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15 Best Volleyball Drills to Maximize Athlete Performance

15 Best Volleyball Drills to Maximize Athlete Performance

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Whether you’re coaching a group of aspiring beginners or honing the skills of seasoned players, our round-up of volleyball drills aims to address your coaching needs. This blog aims to explore a diverse range of drills designed to enhance agility, power, technique, and overall game proficiency.

We have outlined 15 basic volleyball drills that are simple to coach yet will have a profound effect on your team’s performance.

Volleyball Passing Drills

1. Passing Ladder

  • Have three players stand on one side of the net with their backs to it. These will be the tossers.
  • Have an additional three players line up in a single file line. These will be the passers.
  • Passer A will start by passing the volleyball to Tosser A.
  • Tosser A will return the ball to Passer A, who will then pass the ball to Tosser B.
  • Once Passer A has received the ball from Tosser C, have the next player in line (i.e., Passer B) start the circuit.
  • Note: Double up on this drill, having 3 passers and 3 tossers run through the exact same motions on the other site on the court.
Passing ladder volleyball drill

Passing ladder drill

What does this volleyball drill teach? Hand-eye coordination and lateral movement. Passers will have to keep an eye on the ball as they shuffle laterally, taking turns passing and receiving the ball from each tosser.

2. Shuffle Passing

  • Have all players line up in a single-file line directly across from the coach.
  • Serve the ball to the first passer, either serving the volleyball to the left or right.
  • The passer will have to quickly follow the ball and return the pass.


What does this volleyball drill teach? Speed. Players will have to be quick on their feet, making it to the appropriate side of the court in time to return the ball.

3. Pipeline Passing

  • Pair players together for this drill. Each passer will stand in between two pylons facing each other. Note: The pylons will be 10 feet apart.
  • Passer 1 will pass the ball to Passer 2, shuffle to the left, touch the pylon, and then shuffle back to the middle of the pylons: all before Passer 2 returns the ball back to the passer.
  • Once Passer 1 reaches the middle of the pylons, they will pass the ball to Passer 2, who will do the same (shuffle to the left side, touch the pylon, and shuffle back to the middle).


What does this volleyball drill teach? Endurance. Players will need to maintain a good pace, running to the ball before it drops and not tiring too quickly.

Volleyball Serving Drills

4. Serving Around the World

  • Split the court into 6 zones.
  • Divide up your athletes into two teams, forming a single file line on each side of the court.
  • Goal of the drill: The first team to successfully serve the ball into all 6 zones wins.
  • Players on each side of the court will take turns serving, moving to the back of the line after they have taken their turn.

Tips:

  • Zones don’t have to be hit in ascending order. However, to make it harder, you can tell players they must hit Zone 1 first, Zone 2 second etc..
  • Rotate the type of serve (overhand, underhand, and jump) as each player makes their way to the “serve” position.


What does this volleyball drill teach? Aim and accuracy. Players will have to work on hitting the ball into a target on the court.

Serving around the world volleyball drill

Serving around the world drill


5. Serve Competition

  • Divide your player into two teams, with one player on each team going first as the server.
  • Goal of the drill: Hit 12 serves (as a team) landing in-bounds on the other side of the court.
  • Each team will rotate through players, taking turns serving.
  • To make this drill more challenging, the coach will shout out what type of serve the player has to achieve before each round commences.


What does this volleyball drill teach? Aim. To hit 12 successful serves, players need to focus on hitting the ball with intensity to get it over the net and in bounds.

6. Run and Serve

Set up:

  • 4 players will be placed on each side of the court.
  • Place volleyballs equal distance between each other on the baselines of the court.
  • 8 feet behind the volleyballs, place four pylons beside each other.


Drill:

  • 4 players will start standing directly behind the volleyball.
  • On the coach’s whistle, players will sprint to the pylon and back to the volleyball.
  • When they reach the volleyball, they will pick it up off the ground and attempt to make a successful serve.
  • If a player makes a successful serve, swap in another player for the next round. If a player doesn’t make a successful serve, they will have to participate in the drill again (until they make a successful serve).


What does this volleyball drill teach? Endurance. Players will need to make a successful serve following a sprint.

