Volleyball Drills for High School

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Just like any other sport, reaching a great level as a volleyball player requires a lot of practice and hard work. If you are currently playing in high school or you simply want to train your abilities as a player, you need to learn the best volleyball drills for high school.

Best Volleyball Drills for High School

There are many new volleyball players in high school, as well as experienced players who have been playing for a longer time. Whatever the case may be, they must continue to improve their volleyball techniques and skills.

Girl's team doing a team chant

High school drills tend to be more advanced. They should work your players to be better at moving fast and getting the ball to the target under hard circumstances. These will also force them to be better at communicating.

These players must regularly practice these workouts in order to achieve their objectives; after all, athletes benefit much from them. Even professional athletes practice some of these routines to keep their skills sharp.

Conditioning Drills

Before we start, you need to be aware of the conditioning drills, these will help you build endurance and tone muscles. This way, you won’t be worn out after being a couple of minutes inside of the court.

High school volleyball players on the floor doing warm ups

When it comes to high school these drills are more than just getting players to exercise before they practice. At a junior varsity and varsity level, players are expected to be able to withstand the needed effort and endurance on the court, way more than at younger levels.

To do great conditioning before a high intensity practice, you need to do certain actions like:

  • sprinting
  • jumping
  • stretching
  • overall, doing light exercise that gets you into heat

Best 5 Drills for Setters

The setter can be considered one of the most important parts of a volleyball team; he is in charge of the offense after all. Additionally, he is often the captain of the team, which is an important role inside of the court. Therefore, a great setter can be a game-changer.

With these drills, setters can improve their abilities and develop better skills that can highly benefit their team. Here you can see five of the best drills for setters.

Setter to the Net

This drill will improve the setter’s ability to quickly reach and set the ball under intense circumstances. This can highly influence the team’s offense, after all, if the setter can set good balls at a fast pace, the hitters will be able to score a lot of points.

In order to do this drill, a coach needs to stand on one side of the net while three players stand on the opposite side. These players need to position themselves as a setter, middle back, and left hitter, lay face down on the serving line, and wait for the coach’s instructions.

Next, the coach needs to send the ball towards the middle back. Once he does this, all three players need to quickly stand up and run to their positions. The setter needs to run to the net and receive a pass from the middle back. Then, he needs to set it so the hitter can spike it.

Player setting the ball from the side

Set and Turn

This drill can help the setter’s ability to set the ball accurately. It can also improve its ability to react quickly to its teammate’s passes. Since an accurate and quick set can be the key to a good attack, this can be highly beneficial for the team.

For this drill, three players need to stand in the front row with enough space between each other. The left player and the middle player should be facing each other at the beginning. The left player must then pass the ball to the middle player, who must set the ball directly above himself. 

Next, he should turn 180 degrees, face the right player, and set the ball to him. The right player will return the ball to him, and he must set the ball directly above himself, turn 180 degrees, and set the ball to the left player. This process should be repeated until he fails.

Sets and Passes

In this drill, two teams will compete against each other with one restriction: one team will only be allowed to set, while the other will only be allowed to pass. This is a great training that will teach them how to set under different circumstances of the match.

Doing this drill is quite easy. Six players need to position themselves on both sides of the net and play a game. The coach should decide which team will be able to set and which will be able to pass. He can also switch them halfway between the game.

If one team does something that is not permitted, they will lose a point. For example, if a passing team sets the ball, they lose the point; similarly, if the setting team spikes the ball, they lose the point.

Player saving the ball

Bad Pass, Good Set

This drill helps setters improve their ability to set after receiving a bad pass. This is an essential skill that can be a game-changer for most volleyball teams. The team will always have a good offense if the setter can set regardless of how bad the pass was.

To do this drill, you will need to follow the next instructions.

  1. Position six players on one side of the court 
  2. Position someone to toss the ball at the setter (this is often done by the coach). 
  3. The tosser needs to send a difficult, yet reachable, ball.
  4. The setter needs to correctly set the ball.
  5. The coach needs to evaluate how good the set was, after all, the point of this drill is to convert a bad pass into a great set. If the set was bad, the setter must keep practicing this drill.

Quick Reaction Triangle Setting

This one will allow the setter to improve their time reaction and set quality. This drill requires three players to be positioned inside the court in a triangle shape. Two of them must hold one volleyball each.

To begin the drill, one of the players should toss the ball at the setter. Then he must return it by setting it. As soon as he does so, the other player should toss the ball at him, and he should return it in the same manner. This process must be repeated at a high pace.

Additionally, the two tossers should slightly change positions over time, this way the setter can receive the ball from different positions. Also, keep in mind that the setter can only set one ball at a time, so avoid throwing him both balls at the same time. 

Best 5 Drills for Hitters

When you’re in the attacking zone, you need to be able to effectively approach and shoot the ball. Therefore, the hitter has one of the most important objectives in the team: score points. That’s why a great hitter can truly make a difference in the team.

With these drills, the hitter will be able to enhance his approach to the ball, improve his spikes, and ultimately, be more effective. Here are the best five drills for hitters.

