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.
I was shocked at how much my girls loved this drill.
Not only did it get them talking, it got them diving for every ball, playing hard to win each point, and celebrating even small victories. Now, this didn’t happen right away. The drill took about 10 minutes for them to learn and understand (yes, I realize that is a long time), but once they got it, it was on like Donkey Kong.
Here are a few surprises this drill revealed:
- My quiet players got ridiculously loud and pumped up.
- My “starters” (I don’t have set starters, but I do have players with higher ability that I play in tight situations) had a hard time dealing with being behind.
- There was one point where a rally lasted almost 10 volleys back and forth and included diving, rolls, hard swings, and constant yelling. It was for the first point. This was unheard of for my team.
- The attitude of my “starters” when they lost was overcome by the enjoyment my other players gained from the drill.
- The drill lasted about 40 minutes. We played until the end of practice because the girls were playing at such a high level and dripping sweat, while still having fun.
- This drill is requested every day of practice (no, we don’t play it every day. But I offer it up as a reward on occasion).
You’re probably dying to see what this drill looks like, aren’t you?
Here’s the video:
The video demonstrates the key principles well, but here’s a quick recap:
- Setup 6 vs 6, with players starting in base positions.
- 5 freeballs are thrown out, alternating sides (regardless of who wins the point).
- The teams keep track of how many rallies they win. For example, the far side wins 3 rallies, and the near side wins 2.
- The team who wins the most rallies (in this example, the far side) gets the “moneyball,” which is just another freeball.
- Whoever wins the rally with the moneyball gets to keep the point they earned, while the losing team remains at their previous score.
- I then start the next freeball with the team who won the moneyball. This begins another round of 5 freeballs.
- The goal is to get to (or exceed) 21 total points, but you can play for time or to a different amount.
This is a great drill to show the importance of every point and to get your players used to playing under pressure. Even if a team is down 0-5, by winning the moneyball they can stop the other team from getting 5 points.
Pancakers: Have you played this drill before, or ran drills similar to it? How did it work for your team? What age level do you coach? Try it at your next practice and let me know what it does for your team!