If you're looking for an easy passing drill you can run at your next volleyball practice, try shuttle passing!
Shuttle passing is great for teams of all ages, and can be altered to change the level of difficulty for your team in particular! I've run this drill with 2nd and 3rd graders, and with high school teams as well. Once you understand the basic concept, you'll be able to make adjustments to the drill, making it a great ball control warm-up for your team!
The drill is set up by dividing your team into two or three groups, with 4-6 players in each group. If some groups are uneven, that’s ok!
Group 1 will split in half and have 2-3 players on each side of the net. One person will start at the 10’ line on each side, with additional players standing 3-4 feet behind them waiting for their turn. Up to three groups can run this drill on one court at the same time.
RUN THE DRILL
Each group will begin with a toss to their teammate on the opposite side of the net. Group 1 will pass back and forth to each other, as will group 2 and group 3.
As soon as a player passes the ball, they go to the end of the line, either on their own side of the net, or by switching sides but staying in their group. Decide what you’d prefer ahead of time.
This will continue until the coach indicates it is time to move to the next progression. SIMPLE!
SHUTTLE PASSING PROGRESSIONS AND VARIATIONS
Pass back and forth over the net
Passing back and forth below the height of the antenna
Passing back and forth above the height of the antenna
Pass to yourself, pass to the other group
Pass to yourself, set to the other group
Pass to yourself, set to yourself, and tip to the other group.
There are many other variations you can come up with as well! Get creative!
DRILL TIMING / SCORING
You can run this drill for time, meaning you spend 1.5-2 minutes on each progression (You can do more time for younger teams, but older teams should move quickly through each progression).
OR you can set a goal and the groups do not progress until they reach a certain number of successful passes over the net. Younger teams can focus solely on passing back and forth with their groups, and you can measure your highest number at another practice later in the season.
Make it a competition by having the two groups see who can get the most passes in a row without letting the ball drop. They can either win the round or keep track of total points. Or make it even more exciting and make each round worth more and more points!
Regardless of how you score the drill, I spend 10-15 minutes on ball control at each practice and alter the drill to keep it on time. I run shuttle passing probably once every 3-4 practices during club season, but you might want to run it once every other week if you're in a school setting.