Kill or Get Swapped

The purpose of this drill is to improve the hitter’s ability to get the kill (spike the ball towards the opponent’s side of the net and successfully get a point). This is one of the most important skills for a hitter to master.

To perform this, you will need six players who will be exclusively defending on one side of the court (three in the front row and three in the back row). On the other side, you will need three hitters in the front row,  three defenders in the back row, and one setter between the hitters.

Then, a tosser (usually the coach) should toss the ball to the setter, who should then set it to one of the hitters. Finally, the hitter should spike the ball and get a kill. If he does not, he must be swapped by one of the back row players. 

Player blocking the ball

Approach, Block, Hit

Hitters must have effective footwork to be able to approach the ball and hit it in the best possible way. In addition, hitters must defend as well, therefore they must know the correct footwork to block effectively.

To do this drill you will need a coach to visually demonstrate this next approach.

  1. Start slightly behind the ten-foot line
  2. Quickly approach the net.
  3. Jump as if you were going to block a shot.
  4. Land, hop to your side and block again.
  5. Land once more and quickly go back to the ten-foot line.
  6. Lastly, approach the net and jump as if you were going to spike the ball.

Middle Switch

The purpose of this exercise is to quickly transition from blocking to hitting. Additionally, it improves the hitter’s ability to spike, which is one of the most essential movements to attack. To correctly perform this, you will need a server and a middle blocker on one side of the net.

On the opposite side, you’ll need three back row passers, one middle hitter, and a setter right next to him. The server must serve the ball over the net, one of the back row players must pass the ball to the setter, and the setter must set it to the hitter.

Finally, the blocker must attempt to obstruct the hitter’s spike. This should be repeated after four or five attempts; if the hitter succeeds and scores a lot of points, they should switch. This means that the blocker and hitter should alternate positions.

Attacking the Barrier

In this practice two teams need to face each other; one must have three hitters, one setter, and two passers while the other one will only consist of three defenders. 

Executing this drill is quite easy, the coach will toss a ball to the passer, they should send the ball towards a setter, and, lastly, the setter will set it to one of the hitters. Meanwhile, the defenders need to try to stop all of the attacks.

Team playing volleyball

Hit and Change Sides

This is a high-intensity drill that will help the hitter’s endurance and pace. This is a necessary aptitude for volleyball players so they can execute attacks correctly throughout the entire match.

Set up a left blocker, a setter, and a right hitter on one side of the court. Place a right blocker, a setter, and a left hitter on the opposite side. Finally, two tossers should be placed in the center of the court on both sides of the net to toss balls to their setter.

The setter must then pass it to the hitter, who must avoid the blocker, spike, and rotate quickly to the opposite side of the net. As a result, the hitter becomes the blocker, the setter becomes the hitter, and so on. The opposite tosser will then quickly start the next attack.

Best 5 Drills to Improve Passes

Passing is one of the most overlooked abilities in volleyball, when, in reality, it is an essential skill that all players should master, no matter what position they play. Passing is key to good teamwork, and it shows how well-developed a team could be.

Here you can see five of the best drills to improve passes.

Accurate Passing

Players will be able to improve their passing accuracy with this practice. To complete this simple drill, you will need a tosser, a target (someone on whom the passer can focus), and a passer. The tosser should stand on one side of the net, while the target and passer should stand on the other.

The tosser should then throw the ball to the passer, who should then try to pass it to the target. To make things more difficult, the target could be allowed to walk or even run. The passer’s goal is to send a clear ball that the target can grab.

Three Quick Passes

This drill teaches players how to pass when a ball is coming from the right, left, or center. Begin by arranging three tossers in the front row and three passers in the back row. Each tosser should concentrate on the passer in front of them.

Players practicing passing

They should then toss the ball to the passer’s right and wait for them to return it with a pass. Then they should toss the ball to the passer’s left and wait for them to return it. Finally, they must toss it to the passer’s middle and repeat the process two more times.

This drill should be done quickly and with a focus on the passes, not the tossing.

Pass and Run

When you are looking for fun volleyball drills for high school that also help condition your players, this drill is a must for a good warm up.

In order to do it, you need to split your team into groups of three. Next, the first player will start the drill with a good high toss to the player they are facing. The player receiving the toss will send a good solid bump or set back to the person who tossed it. 

They will then sprint to the other side and wait for the ball to be returned. The person who started with a toss will stay in their place until the ball is returned. They will then bump or set the ball and run to the opposite side. This drill is meant to go fast.

W Passing

This one will improve the player’s endurance and ability to move and reach the ball. You’ll only need a tosser and a passer to perform it. The passer must prepare by positioning himself in the back right corner.

The tosser must then throw the ball towards him, and the passer must return it. He should then move to the front right position and repeat the process. He must then proceed to the center, then to the left-right, and finally to the back right.

Pass and Sprint

This practice will help your players develop better agility, which will benefit them when passing. Begin by placing two tossers in the front row, one on the left and one on the right. The passer should begin on the right side’s back side.

The right tosser must then throw the ball to the passer, who must pass the ball back to him and sprint up to touch the tosser’s foot. Then, he must sprint and position himself in front of the left tosser and wait for him to send the ball.

