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Coaches Corner

lessons to teach

Lack of talk and effort

At every age, talk is important to emphasize! No matter how skilled a player is she can talk or move to a ball.  If players are not communicating individually or as a team, there should be consequences (in every drill except serving).  A good idea would be to “use block jumps, short court sprints, or spike approaches as a consequence for not talking or lack of effort”.

Build confidence

Show the athletes how to perform the skill properly. Use positive phrasing, for example, say ‘you use legs’ (instead of DON’T swing).  Say ‘keep your arm straight’ (instead of DON’T bend your arm to serve).  Using a don’t phrase has been proven to leave the athlete with the end message of ‘bend your arm’, discarding the do not.  It also does not tell them HOW to do the skill.  Tell them “DO ___.”  In addition, be precise:  don't just say nice pass, or good serve.  Instead, be precise in how or why it was “good”.  For example, “great way to keep your shoulders down on that pass” (focuses on how she got the good result not just the result).  Alternately, you could say, “great way to keep your serve low over the net” (telling them what the goal is, not just getting it over, but doing it well and with good form).

Improve anticipation skills (preparation is more important than actual contact)

This can be done if you start doing drills that require players to move to the ball and then perform the skill (even when first teaching skills).  In addition, whenever you have room have the first ball come from the other side of the net (this is more realistic to game situations).  Explain to the athletes what the opponents’ body position tells them about where the ball is going. Hypothetically, the player is at the end line setting the ball over:  should I anticipate it would be pushed short or deep to our side?  “Give hints and guided learning on how to read:  ‘Watch her shoulders’, ‘Do you see a pattern?’ Or ask, ‘Where would you hit that ball?’”

Say ‘Okay coach’, ask a question, or exaggerate it.  Don’t say “I know” as a player

Athletes need to be coachable if they are going to be good players and employees.  Teach your players to ask questions when they do not understand a drill.  Teach players to answer feedback with ‘Yes coach’ or ‘Okay coach, got it thanks’, (NOT I know). If they knew, they would be doing it differently.  If they think they are performing a skill correctly and they are not, you should ask them to exaggerate the skill:  for example, if you ask them to block line and they are not, have them put their outside hand outside the antenna (while practicing).  Get players to have confidence but understand there is always someone better than them and something more to learn or improve.

Ask questions and learn to teach yourself, learn from mistakes or bad tosses

Instead of jumping in and saying, “You swung your arms” or “You stood up” ask your players “What did you do on that one?” Or “How did your form differ on that pass than my demonstration?” Or best yet , “How can you have a better pass next time”? This helps them to focus on a controllable, the future, rather than dwelling on the past mistake. If your players can begin to explain to you why a result happened, they would be able to correct their mistakes on their own instead of just doing what you tell them.  Teach players how to respond correctly to mistakes.  Correct responses include what to say or how to react to a mistake (next ball), not looking at the coach for feedback after every mistake.  They need to learn to understand why the result happened, so coaches can respond, “What do you think happened on that swing?”  If the player does not know- we teach, i.e. you dropped your elbow, then next time this happens, or a few times later, the player can answer this question on her own.  Another way I like to help players learn to move on, is to enter a ball quickly after a mistake so players can’t walk to base, dwell on the mistake, or stay on the ground … you need to move on, get up, and play the next ball.

individual skill notes

How we ask you to teach each skill


This is the number one skill every player should know and utilize every drill.

  • We want our players to use the word mine (it is quicker than ‘got it’).  Also, we want players to call the name of the person they are passing to… (On a bad pass, especially, this gets the player closest to the ball to go for it and take responsibility helping with the second ball.)  We DO NOT want them using “mine up” because “up” is not a clear, helpful word; I see that you passed it up, now what?
  • In addition, when the ball is on the other side of the net we should be talking about its’ location. For example, first was the ball passed on or off the net?  Verbally identifying this can help players anticipate what is going to happen next.
  • ‘On’ (a ball passed close enough to the target that she has 2-3 options to set).  This tells the defense they need to be ready for a front row attack.
  • ‘Off’ (a ball the setter has to chase down, less than 3 options).  In this case, defense should be ready for a set outside or a free ball/attack coming from the back row.
  • Next, if the ball is on the net, defense should say “Dump, dump, dump”.  This gets the block knowing if they need to jump, and gets the left back ready to dig the setter attack.
  • After the setter sets, players should be yelling where the ball went.  For example, “Outside cross” or “Outside tight tip tip tip.”  Saying all of these things helps the defense to be on the same page and helps their feet to start moving.
  • Blockers should be saying “Outside ready up” so timing of the jump is in sync with the middle blocker.
  • Serve receive passers should be identifying what type of serve is coming and where the ball is likely to go.  For example, “Watch deep, float, 5-6” (meaning areas five or six on the court).  Or “Watch float, short, 2-3”.
  • They can also be calling out who has seams.  Seams are the area between two receiving players.  Between the left back and the middle back, the left has the seam. Between the middle and right back the middle back should take a ball in this seam because they are moving in the direction of the setter.
  • Once the ball is in the air players should be calling mine then the target’s name or “In, in, in, and the name of a teammate.”
  • Shaggers should be cheering on and encouraging teammates.  Talking as much as possible and cheering in drills makes practice more game like (we need to practice this energy). ALL of this communication is important and can take performance to the next level!! Starting this as early as possible (12 and under) and emphasizing communication even in warm ups (throwing the ball or peppering), helps communication become a good habit.


