Anyone that has played volleyball knows that the fundamental skills take practice, practice, practice. But we can’t always be near a court or a net, meaning that volleyball players of all ages need to get creative from time to time. For these drills, all you need is some space, a good wall, and most importantly, your parent’s permission! As with practicing anything, mistakes are likely to happen, so making sure that you remove any dangerous or fragile objects is crucial, not to mention the potential noise.
Setting is crucial in volleyball. Just like the alley-oop pass in basketball, placement of a set can make or break whether the spiker is earning your team a point or looking a little silly. For many coaches, the setter is going to be the most important player on your team for a variety of reasons. They’re involved in nearly every play, they help establish your offensive rhythm, and can often help negate a bad pass. Setters often end up being one of the leaders on the squad, so being the best at your craft is key to your team’s success!
Setting to yourself should already be part of your routine while at the court, but at home you can make it even more interesting.
- Start by doing mini sets a few inches away from the wall. Do 50 mini sets without losing control.
- Move back to about three feet and do another 50 consecutive sets.
- Move back to 10 feet and repeat.
- Once you’ve become comfortable at each distance, begin moving back and forth between the distances without stopping your sets. This will force you to get comfortable with most of the distances you’ll face during a match. Practice in sets of 50, then 100, then up to 1000.
- Advanced technique: During your sets, try laying down and getting back up without stopping your rhythm.
Volleyball is an emotional rollercoaster to both play and watch, and serving often dictates the pace during each point. A good server can throw off your opponent’s rhythm and hurt their confidence. But to do that, you need accuracy, which means you’ll want to be practicing at every opportunity you get.
- First, get your parent’s permission. Serving can get loud when you’re hitting against the wall!
- Find a roll of blue painter’s tape and mark a line at seven feet or 7’4” (depending on age). Ideally, this should run the length of a volleyball net (9 meters) but give yourself a minimum ten-foot wide target. The side of a garage is going to work best, but any wall is ultimately going to be fine, as long as breakable objects are moved out of the way.
- Make an “X” at about ten feet up with painters tape. Start practicing your serve hitting this X at about ten feet away.
- Once you’re feeling confident, move to 20 feet away and continue target the X.
- At 30 ft, practice your serve by targeting just above the net line. Your serves should never be below the line. Mix it up by practicing float serves, underhands, jump serves, overhands, and round houses with varying speeds.
- Advanced technique: Once you’ve developed your serve to the point where you’re consistently over the net, place multiple “X’s” along the wall between eight and ten feet high. Target these with each of your serves and shoot for dead center.
If players on a volleyball team can’t pass, you might as well go home. Passing is both a defensive and offensive skill, requiring good reaction skills, great hand eye coordination, as well as the ability to think ahead. The best volleyball players have passing down to a reflex, built up from thousands of hours of practice and muscle memory. Try the following drill at home to improve your control and also get in a good workout.
- Just like juggling in soccer, practicing passing at home is going to be pretty simple. Simply start by serving or passing to yourself directly up into the air about 10 to 15 feet. Keep passing to yourself until you can consistently hit 10 to 15 passes in a row without scrambling around too much.
- Once you’ve gained consistent control while remaining still, set up a straight line for you to go from A to B. Walk back and forth between the points while continually passing to yourself.
- Try passing to yourself while running or skipping.
- Try passing to yourself on an obstacle course of your choosing.
- Advanced technique: Bring back out the blue painters tape and make a square against the wall around 10 to 15 feet high. Serve against the wall and then pass back to the square repeatedly. Making passes at an angle will force you to shuffle back and forth, making this an excellent opportunity to work on your footwork and ball control.
What are your favorite volleyball drills to do at home? What about other sports? Let us know in the comments below.
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