Fun, easy passing drills for your 6th grade volleyball players that get them moving and playing the game.
With 6th graders, there are two main things coaches need to focus on when planning practice; building skill and having fun. At 6th grade, this is the time when many players are beginning the sport. Because of the complexity of the movements and the skills, without kids having prior knowledge of the sport this fact can challenge many coaches. Use these passing drills to get your players excited about the sport and willing to learn more from you. Passing Drill 1: Bridge
This is a good first drill of the season game. You have your players line up in two lines standing on the end line, with the line leaders standing in the middle of the court. Your job as coach is to toss a ball directly towards the player. That player then is supposed to move and make a "Bridge" over the ball so that it bounces between their legs. That player shags their own ball and brings it back to the coach, and the coach just tosses back and forth between the lines.
What is the point of this drill? The players work on judging and moving to the ball, and have a good time doing it. The way they position themselves for the ball (stance wide and knees bent) is how they would move if they were actually passing a ball. Once everyone goes through 4-5 times and is comfortable, make them move just a little bit from side to side so they really have to work on moving.
Do this another 4-5 times and end the drill. It's fun, but it does get old after everyone gets the hang of it. This drill can also be used throughout the season if you find your team is struggling to move their feet or get to the ball.
Passing Drill 2: Triangle Pass
This drill can be used throughout the season and the players will get better and feel more confident in their skills when they see the progress they make in this drill. The players get into groups of three and stand in a triangle, and then pass the ball around clockwise. Have them count how many times they can go around the circle. Make it competitive but still team oriented by seeing who can beat their highest by the most. Add another dimension by asking the groups to change directions every 10th touch.
This drill helps the player learn to receive a ball coming from one direction and then pass it in another, instead of just back to where it came from like with most passing drills. This will really be useful in game situations.
Passing Drill 3: Fetch
This game is fun because it challenges your players. Your team will stand on one sideline and two players will be on the court. This game simulates the situation of a shank (bad pass) on the first contact, and now it is up to the other two teammates to get the ball back into play and over the net. The coach will be the one to toss a "bad pass" either to the sides of your players, behind them, or really close to the net. Behind is usually what happens in game, so that's where I like to toss the most. The first player CANNOT get the ball over the net by themselves. They need to pass it to the other player, who then sends it over.
Later in the season if your team had success with this drill already, I like to add a challenge to the drill. I like to add points. 0 points if the ball doesn't get sent over, 1 point if it gets over from a pass or set, and 2 points if the ball is hit over, like a downball. This will get your players talking and trying harder because they want points, and it will make them be aggressive, not just settle for sending the ball over.
PANCAKERS: Are there any more fun, easy drills to run that your 6th graders love? How do you make them more challenging as the season goes on?