Run & serve volleyball drill

Run and serve drill

Volleyball Hitting Drills

7. Wall Balls

Set up:

  • Put two pieces of tape on the wall.
  • Depending on the average height of your players, place one piece of tape at 6 and one piece of tape at 8 feet.


Drill:

  1. Have players line up in a single file line.
  2. The first player will stand about 10 feet away from the wall.
  3. Player 1 will hit the ball to the ground (aiming it at the ground between them and the wall).
  4. Goal of the drill: Each player will hit the ball with enough force so that they hit the 6 and 8-foot tape markings.
  5. Once the first player has hit both tape targets, move on to the next player in line.


What does this volleyball drill teach? Power. Players must hit the ball with enough force so that it bounces to a target on the wall.

Volleyball free trial

8. Squat Balls

  1. Have players partner up for this drill. One player will start in a squatting position (around 1 foot away from the net) and one player will start as the server.
  2. The player in the squatting position should have their feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly out, hips below the knees, and knees bent.
  3. The player in a squat position will be served the ball, which the player will then have to jump up and attack the ball, hitting it over the net.


What does this drill teach? Explosiveness. Having a player start in a squat position will teach them to explode upwards with a lot of force to successfully hit the ball over the net.

9. Approach and Spike

Set up:

  • The coach will stand 1 foot away from the net.
  • Players will line up in a single file line, taking turns working on their approach and spike.


Drill:

  • Players will only be able to take three steps forward (they will have to carefully judge how far back from the coach they want to start).
  • As the player is approaching the coach, the coach will throw the ball in the air and the player will attempt to spike it over the net.
  • After rotating through all the players, the coach can stand 2 feet away from the net and repeat this drill.


What does this volleyball drill teach? Strategy and footwork. Because players only have three steps before they can spike the ball, they must determine how big their steps need to be to make contact.

Volleyball Blocking Drills

10. Swing Block

Set up:

  • Place two attackers on one side of the net facing forward. One will be to the far right and one will be to the far left of the net.
  • Place one blocker on the other side of the net, standing in the middle of the court.
  • The coach will stand behind the two attackers.


Drill:

  • The coach will toss the ball to either the left or right attacker.
  • As the attacker makes a move, the blocker will have to perform a swing block to negate the attack, either moving quickly to the left or right to block the volleyball.


What does this volleyball drill teach? Footwork. A swing block requires the blocker to use specific footwork (usually a 3-step crossover) to help them gain more height and momentum in their block.

Swing block volleyball drill

Swing block drill


11. Side-To-Side Blocking

Set up:

  • Place two attackers on one side of the net.
  • One attacker will be to the far right and one will be to the far left of the net. Note: Each attacker will always have access to a volleyball.
  • Place one blocker on the opposite side of the net, directly across from the attacker on the left side of the net (1 foot away from the attacking line).


Drill:

  • To start, Attacker 1 on the left side of the net will serve the ball.
  • The blocker will approach the net, jump up, and successfully make a block.
  • Just as the blocker has negated Attacker 1, Attacker 2 will serve the ball.
  • The blocker has to then laterally shift to the other side of the net, jump up, and block the ball.
  • Once the player makes three successful blocks in a row, you can then assign a new player to be the blocker.


What does this volleyball drill teach? Agility. The blocker will have to move fast between attackers to successfully block all volleyballs served their way.

Side-to-side blocking drill

Side-to-side blocking drill


12. Shadow Wall Jumps

Set up:

  • Place 5 targets side-by-side on a wall using tape.
  • Targets can vary in height (between 8 and 10 feet depending on the height of your players).
  • Have your players line up in a single file line.


Drill:

  • The first player will move laterally, jumping up to hit each target on the wall (pretending as if they were blocking a ball).
  • To successfully “block the ball,” players will have to touch each target on the wall with their fingertips. Note: Players’ hands should be tilted so their thumbs are facing upwards toward the ceiling.
  • To make this drill more challenging, set a time limit. For example, a player will only have 15 seconds to move laterally and “block the ball” at each of the 5 tape targets.


What does this volleyball drill teach? Height. Without using a ball, players will have to focus on jumping high enough to reach the tape targets.

Volleyball Agility Drills

13. Box Jumps

Have your players stand about one foot away from a foam box. As athletes jump up, they will need to bend their knees and swing their arms behind them to land in the middle of the box.

