Wednesday, 29 May 2024

How to Create Effective and Engaging Volleyball Drills

Are you a volleyball coach looking to take your team to the next level? If so, you probably understand the importance of incorporating the right drills into your training sessions. However, simply choosing any drills won’t guarantee success. It’s crucial to tailor your drills to your team’s specific needs and goals. In this article, we will explore key principles and guidelines to help you design and implement drills that yield real results.

Specificity – The Key to Successful Training

One of the most important principles to consider when designing volleyball drills is specificity. Your team’s training outcomes are directly related to the drills they practice. If you want your team to excel in real games, it’s essential to create drills that closely mimic game situations. While self-contained exercises have their place in skill development, they should eventually be applied in a game-like context to maximize learning and transferability.

Design Basics for Effective Drills

As you choose drills for your team, keep in mind some design basics that will enhance their effectiveness. The order in which drills are introduced to beginners should progress from single skills in controlled environments to more complex sequences that simulate real-game scenarios. The following order is often effective:

  1. Single skill in a simple, controlled environment
  2. Single skill in a more complex, open-ended environment
  3. Multiple skills combined in a realistic game sequence
  4. Modified games that emphasize specific skills
  5. Full game scenarios
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Remember, the order of presentation isn’t set in stone. You can adapt it to suit your team’s needs. Just ensure that your drills progress from simpler to more complex and gradually introduce game-like elements.

Coach or Player Orientation – Finding the Right Balance

When it comes to drill orientation, both coach-oriented and player-oriented approaches have their advantages. Coach-oriented drills are useful for beginners or when teammates lack proficiency. These drills allow the coach to control the flow and ensure success. However, for more advanced players, player-oriented drills are generally better. They provide more realistic circumstances, increased repetitions, and encourage players to take responsibility for their performance. A coach-initiated drill, which combines elements of both orientations, can also be effective in guiding specific aspects of the drill while maintaining player involvement.

Goal-Oriented Drills for Motivation and Focus

Motivation and focus are crucial for effective training. Therefore, every drill, regardless of complexity, should have a clear goal. Realistic short-term goals create a sense of purpose and enhance learning. Remember, in a game, every movement and ball contact is performed with a goal in mind. Therefore, your drills should reflect this game-like mentality. Avoid running drills for a set amount of time or repetitions. Instead, focus on achieving specific goals to make your drills more engaging and productive.

Scoring Systems for Realistic and Goal-Oriented Drills

To add a game-like and goal-oriented element to your drills, consider implementing scoring systems. Scoring criteria can determine “success” in a given drill or drill segment. By using scoring methods such as plus-minus, consecutive successes, or rally scoring, you can transform repetitive drills into challenging and dynamic exercises. Scoring systems allow you to emphasize specific aspects of the drill and promote player development by introducing new challenges and performance standards.

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Integration – The Power of Whole-Context Training

Integrated training is crucial for volleyball, as a player’s performance and the team’s success depend on the integration of multiple skills. Train your team using continuous drills, modified scrimmages, and drills that closely resemble real-game situations. By combining various aspects of the game into a single drill, you create a more realistic and volleyball-specific training experience. Let your informed imagination guide you in designing drills that effectively integrate different aspects of the game, keeping your team engaged and challenged.

Informed Imagination – The Art and Science of Coaching

To design effective drills, you must possess a deep understanding of the game. Analyze the skills, tactics, and strategies involved, and modify drills to achieve specific objectives. This requires a combination of analysis skills and empathy towards your players. Clearly communicate your intentions to the team and adapt drills as needed to achieve desired outcomes. Evaluating and refining your drills over time will help you create a comprehensive training program that delivers exceptional results.


Q: How can I design drills that balance skill development and game-like situations?

A: To strike this balance, begin with single skills in a controlled environment and gradually progress to more complex drills that simulate real-game scenarios. This progression ensures that players develop skills in isolated contexts before applying them in more realistic settings.

Q: What scoring systems can I use to make my drills more engaging and goal-oriented?

A: Consider implementing scoring systems such as plus-minus, consecutive-number-of-successes, or rally scoring to add a competitive element to your drills. These systems provide clear criteria for success and motivate players to perform at their best.

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Q: How can I make my drills more game-like and specific to volleyball?

A: Integrate various aspects of the game into your drills, including continuous drills, modified scrimmages, and drills with natural volleyball endings. Mimicking real-game situations will enhance skills transferability and prepare players for actual game scenarios.


Designing effective volleyball drills requires a balance of specificity, design principles, and informed imagination. Tailor your drills to your team’s needs and goals, ensuring they closely resemble real-game situations. Incorporate scoring systems and set clear goals to engage players and enhance focus. Integrate different aspects of the game into your drills to create a comprehensive training experience. With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to design drills that maximize your team’s potential and propel them towards success.