Ahhh, the classic “Sharks and Minnows” game.
If you went to volleyball camps as a child, you probably played this game at least once.
But the hard thing about playing games as a kid, is that you don’t always remember them as an adult!
Let me give you a quick refresher on this classic warm-up game as you start to prepare for summer volleyball camps. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
If you are a new volleyball coach, you’re in for a treat! Whether you’re getting ready for your first volleyball practice or are in the middle of your first season, I’ve got a fun and easy volleyball drill which your team will LOVE!
OK, so…. Let’s just get this out of the way real quick...
Yes: The drill really IS named “Dead Fish.” Read More
One of the biggest mistakes I see new coaches make is that they focus on teaching a skill in a controlled environment, but unfortunately this doesn’t translate well to game scenarios.
In a match, you’ll never have someone toss the ball to you, exactly where you’re expecting it, over and over again. In an effort to get my players used to MOVING and EXPECTING to move to the ball, I came up with this simple passing progression drill. It’s a perfect “beginning of the season” drill and is great as a skill check-up drill later in the season as well. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
Think back to the mid/late 2000’s, when Survivor was the biggest TV show out there (at least, it dominated the screen in our house every Thursday night)! Essentially, there was a large group of people who had to face challenges and, one by one, they were voted off. There were plenty of twists and turns along the way, and tons of drama.
OK, using those concepts, I’m going to teach you a volleyball game using these same principles! (Except the drama part… I’d say there’s humor, but no drama lol). Read More
Learning how to serve to zones on a volleyball court can be intimidating for young players. In youth volleyball and middle school volleyball, often times the girls are working on just getting the ball over with lots of power! They might not feel ready to start working on serving to zones yet, but that is why we have fun games! To make it less intimidating!
Hit The Spot is a fun team drill, meaning there’s less overall pressure on the individual, but at the same time, there’s motivation to get their serve to the right spot. Players who have are ready to start serving to zones will enjoy this game as well, because they will often carry their team and feel a sense of pride in their serving. Read More
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! Read More
Teach your volleyball team how to serve a volleyball underhand. Perfect form for young players and beginner players. Recommended for 1st-6th grade!
Spend 5 minutes at practice breaking down the underhand serve using these 4 steps, and you'll be on your way to a season full of successful serving! (Prefer to watch and learn? Skip to the Video Guide at the bottom!) Read More
One element of game time that we often struggle to replicate in practice is PRESSURE. The pressure to get the first serve of the game in, the pressure to make the serve after a teammate has missed, and especially the pressure of serving accurately and aggressively on game point! Few "punishments" can mimic the feeling of having all eyes on you and the pressure you feel to get the ball in. Likewise, few punishments actually feel as bad as missing during a critical time in the match. Read More
Do you need a quick game to run at your next volleyball practice? This easy serving game will challenge your players to serve to zones without them even realizing that they're learning! Just print out this drill and save it for your next practice. Keep it in your binder as a reminder when you need inspiration! You can make this more competitive by splitting your players up into teams and having them try to go around faster than the other team, going in reverse order, or even giving them a certain order they need to serve in! Read More
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? Read More
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. Read More
Passing is arguably the most important skill in volleyball. Young players cannot get a rally going unless they receive training, and older teams will struggle to compete against a tough serve or offense without lots of reps and game-like drills. This is why it is so important to teach your team the basics! Give them a good foundation to build from when you teach them how to pass a volleyball. Check out this short video and get started! Read More
Does your team need to work on moving their feet, communication, and teamwork? Want to add a competition to practice early on? Run the Passing Ladder Challenge at practice tonight! The Passing Ladder Challenge works best in groups of three but can be altered depending on the number of players you have and the group size you’d prefer. In this example, let’s use 3 groups of 3.
This drill is best for players who are beginner-intermediate skill level from 1st grade to 8th grade and can be changed by using the variations listed at the end of the article. Read More
One of the most exciting parts of being a coach is when you finally see a concept “click” for your players. Younger teams who are used to just rotating around the court and playing the position they are standing in always seem to take FOREVER to understand the concept of playing defense at the net in the front row, and then transitioning off to play defense for a freeball.
Setters, too, will often hang out in backrow for too long before they realize that they should be moving up into the setter position in order to set at the first hint of a freeball. Although the concept seems simple to the experienced coach, this is one area that teams need to practice in a game-like drill in order to comprehend what is actually being asked of them. Read More
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. Read More