  • Start with the ball out in front of the hitting arm, with the hitting arm STRAIGHT up in the air (making a capital L).
  • Toss low and in front; we want toss-to-contact to be as quick as possible.  The less time the ball is in the air the less chance of error.
  • Palm to target and freeze (like a big high five).
  • Keep a strong wrist and hand on contact.  Even for younger players who have less power, teach them to get their straight arm to the ball as fast as possible to create power (instead of dropping their elbows and/or swinging with a different motion).
  • We want them to step or shift their weight to their opposite foot, not taking more than one “step”.
  • We focus on teaching a float serve; it is easier to serve a difficult float and a float is the toughest serve to pass.  To serve a great top spin, it takes more power and placement (top spin is easier to pass, at least as skill and age increase).


  • Left – right - left footwork (for right-handed server), small hop/jump
  • Short toss to quick contact
  • Steps start facing where they are serving:  serving should not be deceptive and it should not need to be if you have a good float.
  • Arm should still start straight up like a regular serve and remain straight through swing to contact. We do not teach steps coming from the side then squaring up (this takes away momentum/speed from the serve and makes it harder to serve certain spots due to less consistent tosses.


  • Help players figure out which foot they are comfortable having slightly in front and which is comfortable behind.  Once they have this figured out they should lead with the foot in front when shuffling forward and lead with the foot slightly behind when shuffling backward.  For example, shuffle forward leading with her right foot and shuffle backward leading with her left foot).
  • For a good serve receive ready position, shoulders should be in front of knees, knees bent and inside of toes; this puts weight on the balls of the feet.
  • Transfer weight from back foot to front when passing.  It should look and feel like a rocking motion. We do not teach lunging to the ball.  Feet should stay shoulder width apart with their lead foot slightly in front of the other- balanced weight transfer to front foot.
  • If they can’t face their target because it is a quicker serve or attack teach them to get their body behind the ball and turn the “steering wheel” or tilt their platform to the target (if hips turn toward the sideline, arms should stay within the body.  On the contrary, we don’t want them to pass and shuttle the ball toward the target, by moving their arms on contact.
  • Arms should be still and fully extended on contact.
  • Also, teaching players to use their hands on serve receive or free balls as much as possible speeds up the game, results in more control, and allows for players to cover more ground on serve receive.


  • In a defensive ready position, shoulders should be even lower than on serve receive; Knees should be bent further with arms between legs facing out toward the ball.
  • We teach a split step.  This is used after shuffling or transitioning; both feet hop outward to a comfortable position on the balls of their feet.  This should get the feet stopped and balanced ready to move to the ball or step into the pass.
  • Make sure their arms shoot outside their body instead of starting together and swinging their arms out to the side to dig a ball.


  • Penetrate the net, palms into the court.  Press over the net rather than higher above it.
  • Eye sequence (ball-setter-hitter-ball),
  • Read type of pass and hitters angle, surround the ball, and ‘grab’ the ball.
  • We do not teach swing blocking .  We teach open cross hop (push drive slant) or drive/step slant .  Arms should stay up in front of the body in order to keep players moving at a good distance from the net.  They should open their hips and lead with their hands.
  • Legs should always be loaded ready to jump.  Thumbs pointed up with fingers out to cover more space.


