volleyball drills

In the game or sports of volleyball, drills are performed and these volleyball drills are used mainly for the purpose of enhancing many performance factors. Some of the performance factors being enhances are ball control, footwork, timing on approach jumps or blocks. Every coach and player must understand the essential importance of training with purpose and not just training. A drill can be performed to involve a player’s skills at passing or hitting, or it may just be to fix a looming problem in the team.

These drills are especially specialized exercises used to enhance teams and the players in the teams in their volleyball playing skills. There are so many volleyball drills that teams and players can employ to improve their skills by developing it further. This they can do to help them in game areas such as blocking, digging, attacking, setting, passing, and serving.

If you are a beginner volleyball player, don’t be afraid. These volleyball drills for beginners are rather easy to perform such that even you can perform them. From the beginners’ stage to the well-seasoned players, these drills have the ability to help players gain repetitions in their various skills and positions. The more the repetitions a player has, the more seasoned he can be in his game.

Before we look at the drills, let us look at some of the benefits of performing drills with purpose.

The Benefits of Volley Drills with Purpose

1. Rather than a player just going through the motions like a zombie, he will be able to build an interest in the training and perform the drills wholeheartedly.

2. These drills are very important when it comes to habit development. Players have to be constantly and consistently focused on how they perform their volleyball drills so that they can do them correctly. If they are able to do this i.e. if they can successfully focus on their game during these drills, then focusing on the actual game during the real competition wouldn’t be a challenge because the drills would have help improve their focusing ability.

3. If the coach of the team can adequately set goals and set each drill with a specific focus, the players will be able to grasp a better understanding of when to move on in their game or when to make some necessary adjustments so they can get the best out of their training.

The Categories of Volleyball Drills

Volleyball drills can be broken into three major sections namely: skill and movement specific drills, tactical, systematic, strategic drills, and the volleyball conditioning specific. Let’s take them one after the other.

Skill and Movement Specific Drills

Volleyball movement and skill drills are known to be the most common types of drills among players. So many coaches use this drill a lot and cause their players to perform as such. These drills are designed for the main purpose of helping the players get enhancement in their volleyball skills by them repeating each drill. It is of utmost importance that the purpose of these drills is to develop the players’ block and setting skills. Skill and movement drills are different from the conditioning drills.

Apart from this, every player must understand that the specific goals of each drill and what skills they need to pay their attention to is very important. Repetition helps you develop your skills through practicing and repeating each drill with a purpose of getting better at your game. If beginners are being drilled, the focus should be on performing the drill with the proper technique. This is because they are at the ripe stage and if they are not fed right, they will suffer when they get to a point.

Understand one important fact: every moment you spend on the court matters, whether you are practicing or you are in a competition, or you just feel like playing a pickup game. This is because everything you do can either help you create or build up on your habits, or it can destroy it. So, it is better to develop the correct skills at the early stage of your game. That is, learn the correct skills when you first start playing the game because it will be much difficult later on to change technique. Habits die hard.

Types of Skill Specific Drills

Setting Drills: this is a popular drill with an even popular method of drilling known as the ‘front-back challenge’. This drill’s major purpose is to get the setter comfortable with adjusting to last minute directions as to where to set the ball. It also helps to practice always how to set the ball to any of the front row hitters – that is, outside, middle, or at the right side.

The rules of the front-back challenge:

  • The setter has to be in zone 2;
  • Players should be positions as targets in the outside hitter, middle hitter, and right side hitter positions;
  • The coach then tosses the ball to the setter or, at the coach’s discretion, a passer is the one who passes the ball to the setter;
  • Then the coach yells out ‘front’ or he calls out ‘back’. This he should do before the ball reaches the setter. If the coach calls out ‘front’, the setter is expected to set the ball before him or herself to either the middle hitter or to the outside hitter. On the other hand, if the coach calls out ‘back’, the setter is expected to back set the ball to the right side hitter;
  • Lastly, the setter is made to complete 30 set balls in the right direction.

