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.
1. SHUTTLE PASSING
When you’re at less than full strength, one of the easiest warmup drills to run is shuttle passing. This gets the blood flowing, players moving, and works on ball control. Here’s a link to the full explanation:
2. TIP AND CHIP
Tip and Chip is a simple volleyball drill that I encourage my players to play BEFORE practice starts. Why? Because you can play even if you only have TWO players!
Essentially, the game is played inside of the 10’ and only tipping and chipping (better known as “roll shots” to some) is allowed. Similar to shuttle passing, this is great for ball control.
Depending on how much time you want to spend, you could also combine the concept of “Tip and Chip” with a “Half Court Tournament” and keep your players entertained for 20-30 minutes.
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3. JOUSTING PRACTICE
Depending on WHO your players are, this may or may not work. If you mostly have liberos at your practice, I’d skip this one. But if you’ve got a good amount of front row players, this could be a great opportunity to work on a more specialized skill like jousting! Scroll to the bottom of this drill page to see the drill I run to work on jousting.
4. HITTING SURVIVOR
I like to make sure these practices are FUN. Especially if I’m missing players because of spring break, or some other holiday where some of my players are traveling to somewhere “cool.” I want what’s left of my team to not resent those who miss out, and I do that by playing a lot of games. I like to save Hitting Survivor as a special drill, and use it as a reward or during times when I’m missing players.
5. SWING SET
The original drill posted shows how to use up to 10 players in this drill. However, just cut it down to half court and run the drill on one side, or run it on both sides using 3 people per side instead of the 4-5 I originally suggested. Swing Set is great for keeping players involved in the drill, communicating, and practice their setting and overhand passing.
Probably my favorite drill on this list, Fetch is an EXCELLENT choice for teams looking to have fun, do some team bonding, and get in some conditioning. You only need two people on the court at a time, and they can switch partners after they’re off the court. Good for 3+ players.
Still not finding what you’re looking for? Try creating your own drill! I’ll walk you through my process of how I create volleyball drills based on what my team needs to work on, then it’s your turn!