  • For outsides, you should approach from outside the court and behind the ten-foot line.  Middles should approach from behind the ten-foot line. A (right-handed) right side player should approach from INSIDE the court with their left hip to the net. This will help our hitters to protect their shoulders, be able to hit to all spots on the court, and transition faster from defense to offense.
  • Middles and outsides approach with hips facing the setter, not the net.  Right-handed right side should have their hips facing off the court to the right.
  • Make sure players land an arms distance from the net and hips are facing net ready to block.
  • Both arms should go up when approach jumping.
  • Left hand spots the ball. Right arm/elbow should stay high above their ear.
  • Long left, short and quick right left. Left, right, left approach (for right-handed players).


  • Have players, especially young ones, start by touching thumbs and pointer fingers together in the form of a triangle then separating their hands to eyes width apart.  This is how their hands should be ( thumbs back toward their forehead, flat, not sticking up).
  • Follow through to the ceiling, giving a high 10.
  • Legs loaded before contact with the ball.
  • See the whole court under the ball (ball high by hairline not down by nose).
  • Wrists should be like a trampoline (get the ball out of hands quick).
  • Feet left right, right foot slightly in front.
  • Setters should use efficient open cross hop/left-right footwork to move quickly back or off the net.
  • If coming off the net setters should get their hips back around to face the outside antenna (when setting the outside).
  • Setters should keep their hips parallel to the net when setting middles, rights, or back row, even when the pass brings the setter off the net, hips should get back to parallel (we do not want the setters back to the net).
  • Setters should transition all the way to the net and stay until they see where the pass went. Often times, setters leave the net and then have to move back toward the net for the pass - this can result in the setter getting hurt or hitting the net, which is a violation.  Make sure your setters get to the net so they only have to move forward, backward, or off the net.


  • Practice should teach discipline, starting with talking and effort.
  • Coaches should work hard to teach players run after the ball and hit the floor for the ball.
  • Coaches should demand players work hard to communicate on every drill, including warm ups. Talking and effort are expectations.  An example of lack of effort is not following the ball to the line.  If a ball drops by the end line and all three serve receive players didn’t follow it to the line they all must sprint to the net and back to the end line and yell ‘Out, out, out’, then serve receive practice continues.  If they don’t call mine and the setter or target’s name, they have five tuck jumps.  If the team misses two serves in a row, they have a down and back (everyone or everyone in the serving line).  If a ball drops on the court with no effort, all players on the court have five push-ups.  These aren’t skill based mistakes but lack of effort, communication, or focus.
  • Each day of practice should begin with a ball control drill and serving practice (drill ideas are provided at the end).  These skills are the most important skills in volleyball and therefore deserve some focus each day.
  • It is good to vary practice-to-practice drills, whether doing ball control or focusing on any skill. Varying what is done in practice each day keeps the players engaged and ready to learn.  I understand that some drills should be repeated more often than others should, but you should not be doing the same drill more than once a week.  Even if doing serve receive you can do butterfly, you can do servers vs passers, passers rotating with servers, etc.  Keep it interesting while working on the same skills by having a different focus within the same drill or choosing a different drill that works on the same skill.
  • It is good to do combination drills and drills that require movement, especially when first teaching skills.  After success moving long distances, players will learn to perform the skill quickly at a short distance.
  • When doing hitting lines, toss to setters from different spots on the court and at different heights, (this is more realistic to a game like pass).  Setters especially need to learn how to move long distances efficiently and set their feet (with legs loaded) before setting; therefore, tossing right to them is not helping them become good setters. ​​​​​​​

drill and skill ideas

Emphasize communication in all drills!

BALL CONTROL (P=passing specific, S=setting specific)

Cross Court Pepper (P/S/H)

Focus is on transitioning quick and low, stay sideline, and TALK! On/off, outside, cross, push, short,

deep, mine Natalie, call for set (‘4’ ‘5’) and continues

  • Diagonal passing. Passers start in the corner across from a tosser the tosser slaps then tosses the ball to her left, so the passer is shuffling up and to the right. The passer needs to get around the ball and pass back to the tosser.  Do both ways, then with setting.  Setters can run to the spot and get around.

  • Forward under net and back over net. Passer starts in front of ten-foot line opposite the tosser.  On the toss, the passer shuffles forward under the net and passes the ball.  Part 2: passers start at the ten-foot line on the same side as the tosser, on the slap they shuffle backward under the net (watching the ball) and pass the ball at the ten-foot line to themselves.