Blocking Drills: this is the second of the two types of the skill specific drills. The art of blocking in volleyball is a key component of the game. It is the first line of defense against any attack that will be thrown by the opponent. The blocking drill is that drill that allows the players to work on their blocking skills. The blocking skill is termed ‘blocking various attacks’ and it is set up for the main purpose of teaching blockers how to block the series of attacks their team will experience from the opponents’ are of the court.


The rules governing ‘blocking various attacks’ are:

  • Position three different blockers on one side of the net, one at the left front, another at the middle front, and the last one positioned at the right front;
  • Then the coach stands on a large block across from the net in the front row and directly across from the blockers;
  • After this, the coach slaps the ball and then turns and raises his shoulder such that it is facing the angle of any of the blockers and then he hits the ball;
  • The blockers are then expected to insert their hands over the net to block the attack. Should it happen that the coach is angled towards the outside, then the outside blocker and the middle blocker should work together and block the left side. But, if the coach should angle towards the middle, it is expected of the middle blocker to block. Whoever is playing is also allowed to used three blockers – known as the ‘triple block’ – i.e. the middle blocker, outside blocker, and the right side blocker to block the middle front attack by working together. So that if the coach angles towards the right hand side, the blocker on the right side and the middle blocker will put up a double block on that side of the net where the coach is angled – the right hand side.
  • For the drill to look more game-like, the coach should be replaced on the block with a real setter and three hitters positioned on the other side of the net.
volleyball hitting drills

The Tactical, Systematic and Strategic Drills

The tactical, systematic and strategic drills are usually involving different combinations of playing skills. These drills focus on the team’s execution of a game play. As a result, they seen as the most effective drills especially when they are performed after the players have been able to develop their individual skills of playing the volleyball. Coaches usually have very different mindsets when it comes to the strategy of playing. It is no news that players differ from each other; they have their different talents, strengths and weaknesses. These differences are what make the teams unique. As a result, these drills are usually different from one team to another.

However, it would be a wise choice if the coach runs his team through unique and different drills which are not what the players are used to performing. These fun volleyball drills often initiate creativity in the players thereby helping them in avoiding volleyball player burnout in which every volleyball player is prone to.

Communication and cooperation in a team is indispensable. Every volleyball team needs drills perform by the whole team which are set to help the training of players’ interaction with one another. This is as a result of the fact that these drills involve the players having to call to one another either to call for a ball to be passed or to call to attackers on where to hit. Team communication is essential and vital to the team’s success.

Volleyball Conditioning Specific Drills

The designing of volleyball hitting drills can be with a focus on good volleyball conditioning. As one of the purposes of drilling in a team, if the coach chooses this as one of the purposes for drilling his team, he needs to aware of the energy the drill will need. The energy needed for drills may reduce the performance of the drills especially if they are done with the proper skill technique. It is a common practice for teams to perform volleyball conditioning drills in the off-season and before the seasons start instead of during the season. This is because the proper skills for the execution of the drills are less important when the season is on. Training volleyball skills and conditioning are best done separately when the season has already started.

 Look at this for an example; during their game’s season, a team works on sharpening their passing skills during practice when they are refreshed and have not been stressed out. They have separate times for practice and also a separate day for conditioning. It is obvious that this team has already been taken through the proper volleyball conditioning technique when there was no game in sight – that is, during their off season – and before the season started, that is the pre-season. Hence, they will have a much bigger edge over the teams who didn’t go through the drills they went through. This team is in good volleyball condition and all they will need to do is just to work to maintain their level of conditioning which is already high allowing for a much easier time in sharpening their skills and working on team tactics and strategy unlike the other team whose players are out of shape and are trying to get their conditioning drills done when the season has already started.

Other Drills Apart from Blocking and Setting Drills

Apart from the blocking and setting drills we have;

Serving Drills: these volleyball serving drills are done in different ways one of the ways being the ‘around the world’ drill. The around-the-world drill is a serving drill set up for the purpose of getting players to practice how they will serve to all the six different zones on the court. The ability to serve and target any are on the court is a very valuable skill for any player on any team. It especially comes in handy when players are playing their opponents.

