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.

I am going to call this drill "Popcorn" because when I see it in my mind, I also envision a popcorn machine heating up the kernels and popcorn flying around through the air. To begin, split your team into two groups, one on either side of the net. Have them start out in a tight circle, about an arms-length away from one another. Ideally you will have at least five girls in each group. Have an assistant jump in if teams are uneven.


Begin setting around the circle, until each player sets the ball. While keeping the ball in the air, have each player take one step back. Go around the circle again, and after everyone has set the ball, take another step back.

If the ball drops, the group has to start over. Everyone can touch the ball more than once, but they cannot step back until everyone has set the ball at each stage.

Depending on their skill level, you could end the competition once a team gets to the outside lines, or after the team works their way to the outside and goes back in to the middle.

Alternatively, you could also see who could move through the most stages in a five or ten-minute time span. Mix it up by requiring them to set in a star pattern, or by only setting to the right or left.

Have some fun with this one and add your own rules. The main objective here is to make setting fun.

Game-like skills they're learning:

    • Setting to specific areas/people
    • Controlling sets
    • Adjusting set height to situation (low for speed, high when team is in trouble)
    • Communication
    • Facing competition/pressure

Give "Popcorn" a shot at your next practice or volleyball camp and let me know what you think!

PancakersWant this drill animated like advanced hitting lines and the downball game? Request in the comments and I will get an animation of the drill posted!