Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Training Without a Net or Friends

Volleyball is a game that can be enjoyed with friends, regardless of their age or gender. The people you train with can provide unique perspectives and help you learn the intricacies of the game. Another important aspect of training is having access to a net, even if it’s just a rope or an imaginary one. The net allows you to practice hitting, setting, and passing over it, improving your skills. In this article, we will explore different training techniques for situations when you don’t have friends or a net. Let’s dive in!

Serve against the wall

If you find yourself without friends or a net, you can still work on your serving technique. Mark a line at the height you normally play and stand back around 9 meters or more from the wall. Go through your serving routine and aim to serve over the line consistently. It’s crucial to practice serving over the net, even if you occasionally serve out. Serve from different areas of the end line to simulate real-game scenarios.

Serve and dash

Serving involves more than just hitting the ball over the net. It also requires quick movement to get into the defensive position. If you usually defend from the left back and choose to serve from the right back, you’ll need to sprint a good 8 meters or more. As you run, keep your eye on the ball to make slight adjustments for a better serve, whether it’s a float or a powerful topspin.

Pass into a corner

Improve your passing skills by throwing the ball off the wall in front of you, causing it to rebound back as if it were being served to you. Move to the ball and pass it with a settable ball flight into the corner, as if you’re passing to the setter. Repeat this exercise to enhance your passing accuracy and control.

Front set into a corner

To work on your front setting abilities, throw the ball off the wall to your left side, around 90 degrees, so it rebounds back at you as if it were coming from a passer. You can practice setting low passes that require you to scoot under the ball, higher passes that allow for a jump set, or angled standard ball flight passes. Experiment with different sets and gather the ball to repeat the exercise.

Back-set into a corner

Similar to front setting, you can practice back setting by standing with the wall behind you and to your left. Throw the ball off the wall to create a rebound that simulates a pass from a teammate. Turn and get in position to set any type of set you desire to the front. Retrieve the ball off the front wall and repeat the exercise. Adjust the distance from the left wall to simulate different game situations.

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Spike against the far away wall

Most players are already familiar with hitting overpasses into the net. However, it’s important to learn how to hit over an imaginary net and adjust your arm swing accordingly. Stand around 9 or more meters away from a wall and set the ball up to yourself. Focus on hitting the ball with a game-like trajectory over the net, rather than into it or into the feet of blockers. Experiment with different types of sets, such as 1-meter sets and high balls, and practice hitting cross-court, cut shots, and line shots to the wall. Mastering these shots will make you a versatile attacker.

Tip or Spiker Coverage

If you have access to a basketball hoop, you can use it as a training device to practice digging the ball up off a tip or blocked spike. Toss the ball up on the roof and position yourself near the roof-line. When the ball rolls off the roof, play it up as if it were a tip or a spike from an opponent. Aim to play the ball high enough to give your setter time to move into position or to allow the hitter to reset and attack again. You can also play it into a trash can to simulate a setter and give yourself points for each successful dig.


Pepper is a popular drill that involves hitting the ball against a wall or above a marked line. When the ball rebounds, dig it to yourself and then set and hit it against the wall again. This drill helps you develop good hitting technique, focusing on hitting over the net and digging the ball up on your side. It’s essential to avoid hitting into the net or digging the ball over to the opponent. With practice, you’ll improve your control and make better decisions during a game.


Similar to soccer or hacky sack, juggling the volleyball off various body parts can improve your coordination and ball control. Rebound the ball off your head, thighs, knees, shoulders, or bent elbow, focusing on hitting the ball cleanly without lifting it. Challenge yourself to see how many consecutive juggles you can do without making a mistake. This drill will enhance your touch and contribute to better overall ball handling skills.

Training with One Friend

If you have one friend to train with, there are several ways to make the most out of your practice sessions:

  • Dig to yourself pepper: As a great defender, you need to dig the ball up to the setter. Give yourself a cushion by digging the ball slightly away from the setter’s position. Start around 4-5 meters from your friend and gradually move back to 7-9 meters after setting the ball. This drill improves your movement and teaches you to react to hits.