Square Drill

  • Passing to square on the wall on knees (focusing on flat platform), side to wall on knees (focusing on keeping arms within the body and dropping the inside shoulder tilting their platform toward the wall).  Standing (target higher) on single leg (using legs to squat and lift the ball), side to wall, switching left foot forward then right then left all while continuous passing to square target (feeling weight transfer and ‘rocking’ motion)

Short Long Passing

  • Moving together or one partner moves) then with setting

PONG Two Player Queens

  • Start with one contact per side, an overhand throw (The throw should use one hand and simulate the serving arm swing).  Next stage is one pass per side.  Then one pass, one set-need one of each.  Finally, pass set hit (need one of each order doesn’t matter).  This helps communication for example if you set the first ball you need to remind your partner to pass the second over.  This also works on aggressive free balls and seeing the court.  There are only two people; you need to find a spot to score.  During throwing, catch then throw from the spot you caught it, taking no steps, and using one hand to throw.  Cover for teammate.  Calling mine and their teammates name each time.

Popcorn with Self (above head, sit down stand up, etc.) (P)

  • Sit down stage really focuses on getting up fast so you can move to the ball

Passing Down and Backs

  • You and partner on the sideline. Pass to self, going down to the other sideline then back pass to your partner and they go. Each do 10 (20 total), then do the same with setting. Set down set high, turn, and set to partner (P) (S)

“GO” Pepper

  • Variations: three ppl switch on pass/dig, switch on set, switch on hit) works on decision making and communication between two players (P)

Pass, Set, Go

  • Pass and run under the net, next person sets and runs to the other side, the last person sets over to the first person.  The first person passes as the last person runs under.  The second again sets to the third person and that third person sets over to a new group of three. (P)
  • Works on ball control and not watching your pass, move on to the next ball.  Different variations: the person running over can call a spot, can sprint to end line first, or pass set drive.

Double Down Pepper

  • Digger digs, dives and digs again.  Then they receive a set.  They hit twice then set and dig again. This pattern continues…(P)
  • Important to get up fast

2 ball 10ft j-strokes

  • Running under the net, 20 passes (two ppl at each 15ft line tossing to 10ft line) (CONDITION)

Around the World Under the Net

  • Players with the ball at the opposite 10 ft. line.  Other partner at back 10ft line shuffles under the net to play a ball tossed right in front of the net then they shuffle back to 10ft line and back up to the next partner tossing.  This is like around the world but passers have the net to keep them low. You could also have the passer on the same side as the tosser and have the tosser toss behind the passer so the ball would land right in front of the net.  This would require the passer to shuffle backwards low with shoulders down so she does not run into the net.

Around the World Passing and Setting

  • Partner with ball at the net, partner without at the ten-foot line.  They will pass then shuffle right to the next tosser on and on until you get to the beginning again.  Then have them switch partners. Then go to the other direction shuffling, going to each tosser once or twice.  Then switch partners. Then do setting both ways. If target tossing the ball has to chase have players move to the next person with a ball to keep the drill moving.  (P) (S)
  • Works on short movements, shuffling (don’t cross feet), and staying low

Pass, set, set, switch

  • Two girls on each side of net, using half court or a third of the court, one or two balls, pass, set back, set over, keeping rhythm (P/S) Works on setting side to net

Rhythm passing: 10, 10, 10

  • In sync passing at ten-foot line to partner, then partner at the ten-foot line moves back 20-foot line after ten passes.  Everyone should be moving back together to the end line for 10 passes.  If they are out of rhythm, the team starts over at the ten-foot line. If a player at the net touches the net, the team starts over at the beginning.  Everyone needs to be on one side and starting the balls at the same time.  Good for team work, problem solving, and not getting frustrated with teammates. I have them count mine one, mine one, mine two, mine two
  • Mental

Circle pepper (one person in the middle)

  • The middle person always digs the hit/tip/roll. They pass back to the person who hit at them. That person sets the ball to the next person in the circle. That next person then hits, tips, or rolls the ball at the person in the middle who digs it back up to the hitter. The hitter then sets the next person in the circle. This continues around the circle until the passer in the middle completes two full circles without the ball dropping. (P/S)
  • Communication and digging different attacks

Four corner passing, either 2-4 balls

  • Toss the ball to person to your left.  She passes back to you, you pass back to her, she passes to you, and you pass it ‘over’ to the right-to the next corner.  That new person passes back, you pass to her, and she now pass over to the next person. You now follow the ball to the next line, as they continue the pattern.  You will pass the ball once to the left, once over, and once to the right before leaving.  Two balls need to start in opposite corners as you keep the passes in rhythm. If the ball drops, even out the lines, and start the balls at the same time again.  Each player in line should be looking toward her left for the next ball coming. (P)
  • Drill works on where your focus is. It should be on the ball coming not the one leaving

