Some of the greatest overlooked skills in volleyball are the tip and the chip shot. After a beautiful pass and a perfect set, a crowd will go nuts to see the ball smashed to the floor. But a well-placed tip which still results in a kill? It will get applause, but not the crazy jumping up and down from the masses.
And that's too bad. There have been countless matches where my front row will get blocked, dug, and just plain hit the ball out of bounds trying to avoid a rock-solid defense. The trick here is to realize that a great defense for these attacks often has a weak spot, right around the blockers or in the middle of the court. The only way to get to these places efficiently? A tip or chip. Practicing these skills can be a challenge because your players will often want to work on attacking the ball and hitting as hard as they can. Convincing them to stay engaged in a drill which works on lightly striking the ball or even just redirecting it is a tough sell. Unless! You have the tip and chip game!
Here's how it works:
1. The court is shrunk: The lines are now the sidelines and the 10' line (to make it smaller and get more girls involved, you can even cut this in half down the center and have two games going at a time).
2. Team sizes can be anywhere from one on one on a half court, to six versus six on a full court (though it can get a bit crowded at the upper limit).
3. Teams will rotate and pay just like a normal game of volleyball, but since the court size is reduced, the players will be forced to change their typical attacking style from a full swing to a chip or tip.
4. To serve, players can either hit the ball overhand, or they can set the ball.
5. Keeping score is optional. If it is one of the first times you are playing the game, I suggest not keeping score as this can detract from the learning components. If you are in the middle or towards the end of your season and need to work on tipping and chipping, keeping score could be a good motivator.
This game can be used either as a warm-up or as a skill-related drill. I have found the best use of this drill to be a warm-up for my girls. If they arrive to practice early, this is what they do until practice begins. They get moving, but not so much that they need to stretch beforehand. And the consistent work on these skills means they are more likely to utilize these attacks when necessary and be comfortable in their abilities.
New to coaching? Check out Coaches Resources for free print-outs and links to some of my favorite practice equipment (plus information on "Coaching Volleyball: A Survival Guide for Your First Season")!
Pancakers: While tips and chips may be overlooked by crowds, these attacks can shake up another team's defense, and even break down another team mentally. By using one of these attacks, you are giving your team a better opportunity to score and win the match! What other drills do you have which help your team work on these skills?