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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What Volleyball Players Wish They Could Say To Their Coaches (And Parents!)

Recently, I posted a question on the Instagram Story for my account for volleyball coaches, @getthepancake. I asked: 

“Players: What’s something you wish your coaches or parents knew?”

The range of answers highlights just how unique our athletes are, and I think the players provide some great insight. 

When reading this article, please keep in mind the following: “Perception is more important than reality. If someone perceives something to be true, it is more important than if it is in fact true.”

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Volleyball Coaching Book Review: The Volleyball Coaching Bible

I couldn’t WAIT to start coaching volleyball when I was in school. I had helped with camps throughout high school and wanted nothing more than to just finish school so I could coach. I guess I’m obsessed.

But once I finally GOT a coaching job, a wave of incompetence seemed to rush over me.

I literally had no idea what to do. Now, as many of you know, this specific feeling is precisely what led to me writing Coaching Volleyball: A Survival Guide For Your First Season.

And while I obviously recommend my book for new coaches looking for actionable tasks and guidance in their first season as a volleyball coach, I wanted to share my thoughts on the first book I bought when I was looking for how to get started coaching a decade ago.

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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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Volleyball Drill Classics: Queen of The Court

If there’s one volleyball drill that just about EVERY volleyball player will play throughout their career, it’s Queen of the Court (or King of the Court/Monarch of the Court depending on who you’re coaching).

Queen of the court is a top volleyball drill because it…

  • is fast-paced

  • is FUN

  • is competitive

  • is good as a warm-up drill or to end practice with

  • can be played with as few as 8 players, and up to 16 (or more) per court

If this sounds like a must-have for your coaching binder, I’d have to agree with you. Not only is this a good volleyball drill for practice, you can use it at open gyms and volleyball camps!

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6 Small Group Volleyball Drills: Perfect for Holidays and Spring Break Practices!

Let’s just cut to the chase here. You won’t have perfect attendance at every practice.

And while that can be frustrating (especially for the well-prepared coach who planned practice down to the minute, with perfectly selected drills based on numbers), it’s a reality that we need to deal with.

Basketball practice. Spring Break. Family trips….

These all tend to make planning a high-quality practice a challenge.

UNLESS! You have these six drills in your back pocket.

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3-Day Volleyball Tournament Packing List For Coaches, Players, and Family Members

Packing for a one day tournament can be stressful enough, but extend that to three days and you’ve got a LOT of packing to do.

Add in crazy facility requirements, long distance travel, and bored siblings who’d rather be outside, and you’ve got quite the adventure in front of you!

I’ve had my fair share of travel tournaments, but I’ve also enlisted the help of other coaches who are a part of the Get The Pancake family to create this list of what to pack for a volleyball tournament.

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Using Visualization to Combat Tough Game Situations

No matter what our team’s normal skill level is, sometimes there are just games (or even full days!) where our athletes are just…. off.

It is probably worthwhile for you to dig into those reasons in an attempt to stop this situation from happening in the future. However, since it is usually a large, variable combination of things that may or may not have a possible solution, today I want to talk about what to do after you recognize this in your team!

I want to talk about visualization in volleyball, especially because it helped me when I was playing and still helps to this day. It’s likely that not EVERYONE will buy-in… And that’s ok!

But I want to make sure your athletes have the right tools in their toolkit to pull themselves out of a slump if possible.

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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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How To Create Your Own Volleyball Drill

If I had to name my top three favorite aspects of coaching volleyball, it would be:

1) Helping young players develop into volleyball athletes with confidence and self esteem;

2) Constantly being challenged to out-strategize our opponents; and

3) Creating new volleyball drills.

I guess number three, creating new drills, is BECAUSE of my top two. I like to get creative at practice and create drills specific to my team’s age, level of play, potential, strengths, and weaknesses.

There’s an ART to creating a good volleyball drill!

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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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Jousting in Volleyball

You know when those guys on horses are charging at each other with those big sticks and try to knock the other one off the horse first? Well, we do that in volleyball too!

Of course, there are no horses involved, and we really shouldn’t be making contact with the other player. Jousting in volleyball is when a ball is in that weird gray zone of “is it coming over the net, is it not?” 

Ideally in his situation, your player will jump up to hit/block the ball instead of just stand there are and watch it drop (even if it’s on the other side of the net! We still want to be ready).

And I pity the fool who stands and watches while the opposing team goes up to smack it, almost certainly winning the point unchallenged.

Let’s breakdown a joust, shall we?

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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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Switch Up Practice Tonight: Include Your Defense in Your Offense

For many of you, the middle of the season is upon on (or fast approaching), and with that, boredom can start to set in. The number of new drills and concepts which you’re teaching your team has probably dropped, and not only is your team feeling a lack of fresh energy, but you’re feeling it too!

This part of the season is my least and most favorite. When the monotony kicks in, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do! BUT! When you finally think of a fresh take on a drill or come to practice set on pepping things up, that’s when the magic happens.

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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 Practice Plan: Jousting and Tip Coverage

Often times, the motivation for a practice plan will come from major weaknesses witnessed during a match or even over the course of a tournament. This practice plan, practicing jousting and tip coverage, came after a particularly frustrating match during which my team lost to a team who lacked the power to send us fast-paced hits, yet bested our defenses via wimpy tips. The entire match.

Now, if you read more of my articles and practice plans, you'll see that I am actually a fan of a well-placed and well-timed tip. And if that has to be your main offense to defeat a team, then so be it. However, when you know the opponent is not doing this on purpose, it can be infuriating to watch ball after ball drop in the middle of the court.

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