Free balls

  • Down ball / backrow attack to two passers (setters getting reps to coach on selected spot), down ball, to pass, then both passers cover, the one who passed the ball shags it the other transitions back for the next free ball.  Toss ball to self for down ball.
  • Works on covering the whole court for free balls and get perfect pass

Comm Passing

  • Person at net, person at 10ft facing net, passer running drill in back court.  Person running drill says short middle or short right or deep left (six options) passer back passes to passer communicating and running the drill.   The communicator passes the ball to the net.

Hopscotch Footwork

  • Lay balls out in pattern, shuffle to ball touch ball (low) fake pass, next ball… They will move up toward the net, sideways, and back down the next row of balls.  They should stay low enough to touch the ball without having to bend knees further.

Follow the Leader Passing

  • Pass deep partner in front moves back then they pass short so the first partner follows up short, this continues as you move around the net.  This can also be done sideways with partner at net and one at ten-foot line moving sideways around to other side switching places while the ball is in the air.

Pass with Self or with Partner

  • Pass to self, pass to self, tip to partner, pass set tip, pass set set, pass set knee pass, any variation that works on control of skills.


  • Pass 10 over the net all in a row, then set 10, then jump set, then pass drive, then pass set tip, if enough girls switching sides after they pass.  For pass set tip, last pass driver runs under the net and stays by the net to set the passer that passed on the other side they then tip and run under the net to set for the next passer. It needs to be continuous.  Each group of 10 needs to be completed without the ball dropping or they start over with passing; so if they have nine sets and the ball drops they start back at passing.  You could also raise expectations and if at five jump sets they pass then they start back at zero jump sets.  You do not want to punish effort so if the ball stays live they do not start all over they just restart that group.

Two ball passing

  • One rolls back and forth, stay low, the other is passed back and forth.
    Setting version chest pass one ball as you set the other
  • Focuses on staying low so can reach ball on ground, can have players move in sync one direction forward and back (good for shoulders down)

SETTING (start with movement drills)

Setter push-ups

  • Hold ball in hands and have partner push the ball into her hands.  Setter pushes the ball up and the partner pushes the ball back down.
  • Lie on stomach and push ball to partner overhead setting form (if tend to use one hand over the other, this helps you finish level).  You should see their thumb nails on the back of the ball.


  • Lining up hips to outside antennae, off the net and back (don’t backpedal), open cross hop (left/right) to get there fast.  Part two of video/drill is moving off the net to set outsides.  So ball tossed at ten-foot line and setter gets hips around to face the outside antennae to set; you could move on to setting middles, rights, or backrow on a ball at the ten-foot line as well (this was not in the video).  When setting any of these other positions from the ten-foot line we want their hips parallel to the net, not around facing the net and not back to the net, but setting off the right shoulder back toward the net for middles/rights.  For these first two parts have setters start at the net.
  • Next step: Transitioning back row to net then moving from their (stay at net until see pass)

Tipping / Dumping Practice

  • Single hand, vs double, forward and back options) skill to practice

Hands up …..

  • like they are going to set then last second move the hands out so the ball bounces off their forehead (getting the ball high)

Everyone’s a Setter

  • Line in right back. On slap transition to net and set target outside, move to middles, move to rights.

Pointer and Thumb

  • Just pointer setting against the wall (good ball control and form)

Quick as a cat (conditioning drill)

  • Four people per group.  Middle two face each other and the outer two face each other.  First sets to the third, the third to the second, the second to the fourth, and the fourth to the first.  The middle two should be close together like setting the middle.

Neutral position

  • Sit a foot from wall with back to wall, partner toss, set to partner, then toss set back against wall, then challenge--coach can call back or front so hands move last second
  • This works on hands staying neutral, not giving away where they are setting too early.  Also, keeping their back straight on backsets and using their hands to pop the ball back.

Setting middles

  • Have setters facing the wall a short distance away, when they set the ball shouldn’t hit the wall (this simulates keeping middle sets straight up)

SERVING / SERVE RECEIVE (S= serving drill, SR=serve receive drill, some free ball passing drills too)

Perfect 10

  • Start at about 10 ft. line top spinning to passer across the net, passer to target, target to other serving line (on same side as passer), so two serving lines and two passing lines.  Get 10 perfect all together, then from same spot do real serve (keep it tough but in to challenge team).  Get 10 good passes, then move back to serving line and serve until you get 10 good passes each side...

