looking, they’ll likely struggle in this process, and likely give up because they just don’t get it.

The beauty of this drill is that you only need to run it once to teach the concept. So although it may go slow while they’re learning, it is very important to use 15 minutes of practice to run this drill.

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Front Row Progressions: Train Transitioning, Hitting, Blocking, and Setting in 20 Minutes

OK, I’m making BIG claims for this drill, but I’m ready to back those claims up!

See, I’m really big on PROGRESSIONS. Progressions start simple, add small pieces of information, and ultimately lead to BIG gains.

The best part about this drill I’m about to share with you is that it will work for ANY age group (even the littles who can’t get their fingers above the net) and your players will LOVE it.

This is also a great volleyball camp drill, for those reasons and more.

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Freeball/Downball Drill: A Fast-Paced Scrimmage Alternative to End Practice

Once we start to get towards the middle/end of the season, it can feel like you’ve been running the same drills over and over again!

Add a fresh new drill to the end of your practice! This is one of my FAVORITE drills to end practice with, because it is high intensity, competitive, fast moving, and mentally challenging for the players.

This drill works best for 6 vs 6 situations (either against your own team or with a similar team you would normally scrimmage against), but can be modified to 5 vs 5 if needed.

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4-Minute Team Warmup Idea For Volleyball Tournaments

You’ve put in HOURS of practice, have gone over every rotation at least two dozen times, and think you’ve worked out the best lineup for your first tournament.

You make sure everyone knows where to go, when to be there, and what is (and isn’t!) allowed in the facility.

Everyone gets to the court relatively on time, and the girls start passing the ball around until it’s time to get started. And suddenly you realize… You don’t have a warmup planned.

This warm-up gets everyone moving and working primarily on the skills they’ll need in their main position, and I’ve liked how well it has worked with a few of the teams I’ve coached in the past.

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Setter Out: A Drill for Setter/Libero Practice

One of the worst feelings as a coach is when you watch your team struggle with something you FORGOT TO TEACH THEM.

“Setter out” is one of those things. Most coaches think they can just say “Setter out!” and then their players will get it. While the concept is simple, players will need to practice this skill before they fully understand what you mean.

The best part is… this is one of those * CLICK * skills that, once players understand, they’ll be unstoppable!

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Run a Half-Court Round Robin Tournament at Your Next Volleyball Practice

Although I’m big on creating drills to suit my team and their specific needs each season, there’s a classic drill that I always make time for! 

Running a half-court round robin with your team is a simple way to let your players lighten up a little and enjoy competing against one another. Best of all, it’s pretty simple!

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1 Touch - 2 Touch- 3 Touch - Columbus

Normally I’m all for keeping drill names short and sweet, but sometimes a long descriptive name helps players remember a drill better (and it makes me laugh hearing them repeat it).

But that’s not WHY I like 1 touch, 2 touch, 3 touch, Columbus (sort of a “left foot, left foot, left foot, right” ring to it, no?). I like this drill because it gets my players MOVING, and it helps players who are new to the concept of “pass-set-hit” transition from “bump ball.” 

For you new coaches, bump ball is an affectionate name for teams who pass the ball back and forth over the net without trying to do anything other than pass it back over. This is NOT what we want! We want to (despite losses and frustration with the learning process) teach our teams to use all three hits as early as they can successfully do so.

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Teaching Your Setter To Set Along The Net, Not To The Hitter!

There are certain drills you run at practice throughout the season because they get your team moving, cheering, and they’re relatively easy and fun… 

This is not one of those drills.

So, why would you want to read more? Because! This is a drill you only need to do ONCE and you’ll have a new team. This is a drill that inspires those *click* moments that I live for as a coach.

This drill is particularly effective at teaching young setters (think 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade) how to set along the net, instead of to the hitters. 

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Pre-Made Practice Plan: Serve Receive and Using Three Hits

Last night I had practice and thought it went.... great! Going into it though, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. See, I had run a practice with this team last week, and my plan didn't go as I expected. I was expecting a group of players who didn't know each other very well, and that was NOT what I got. Here's what caught me off guard:

  • All loud and friendly (except two quiet players),

  • Already established friend group (again, except for the two),

  • Fundamental skills were decent, but in a game setting, everything went out the window, and

  • A lack of understanding of how to use all three hits. It was like watching tennis!