  • Alternating pepper: This drill involves alternating between digging and setting. The goal is to dig the ball towards your friend without passing it all the way back to them. After setting, both players move forward to hit, and then move back to dig after setting a high ball. This drill enhances communication, teamwork, and quick transitions.

  • Setting corner off of passes: With your friend passing the ball from different areas of an imaginary court, practice moving to the ball and setting it to the front or behind you. Avoid throwing the ball and focus on setting it as you would in a game. This exercise improves your setting accuracy and adaptability.

  • Play one-on-one over a net/rope: Create a mini-court by using an obstacle at net height, such as a rope or a net if available. Play a game of one-on-one, aiming to complete three hits before the ball goes out of bounds. This drill helps you work on hitting around a block and improves your overall game sense.

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Training with Two Friends

With two friends, you can further enhance your training sessions:

  • Play triple pepper: This drill can be done with or without a net. If you don’t have a net, focus on hitting the ball to the digger with a trajectory that would have cleared the net. The setter stands between the two diggers, ensuring both diggers are digging to the same angle. You can have one person dig and the other hit, or alternate roles. With a net, the setter can duck under the net to simulate real-game situations.

  • Set in a triangle: Work on your back setting skills by passing the ball around in a triangle formation. One person back sets while the other two perform overhead passes. If the ball moves clockwise, the person in the back sets, and if it moves counter clockwise, all three players should be front setting. This drill improves your setting technique and decision-making.

  • Receive serves over a net: Practice receiving serves by passing them to a teammate who catches the ball in the setter’s target zone. Keep score by awarding points for accuracy. Give the server a point if the setter has to move more than one step, and give the passer a point for serving errors or if the setter moves one step or less.

  • Hit vs. a block: Have your partner throw the ball to you, simulating a pass, and then set it for you to hit against a block. This drill allows you to practice hitting around a block and improving your shot selection.

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Training with Three Friends

If you’re fortunate enough to have three friends, you can take your training to the next level:

  • Play doubles: Whether indoors or outdoors, on a hard court, wallyball court, or any other surface, playing doubles allows for more dynamic and realistic training. Work on your weaknesses and challenge yourself to improve. Keep track of wins and losses to identify the strongest player overall. Remember to have fun and enjoy the process of learning and growing as a team.

By utilizing these training techniques, you can continue to improve your volleyball skills even when you don’t have access to friends or a net. Consistent practice and a positive mindset will help you become a well-rounded player. Keep challenging yourself, have fun, and enjoy the game!


How can I practice volleyball without a net or friends?

If you don’t have a net or friends to train with, you can still improve your volleyball skills through solo drills and exercises. Some options include serving against a wall, practicing passes and sets into a corner, and hitting against a far-away wall. Additionally, you can juggle the volleyball to improve coordination, play over an obstacle at net height, or simulate game scenarios by setting and hitting the ball in different directions. It’s important to be creative and adapt these exercises to your training environment.

What are some training techniques for playing with one friend?

When training with one friend, you can focus on drills like dig to yourself pepper, alternating pepper, setting in a corner off of passes, and playing one-on-one over a net or rope. These exercises help improve communication, movement, and specific skills such as digging, setting, and hitting. By practicing with a friend, you can simulate game situations and work on your overall game sense.

How can I make the most out of training with two friends?

With two friends, you can add more complexity to your training sessions. Play triple pepper to involve all three players in hitting, digging, and setting. Set in a triangle formation to work on back setting and overhead passing. Receive serves over a net and focus on accuracy and precision. Finally, challenge yourself by hitting against a block, which will improve your shot selection and ability to hit around blockers.


Training without a net or friends is possible by utilizing creative and effective drills. Whether you’re serving against a wall, setting and hitting into corners, or playing different variations of pepper, there are plenty of ways to improve your volleyball skills. Additionally, training with one, two, or three friends allows for more dynamic and game-like exercises. By staying motivated, embracing challenges, and having fun, you can take your game to the next level. So grab a ball and start training today!