Pass or Drop (GREAT DRILL)

  • Throw ball over the net.  The passer moves her feet so the ball bounces between legs.  Variation: as the ball crosses the net , the person behind the passer says pass or drop.  The passer in the drill needs to react by letting the ball drop between her legs or keep her arms together and pass the ball.  Either way her feet need to be moving to align the ball with the center of her body.   link
  • Key: the tosser’s goal is to keep it low over the net like a serve.  If it lands in bounds, they should be able to move their feet and have the ball bounce between their legs. Shoulders should stay down arms just move apart.  Coaches can also check the balance of players’ feet; are they on the outside or on their toes.  They should not be jumping or lifting one leg. Passing position should be as described in earlier section.

Opening Up for Hard High Hit or Serve (rolling chair passing)

  • Sit on rolling chair and spinning to side dropping shoulder down so platform faces target-more advanced drill

Using Hands to Serve Receive Then Your Starting Position Can Be Up

  • Throw ball at head.  Strong fingers elbows bent just meet the ball don’t move arms (SR)

Tilt, keeping shoulders down when moving

  • (SR) work on this skill

Up Down Serve Receive

  • Person lay down.  On the toss passers get on their feet, feet just replace legs; shoulders stay down, and pass (SR)

Back Court Exchange

  • Three passers one setter each side hit backrow attacks.  This is a controlled continuous drill.  After hitting, the next person in line comes in for the hitter.

Reaction Passing

  • Throw ball at the wall.  The partner in the drill does not see when the ball is coming but has to react and pass (SR)

Warming Up Arms or Serving

  • Can split court in two and have two groups) 1-2 serves, passer and setter on other side.  Setter gets feet around, and sets the pass to a deep corner.

Distraction Serving or Pressure Serving

  • Everyone cheers for each person as they serve.  They each need to make one.  The team runs for misses.  Another option: after a water break, have each player serve three serves.  This gets serving into practice in a game like way that mimics a timeout. (S)

Five Minute Experimental Serving:

  • This gives players a chance to try different tosses for example toss it further out front; result, it went into the net (that’s okay how do I change my toss then) - link shared with above drill

Two Minute Serving

  • Two minutes just focus on serving ball over and in (count misses and run) then 2 minutes of area 1 and 5, 2 minutes for short serving, and 2 minutes for jump serving (S)

Serve on the Whistle: game like (conditioning)

  • They don’t have to serve on every whistle. After you serve, get your ball. Once you are at the end line wait for the next whistle and serve again. (S)

Poly Spot Server Tossing Game

  • Coach needs to place poly spot so it is like 2 feet in front of players. Of ten tosses how many do they hit on the poly spot how many miss? (S)

Serve, Run to Base

  • Optional transition for a set, play the ball and chase - repeat (conditioning) (S)

  • Quick as a Dog Passing Drill (get around the ball and face target) (P)

Servers vs Passers

  • Passers need 5 pts, servers need 8?, or whatever you decide.  An ace is 2pts, missed serve is -1. Passers score if good pass by using hands 2 pts, good pass 1 pt, ball drops with no effort back to 0

Serve Receive Drill Called Side Out

  • Need to win the pt. on serve receive to rotate.  To add challenge, if you win the SR you have to play defense against a hit.  If you win that, you get a free ball. If you win that, you rotate.  If you lose any of those balls, you go back to SR.


Run Throughs (stay on feet).

  • There should be a line at the end line.  First person lies on her stomach.  On the slap, she gets on her feet and runs low through the ball using a j-stroke.

Split Step in Place

  • Foot fire on slap split step then step into the pass

Split Step Side to Side

  • Begin by shuffling one way partner slaps, split step, then step pass

20 Digs

  • Hit cross-court half hitting, half digging, need 10 perfect then switch groups

Foot work back, hitters on box

  • Open cross hop, split step, and then move to ball
  • Cover drill: against the wall or bleaches pass set roll or tip, team must cover


  • Dig down the line, then up for a tip, then left back for a hit, then left front for a roll or hit, then run through right front chasing down the ball

Cone Footwork - In and out (CONDITION)

Group Forward - back, side, side (CONDITION)

2 touch ( CONDITION)

  • Two people on the court and a line on each sideline ready to come in.  Coach throws wild balls in all areas of the court.  The players need to chase the ball down.  They must use three hits to get the ball over and in.  The two partners continue until they are successful.