I think this is something you'll see in a school setting more often than a club setting, just because in a school they all see each other every day, and in club, they usually come from different schools. 

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Hitting Lines vs. Defense | Drill Print-Out and Video Description!

Hey coaches! I’ve been advertising this drill a ton because not ONLY did I make a video describing the different ways to set it up, I also made a printable version for you! This drill, Hitting Lines vs. Defense, is one of the most versatile drills I’ve covered for you so far. The setup is easy and the concepts are pretty basic, but it’s SO useful! Just because it’s not complicated doesn’t mean it’s not for high-level teams either. Teams at all skill levels can use this drill and it will benefit them. Want the short version?

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Swing Set Drill - Team Setting Drill

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. 

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Fun Volleyball Drill for Ball Control: Musical Volleyball

Do you remember playing musical chairs as a kid? How everyone was nice and getting along walking around a circle of chairs until someone cut the music and you raced to grab a seat? It was fun, right? Got your competitive juices flowing? Well that was the inspiration for the most recent drill I created for my team’s practice to work on ball control as well as their competitive nature.

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Setter Development Drills for 7th and 8th Graders

Teaching middle school players how to set a volleyball can be challenging. Often times, there are only one or two players who show a natural inclination towards setting, and the rest are, more or less, hopeless. Or at least that’s how you feel at tryouts!

Training setters can be very time consuming, and when you are coaching by yourself it can be hard to justify spending practice time running a drill which is designed for only one or two players. But setters make or break a team! Spending time during practice working on their skills will only help you in the long run. Even better, you will likely see dramatic improvements right away.

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Volleyball Scrimmage Alternative: Vegas

While I love creating my own drills, sometimes you just need to peruse the internet and find some new inspiration. Two weeks ago I was looking for high-intensity drills and found “Vegas.” While the title was intriguing, it didn’t really explain what the drill focused on. Strictly out of curiosity, I watched.

My initial reaction was that it looked fun, but was nothing too special. It had competitive elements to it that was something I felt my girls needed a big dose of, so I added it to our practice plan with 20 minutes dedicated to learning and finishing the drill.

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The 3 C's Drill: Communication, Coverage, and Celebration

Is your team struggling to communicate, cover, or celebrate? Read how I run the 3 C's Drill (presented by Judy Green, video in article) and try it out for yourself! It seriously impacted my girls and we have been a different team ever since!

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Pre-Made Volleyball Practice Plan: Learning Setting and Attacking

The season has started! This means two things. 1) We're all scrambling to figure out what our teams' strengths and weaknesses are, and 2) I will have a lot of practice plans that I'll share with you! The beginning of the year is the best time to review basics with your team (although they should constantly be enforced throughout the season).

I recommend ALWAYS beginning with passing and serving, as these are the two most fundamental skills one needs to play volleyball. This plan is for our second practice of the year, so we've progressed to setting and attacking.

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Competitive and Fun Setting Drill for 8th Graders: Popcorn

Setting can be a difficult task to teach to your entire team. I know when I played, if we were all going to learn to set, we just all found a spot on the wall and did wall sets for 15 minutes, or until we complained too much about our arms hurting. Wall sets are not fun. I'm sure you know this as well as I do.

Keeping drills fun, especially when you are coaching younger teams, is very important. But the drills also need to be game-like and incorporate skills they will actually use in a match. Sometimes combining these two elements can be a challenge, especially with a skill that very few people are naturally gifted at.

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Pre-Made Practice Plan: Introducing Plays

Hey everyone, I decided I'm going to feature regular practice plans for you all, so if you ever need to get to the gym ASAP but didn't have time to sit down and plan out your practice, I've got your back! I'll be adding more regularly, so make sure to check out Get The Pancake often! This practice plan will focus on introducing quick sets to your team, and defending against quick attacks.

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Advanced Hitting Lines

This volleyball drill gets your players moving and warmed up, going all out, and practicing actual game-like movements.

Traditional hitting lines just don't cut it anymore. If you're using the old version, 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.

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