Volleyball Practice Drills for Beginners
Volleyball, invented in 1895, has grown into a popular sport for both men and women. As volleyball requires balance, coordination, agility, speed, and fast reflexes, honing your skills requires movement-specific drills. Beginners need to start small, isolating each skill, learning it well, then incorporating it into the game as a whole.
If you've ever watched a game of recreational or middle-school volleyball, much of the game progresses with simple passing rather than setting, spiking, and in-depth plays. Teaching beginners bumping accuracy will help them progress to more advanced skills. Young or new players often make the mistake of wildly swinging their arms when passing, hitting the ball off their thumbs rather than their forearms. For a very basic passing drill, line the players up single file at the 10-foot line. Standing in the setter's position at the net, soft-toss the ball to the first player, instructing her to bump the ball to your right hand, which you hold, pointing up, next to the net. After she bumps the ball, provide her with constructive feedback regarding form, then have her rotate to the back of the line. Continue through the whole team, before moving the line to another position on the court and continuing the drill from another bumping angle.
Very rarely in volleyball does the player receiving the ball get to stand still as he passes the ball. Usually, the ball comes over the net, and the receiving team has to move to the ball in order to keep it in play. If you've ever watched beginning volleyball teams, many of the players seem hesitant to move to the ball, and it will often hit the court directly between two players. To encourage players to move toward or dive for a loose ball, you need to practice drills where they must move to the ball.
Line the players up single file. Stand approximately 10 to 15 feet in front of them with a bin of volleyballs. Toss a ball to the first player in line, but when you pass it, throw it to his right, left, or several feet in front of him so he has to move in order to receive the ball. After he bumps it, he should immediately shag the ball and return to the back of the line. This drill works best if you can keep it moving quickly, tossing one ball after the next so that the next player in line has to react and move quickly for the next tossed ball.
To incorporate passing accuracy and movement to the ball, circle the players up in groups of five to 10, with one coach or leader in the center of the circle with a ball. The players should be spread out, with five to 10 feet between each player. The coach will act as the intermediary target for every pass. The coach tosses the ball to any player to start the drill, and that player aims to pass the ball directly back to the coach, who then bumps the ball toward any other player in the circle. This bumping back and forth between the players and coaches continues. For every ball that drops between two players or for every wildly off-target pass, a point is accumulated. The first circle to accumulate 10 points has to run.
Laura Williams has worked in recreation management since 2004. She holds a master's degree in exercise and sport science education from Texas State University, as well as a B.A. in exercise and sport science from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.