Stop Go Defense

  • Whenever contact is happening you should be stopped, then go after you see where the ball is going next.  One side with three people pass set hit.  The other side low shuffling to net, when ball is being played they need to split step stop (if not they go back).  After pass they shuffle until the setter is about to contact the ball then stop, on the set move then stop before hit.

Free Ball D

  • Two players on other side passing.  Line toss to self and top spin over.  Players need # perfect passes to be done.  You can start with a throw or have person 2nd in line toss to first person to pass free ball over.  The passer goes to the target and the target goes to down baller.

Coach Hit Over From Any Position

  • Ex:  outside two other players stand at the net with a ball in the middle and right side spots. The six on D defend the coaches outside attack and play it out.  If the outside is set the player on the other side of the net enters a ball immediately, the defensive players should be covering (this simulates the hitter being blocked and the team needs to cover)

Defensive position

  • Throw ball to side and shoot arms straight out, don’t elephant swing


50 Kill Drill

  • Add no tape, only line or cross, separate by position, or everyone hits).  Need 50 kills in 10-15minutes.  Coaches set a time.  Setters stay, servers rotate to the line set up by the right back sideline.  The three passers rotate to the left after each serve.  The left back would shag or if they were an assigned hitter, they would go left front, hit, then shag and go serve.  The team should rotate and serve quickly, but still cover each hit.

Toss Ball to Self

  • A foot from wall contact at arm height on the back of the ball (should make a loud sound).  Caution have them on a knee by the mats.  Reach and strong hand.

USING THE BLOCK (tip off, hit off, hit high off) skills to work on

Backrow attacks

  • Move feet around the ball line up as if you would serving, set or toss at the 10ft line, so attackers can approach to the ball.

Teach cut shot

  • ‘Throw’ line (keep hand high) (hula hoop for target) skills to work on

Seeing Block

  • If there is one blocker, hitter should hit. If two blockers, the hitter should tip.  Blockers could be on a box or holding up shovels.

Seeing Block

  • Use shovel. If the shovel is blocking line, hit cross. If the shovel is cross, hit line.

Hitting Lines

  • With one blocker, and one digger, digger shags and gets in line.  Setters stay.  This can be done on both sides.

Stay behind ball, fast approach (be aware of and work on)

Overpass Drill

  • Left foot back then right left- gather step) decide whether to set target, directional block or hit the ball depending on its distance from the net- same link as high low under blocking

Hitting Off Box

  • start by catching ball overhead (reach with both arms)


  • Start with weight on left leg, working on last two steps.  On third step hips around to the setter (practicing quick approach).

Tennis ball approach, and throw over the net.

  • This works on approach and reaching high.

Two Sides

  • Block, transition, approach/other side blocks, transitions, approach/repeat (CONDITIONING) This works on transitioning fast (don’t watch ball) and getting BEHIND 10ft line!



  • Slant, push slant, push drive slant).  Hands start up and stay up as moving.

Partner up

  • One partner hits into the other partners hands while standing on ground.  This works on strong hands, thumbs up, shoulders tight to ears.

Wall blocking

  • This works on footwork, staying off the net, and pressing hands over the net.

High Low

  • You, and partner with a ball at the net.  You jump to touch the ball then as you come down partner drops the ball over the net.  You need to turn to the side and get low to get the ball that drains down the block.

Person on box holds two tennis balls on their side of the net.

  • The blocker must jump and grab them, pressing hands over the net … then land, jump again and give them back.

Hat blocking 

  • Eyes stay on the plane of the net not looking up until after they found the hitter’s shoulder then they find the ball.  Eye sequence should be ball, setter, hitter, ball.

Two girls at the net one on each side …

  • Tosser behind blocker tosses ball above the net, girl opposite tries to hit, sweep, or set to target. The blocker is trying to read the hitter, get lined up, and block the over passed ball.

Show how to drop hand and stay low and tight (low and over is better than higher)


5 on 5 rotate

  • When ball goes over the net rotate spots.  Setters stay for the entire game in right back).  Middle back, left back, left, and right side, line coming in middle back.

  • Short court, ten-foot line pass, set, tip to score.  Must have three hits on a side.  Run to the end line after you play the ball.  Start with a set from behind the 10-foot line.