The rules that govern the ‘around the world’ drills are that:

  • The whole volleyball team is divided into two teams; half of which goes to one side of the court either the right hand side or the left hands side, while the other half goes to the opposite end of the court;
  • Then, each half of the team is expected to choose a person to represent them on the zone 1 side of the court in which they will be serving the ball to. The chosen player will sit in this zone 1;
  • After they representative has been chosen to sit in zone 1, the teams start to serve to zone 1 on the court for their teammate who then catches the ball;
  • As soon as the teammate sitting in zone 1 on the court has caught the volleyball, the other teammate in zone 1 will run to the other side of the court where his other teammates are, and then another teammate runs to the other side of the court and sits in zone 2;
  • When the player sitting in zone 2 also has caught the ball, the steps above are repeated. This cycle continues until the sixth teammate has sat in zone 6 on the court and has caught the ball also;
  • Whichever one of the teams was able to serve the six zones on the courts first and have their teammates catch the ball, they are declared the winners of the drill.

Serve and receive vs passing drills:  the servers versus volleyball passing drills is that drill which gives the teams who partake in it the opportunity to put their drills and receiving skills to practice. The main essence of the drill is to help improve their skills as passers and also encourage a serving that can be termed ‘aggressive’. The rules by which the serve versus pass drill is run are:

  • Three players are selected from the team to act as passers. These selected players (passers) then move to the areas 1, 6, and 5 on one side or end of the court;
  • A target is nominated and positioned in the setter position which is the second area (area 2) on the court;
  • Then, the remaining players in the team will act as servers and they will position themselves on the other side of the court – direct opposite side of the passers. The servers are to serve to the players on the other side of the court;
  • Then, the passers pass the served balls to the target situated in the position of the setter;
  • The drill’s goal is simply to pass directly to the target placed in the setter position. And, the pass must be done within a one-foot radius of the target. If the players passing are able to pass the served ball within the required one-foot radius of the target, they are said to have made a good pass. As a result, they get a point;
  • On the other hand, if the passers are unable to pass the ball within that one-foot radius of the target or if the server gets an ace, then the servers get a point.
  • Whichever one of the teams or groups i.e. the servers or the passers is the first to get to ten points or whichever point value the coach choose wins the drill.

Digging Drills: these set of drills is one of the key components in drilling and practicing. It is the second line of defense against a looming attack of a team by their opponent in the course of playing the sport of volleyball. This drill allows the players in the various teams that perform them to hone in their defensive digging skills. The act of honing the defensive digging skill is termed the ‘digging drill’ and its major purpose is to get players to practice the absorption of the ball. The rules by which the digging drill is done are:

  • Three players are positioned in the back row defense positions in the right back, middle back, and left back areas on the court;
  • Another player is made to stand in as a target and to sit in the position of the setter;
  • The coach then positions himself on that same side of the court either in the front left or the front right position of the court. He must be in a position such that he is facing the three back row defensive players.
  • Then, the coach is expected to hit the balls down at various speeds and directly to the back row players;
  • The back row players, to play their part well, will have to dig the ball and get it to reach the target player sitting in the setter position.
volleyball drills

How often should Volleyball drills be performed?

For maximum results, the volleyball drills are supposed to be progressive. Players will need to perform these fun volleyball drills progressively and consistently. It all depends on how experienced thy are though, and also how many years they’ve had in training. The act of drilling ranges from learning an individual skill to learning many combinations of skills like the blocker pulling of the net and taking an advanced approach to hit the ball. Drills are not to be abandoned because they are found to be difficult to be performed. As the drilling continues, the difficulty in drilling will progress as the players progress. This means that if it happens that you are performing a drill involving you making a pass and then taking an approach to hit, let’s say that the focus of the drill is to execute an effective attack and you are lacking in your passing skills, then the focus of the drill will be to make you into a better passer nearing perfection.

Drills can turn into passing drills if the purpose of the drill is to develop the player’s hitting skill. So therefore, it is of utmost importance and indispensable fact to not that volleyball blocking drills should be adjusted to match with the ability of each of the players in the teams. If the drills are performed with the most focus, repetition and progression will save a lot of energy and time.

 Players, teams, and coaches should engage in volleyball drills purposefully and with intent. Also, passion is needed. If you have a passion for something, there is no way you will not give you attention to it.