“Stay low!” “You’re standing up!” “Use your legs!” “Shrug your shoulders!” “Get down!”
You know you’ve said one (or all!) of these phrases before. But if you find yourself saying it over, and over, and over again, maybe verbal feedback isn’t working?
That’s why I like to run the drill “Feel the Burn!” Players get immediate feedback that signals they are standing while passing the ball AS IT HAPPENS. Read More
After your players have developed their serving accuracy, it’s time to put their skills to work!
Depending on your team’s age and skill level, there are plenty of serving strategies to consider. We’ll review a few basic strategies, plus consider a few more to get your brain muscles flexing! 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
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? Read More
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. Read More
Passing is a skill which is unique to volleyball. There is no other sport where you run after a ball and use your forearms to pop the ball up in the air! There’s no catching, throwing, or (usually) kicking here, and that makes the concept of passing the ball entirely new to first time volleyball players.
Even players with a few seasons under their belt can struggle to pass to target consistently. That’s why I’m going to give you 4 tips to use in practice to reduce the number of shanked balls (you know, those ones that go flying backwards into the the stands) and improve your team’s overall passing skill. Read More
There are certain drills you run at practice throughout the season because they get your team moving, cheering, and they’re relatively easy and fun…
This is not one of those drills.
So, why would you want to read more? Because! This is a drill you only need to do ONCE and you’ll have a new team. This is a drill that inspires those *click* moments that I live for as a coach.
This drill is particularly effective at teaching young setters (think 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade) how to set along the net, instead of to the hitters. Read More
How many times have you gotten STUCK in a bad serve receive rotation? Either one of your players is having an off-day, or the server on the other team is just picking you apart. No matter what the reason, it stinks to be stuck there. Waiting, praying that the other team will just miss their serve and let you move on! Instead of trying the tactic of "wait and see," switch to being proactive!
This high rep serve receive drill will help your team understand the options they have when they can't get out of a certain serve receive rotation. Even better, if you coach them through it correctly, they'll often times make the change before you even realize it's time to switch things up! 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
Summer is officially underway and I've just finished up the second week of my volleyball club's camps! This last week we had a pretty young group (3rd through 6th grade) and I saw a LOT of hitting errors over and over again. There are a few simple solutions to some of the most common errors, and I wanted to share them with you! 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
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
This weekend I was working with young players (7th graders) during club volleyball tryouts. At this age, there are going to be a few players who stand out that have played club before or are just naturally athletic. There are also going to be a few people who have never played before and are just mimicking what they see others doing, even though they’ve had no formal training. My court was no different, and there were plenty of times I saw the opportunity to tweak a player’s movements or form to improve their performance. While this takes some one on one time with a player, it is definitely worth it to step aside for a minute or two and help them (read more at the bottom on why this can work to your benefit, even during tryouts). Read More
While I love creating my own drills, sometimes you just need to peruse the internet and find some new inspiration. Two weeks ago I was looking for high-intensity drills and found “Vegas.” While the title was intriguing, it didn’t really explain what the drill focused on. Strictly out of curiosity, I watched.
My initial reaction was that it looked fun, but was nothing too special. It had competitive elements to it that was something I felt my girls needed a big dose of, so I added it to our practice plan with 20 minutes dedicated to learning and finishing the drill. Read More