What does this drill teach? Explosiveness. Players will have to explode off their feet to jump up and land in the middle of the box.

14. Lateral Shuffle

Players will place a medium resistance band around them, above their ankles. Players will then shuffle 4x to the right and 4x to the left, working against the resistance band to maintain speed and power.

*Have players run through this drill 12-15 times in a row.

What does this drill teach? Stamina. Players will have to maintain proper speed and position in a lateral shuffle, without overworking their bodies through the numerous reps.

15. Lateral Med Ball Side Slams

Players will pick the medicine ball up off the ground, lift it above their heads, and slam it down to the left side. *Players will repeat this process 12x, alternating slamming it to the left and right side.

What does this drill work teach? Core strength. Aside from working your legs, arms, glutes, and back muscles, your players’ cores will be activated throughout this entire drill.

Wrapping Up

Coaching volleyball is no easy feat. However, we hope you can use these 15 beginner volleyball drills in your next practice, helping to make each of your athletes a volleyball superstar!

Looking to evaluate your volleyball team at tryouts, camps, or year-round assessments with ease? SkillShark streamlines your evaluations. Score players right from your mobile device, gain instant access to reports, compare & rank players, and make accurate team placement decisions.

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SkillShark gives you a completely customizable experience that allows you to run volleyball tryouts, camps, and clinics with ease.

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FAQ — Volleyball Drills

SkillShark is a leading evaluation software and app designed to assist coaches in assessing and improving the performance of volleyball players. It streamlines the evaluation process by providing instant feedback reports after each assessment, saving coaches valuable time compared to traditional data entry into spreadsheets.

Yes, SkillShark is a versatile tool suitable for evaluating athletes in various sports. While this blog focuses on volleyball, SkillShark can be applied to multiple sports, making it a valuable resource for coaches across different disciplines.

Getting started with SkillShark is easy. You can request a free demo to learn how the app works and see if it suits your coaching needs.

There are no strings attached to trying out SkillShark, and the demo will provide you with valuable insights into its features and benefits.

• Customize evaluation templates
• Score athletes on your mobile device
• Instantly access player data
• Provide player report cards
• Compare & rank players
• Draft teams on the app

Absolutely! SkillShark is suitable for coaches at all levels, whether you are working with youth players or professionals. The customizable templates and flexibility of the app make it adaptable to your coaching requirements, regardless of the players’ skill levels. Customize the evaluation template with beginner volleyball drills of your choice, then get to scoring and analyzing these youth volleyball players.

Volleyball player evaluations, at minimum should be conducted three times per year (not including baseball tryouts. This includes a pre-season, mid-season, and end-of-year evaluations. As more players undergo evaluation, additional opportunities arise for them to receive feedback, feedback that will drive their skill advancement in future volleyball seasons.

Yes, SkillShark can be used for volleyball evaluations across various skill levels, from youth players to professionals. Coaches can adapt the assessment criteria and templates to suit the developmental stage of the players they are working with.

If you have any more questions or need further information, don’t hesitate to reach out to SkillShark’s support team for assistance at support@skillshark.com

1. Choose volleyball tryout drills 2-3 weeks ahead of time.
2. Select evaluators 1 week before and communicate with them (i.e., run through the drills and explain what they should look for at each station they are evaluating).
3. Focus on positive relationships. Aside from coaching volleyball tryouts, take the time to get to know athletes and provide verbal tips for improvement when you can.

SkillShark offers a free printable volleyball tryout template. All you have to do is download and print, then you are ready to evaluate!

While we do offer a volleyball evaluation form, we do recommend checking out the SkillShark app, removing pen-and-paper evaluations.

A well-structured tryout plan ensures you cover all necessary volleyball tryout skills and make the most of your available time.

Set clear objectives of what you want to accomplish before evaluation day, schedule the necessary volleyball drills, and include an ample amount of evaluation time for coaches & evaluators to properly assess players and take notes.

Danielle Stringer

Danielle is a dynamic content marketer with a unique blend of creativity and analytical expertise. She is driven by her passion for helping companies scale through lead generation, always finding distinctive ways to connect with her audience. Drawing from her extensive background in B2B SaaS, she is thrilled to apply her skills and knowledge in her current role at SkillShark Software Inc.