Thursday, 23 May 2024

Developing Complete Players

By Sami Bullon (Dallas, Texas – Ace VBC – North Texas Region)

Volleyball is a captivating sport, offering excitement with every rally. From the perfectly timed dig, hit, or block to the strategic maneuvering of coaches, there are countless reasons to love this game. However, at the core of this excitement lies the players themselves. They are the ones who make the game thrilling, setting the tempo and determining the outcome.

As a coach, it is crucial to recognize the significance of each player and their impact on the team’s success. While team cohesion is essential, developing well-rounded players should be a priority. Unfortunately, the emphasis on specialization in recent years has resulted in neglecting overall player development.

Growing up, I played doubles volleyball with my brothers, improvising a court in our backyard using a line tied between two trees. These informal matches allowed us to become versatile players, proficient in every skill. When I entered high school, I hoped to specialize as a setter or an outside hitter. However, limited playing time in those positions led me to try out for middle. The best hitter in our school struggled with passing, so our coach put me in as a middle solely due to my passing ability. This experience taught me the value of being a complete player, capable of playing any position.

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The need for complete players became evident when my teams started losing points due to unforced errors. Our hitters would get called for double contacts, our setters struggled with inconsistent passing, and our servers made critical errors at crucial moments. These mistakes influenced game outcomes and hindered our progress.

To address these issues, we implemented a simple drill that allowed every player on the team to practice passing, setting, hitting, digging, and blocking, regardless of their position. The drill begins with a 4-on-4 setup, with one player on the net as the setter and three players on the back row. Starting with a controlled rally, players rotate clockwise after each ball is hit over the net. The drill focuses on developing court awareness, communication, and all-around skills.

As players become more proficient, we introduce additional challenges such as blocking and attacking from different positions. The drill emphasizes teamwork and encourages players to step outside their comfort zones. By practicing in a game-like situation, players gain confidence and improve their overall performance.

For younger players, the focus is on quality touches and ball control. The goal is to develop a solid pass, set, and hit sequence, gradually increasing the level of difficulty as they progress. By exposing players to various situations early on, they can become well-rounded individuals capable of adapting to changing circumstances.

The implementation of these drills has resulted in fewer double contacts, improved out-of-system play, and increased confidence among our players. They understand the importance of being prepared for any situation and trust their skills to make a difference in the game.

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While specialization is an integral part of modern volleyball, it should not come at the expense of other essential skills. Injuries and unexpected circumstances can shift the momentum of a game, and it is crucial to have players who are confident and capable in various positions. Developing complete players not only benefits the individual but also contributes to the overall success of the team.

So, as a coach, be like a farmer. Plant the seeds of versatile players, encourage their growth, and witness the results. By nurturing their skills and providing opportunities for all-around development, you can cultivate a team that is ready to face any challenge. Remember, a team reflects its coach, so show your players the importance of being well-rounded and watch them thrive.


Q: How can I develop complete players in my volleyball team?

A: Developing complete players in your volleyball team requires implementing drills that focus on all aspects of the game. Start with a simple 4-on-4 setup, allowing players to practice passing, setting, hitting, digging, and blocking. Gradually introduce challenges such as blocking and attacking from different positions. Encourage communication, teamwork, and adaptability. For younger players, focus on quality touches and ball control, gradually increasing the difficulty level. By exposing players to various situations, they will become more confident and well-rounded.

Q: Why is it important to develop complete players in volleyball?

A: Developing complete players in volleyball is vital because it prepares them for any situation that may arise during a game. Specialization is essential, but neglecting other skills can hinder a player’s ability to contribute effectively when needed. Injuries, illnesses, or unexpected circumstances can disrupt team dynamics, and having versatile players ensures a seamless transition. Complete players are confident, adaptable, and capable of making a difference in the game, regardless of their assigned position.

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Developing complete players in volleyball is crucial for the overall success of a team. While specialization has its place, neglecting other essential skills can hinder a player’s versatility. By implementing drills that focus on all aspects of the game, coaches can nurture well-rounded individuals who are confident and adaptable. The goal is to prepare players for any situation they may encounter on the court. By fostering a culture of all-around development, coaches can cultivate a team that is ready to face any challenge with confidence and skill.