Pump Up the Volume

  • No one talk, then coach changes scrimmage to only setters talk, then coach changes to only libero vs libero, then all.  This shows how difficult it is when only one person is communicating, and also how much better the team will play once everyone talks (Communication)

Cheering Contest

  • Two teams.  Hitting lines (both receive a toss and hit) after the hit they return to the team and cheer. The louder team wins.  Each player gets at least 1 hit (works on being loud and having fun, if missed hit team gives positive encouragement, “you got the next one…”)

Two’s short court or half court.

  • Put up another antenna.


  • Two people on court each side: warm up, throw then one pass, then pass set (overhead), then pass set hit: queens style rotation
  • Whenever the ball hits the floor it counts as a point (don’t want points). If the ball rolls restart it with a toss. Set time for 10-15minutes. The goal is to have bounces left once time expires. This works on communication, effort, hustle, and control.

Kill It

  • Two balls in, control until lose one ball then you can kill the second try to score.

Competition Drill

  • Scrimmage but left vs left only lefts can score points, so on a kill or if left blocks the right their side gets a point.  Can do middle vs middle etc.


  • Game where player who makes a mistake gets the same ball again and needs to correction their decision or form if they cannot the first time another player takes their place.  That person would sit out until the next person in their position cannot correct their mistake.


  • Scrimmage but if do not call ball or mine the targets name, or ball lands without you hitting the floor someone takes your place as you run a down and back.

Points in a Row

  • Single person or team: scrimmage with each side or both lefts or each individual tracks how many points they personally score (depending on how coach wants them to keep track).  So if they score 4 pts then error start at zero try to beat 4

Bonus/Money Ball

  • Scrimmage with extra points for random ball pulled out of cart.  This adds extra pressure for the “special colored bonus ball”.

Start in the Frying Pan

  • Scrimmage but scores start at 12-12, 23-22, 20-20…come back, and win.  This puts pressure on the team to play together and work for important game breaking points.

Negative Scoring

  • Scrimmage, but points are taken away when lack of hustle, talk, or effort. Start at 15 points and play for 15/20 minutes (want points left at the end of time)

Score Flip

  • Scrimmage, but at any time flip the two teams’ scores (helps with being competitive and having intensity).  Be random about when you flip the score

Burpee Scrimmage

  • Each time your team loses the point everyone on your side has to do a burpee.  At the same time, coach already entered a ball to the winning side.  This is good conditioning and pushing past being tired in order to score.

Time ball in the air

  • 6 vs 6 pass set set or pass set roll/tip, set time (10-15seconds?) ball can’t drop (cooperative or competitive)
  • Works on effort and not letting the ball die

You Da Star

  • Two vs six the setter and hitter score they go to the other side as the two. If the two touch the ball, they stay in. This works on effort for the side of two and smart shots for the side of six.

SEE Block Tip / Hit Scrimmage

  • If two or more blockers form then must tip. One block then hit.

Softball Scrimmage

  • Coach tracks receiving team’s points by runs.  Servers need three outs then have the other side serve. “Out” when receivers’ error or serving team earns a pt.  An untouched ace “double play”, a block is double play.  “Home run” is a kill on first attempt.  “Triple” is a kill on a free ball.  Serve into the net is a “double” for the batting team.  A serve out of bounds is a “walk”.  “Triple play” if no one moves to ball.  “Stolen base” for extra hustle.  Once the serving team gets three outs the other team serves and needs to get three outs.  After both sides have got three outs have the servers rotate and continue through the “innings”.

Ducks in the Pond

  • Hitting game if you hit it out or in the net, you are a ‘duck’. Ducks stand on the other side of the net and try to catch a ball. If a duck catches someone else’s ball she is back in and the person that hit the ball is now a duck. If you want it harder tape = a duck. (H)

Blob or Reverse Blob

  • Blob one lays down and you try to hit them and get your whole team to the other side first. Reverse if you miss you are the blob and teammates have to serve in w/o hitting blob members. The last server to hit an open spot on the court wins.(S)

Chair Serving

  • You need one chair per side. Serve areas 1-6, starting with the chair in areas one. If the person in the chair catches the ball, they switch with the server and move the chair to the next spot on the court. First team done with all 6 spots win (S)

Setter Pong

  • Set over the net it needs to bounce once then you set it back. 10 ft. line is the boundary. If the ball bounces twice or you set it in the net or out the other setter wins a point. Play to ten. (Set)