The passer must immediately pass it back and sprint behind the net, across the opposing court, and back to his starting position. This should be done at least three times quickly.

Best 5 Drills for Defenders

For some coaches, a good defense is better than a good offense, after all, if the opponent cannot score points, they will inevitably lose. Therefore, developing a great defense can be highly beneficial for your team. Here you can see five of the best drills for defenders.

Protect the Corners

This great drill will allow defenders to quickly reach balls and contact them. This way, they will be able to keep the ball alive at all times. To correctly perform it, you need a tosser (usually the coach) standing in a box on one side of the court

On the opposite side of the net, use tape to create a square area on the four corners of that side of the court. The defender must then stand in the center of the court while the coach sends a ball to one of the corners.

The goal is for the defender to make contact with the ball and keep it from touching the area created with tape in the corners.

Offensive Outburst

This one is a hard drill that will teach defenders to be aggressive on the ball and to keep them in play in the safest way possible. To start this practice, you need three hitters, one setter, and a tosser (the coach) on one side of the net.

You will only need one defender on the other side. The drill begins when the coach throws the ball to the setter, who then passes it to one of the hitters. The three hitters’ goal is to spike and get the kill, while the defender’s goal is to save those balls.

The coach can keep quickly supplying the setter with balls to make the defender’s job even more difficult. Once the defender gets at least ten good saves on the ball, he can be swapped by another player.

Attack and Swap

As we mentioned before, hitters need to know how to defend, so, on the same page, defenders need to know how to attack. This transition from defender to attacker can be hard for some players, therefore, this practice can help them improve that aspect.

Players preparing to receive the ball

Begin this practice by forming a line of players outside the court, a tosser (the coach) in the center of the net, and one defender on the opposite side of the court. The first player on the line should then take his position, wait for the coach to toss the ball, and spike it.

The defender must attempt to block the attack. After that, the attacker must switch sides and become the defender. The previous defender must return to the line and wait his turn. The drill continues as the next player positions himself and spikes the ball.

Blocker’s Decision

Deciding when to block, pass, or hit the ball might be difficult for some players, therefore, they need to improve their decision-making with this easy drill. For this, you will only need three tossers on one side of the net and three defenders on the opposite side.

The tossers need to send the ball towards the defenders and they will need to decide whether to block, pass, or hit. However, this becomes harder when the tossers change the direction and power of their tosses. 

They should toss close to the net, then away from it, then on top of the net, and so on.

Back Row vs Back Row

Defenders in the back row cannot spike the ball, however, they can perform a “back row attack” which is an offensive move that allows them to attack behind the ten-foot line. For this practice, you will need three back-row players on both sides of the net.

Their objective will be to score as many points as possible by hitting, passing, and setting behind the ten-foot line. If they touch the front row, they will lose a point. The team that scores more points wins this drill.

Extra Drills to Improve Ball Control and Endurance

Having good ball control will allow players to enhance almost every volleyball move. Additionally, it will help them to improve accuracy and decision-making, therefore, improving this skill is essential to developing better players. Here are five of the better drills to improve ball control.

Line Sprints

Since they are purely practiced to help build up stamina and endurance on the court, this is not one of the more popular volleyball drills for high school. However they have a great influence on the players performance.

To do it, you need players to line up at the serving line and then sprint to the ten foot line, making sure they reach down to touch it and then sprint back. Next, they will sprint to the ten foot line on the opposite side of the net and sprint back to the serving line.

Finally, they will sprint down to the opposite serving line, bend down and touch it, then sprint back to the start serving line. To add another level to this drill, have your players dive on the first ten foot line and then again at the far serving line. 

Half Court Sprints

Not all volleyball workouts for high school have to be repetitive. To really get your players moving, you can incorporate this drill to help them learn to move to the ball better and score.

To start this, one player should stand on the court while a tosser stands on the sidelines

The tosser will roll a volleyball across the floor for the player to sprint after. Then, the player should reach the ball and touch it or smack it. After this player makes contact with the ball, the tosser will roll another ball in the opposite way on the court for the player to sprint to as well. 

Self-Set and Spike

This one will improve the player’s ability to control the ball by making them set the ball to themselves and then spike. Doing this practice is easy, you will only need two players on both sides of the court. One of the players will receive the ball and pass it to his teammate.

The ball should then be passed to his teammate, who should spike it. The opposing side should follow the same procedure. Finally, the coach must remind the players that touching the ball twice in a row is not permitted in a real volleyball game; they can only do so in this drill.

Player setting the ball

24 Touches

This drill will put teamwork, communication, and ball control to the test. The main goal will be to make 24 contacts between the players without interruption. To set up this practice, you need three players in the front row on both sides of the net.

The players will only be allowed to touch the ball three times per side during the drill. As a result, they should be mindful of how frequently they make contact with the ball. 

If you want to get your players moving more to build endurance and keep them from standing still, then you should run the 24 Touches drill.

Lost Setter

Most plays rely on the setter to take and control the second hit to make sure a hitter has the ball for a spike. Sometimes however, the setter cannot get to the second ball due to having hit the ball on the first hit, or being too far away from the ball to gain the second hit.

For this drill you will want to set up your team on one side of the court. Begin with the starters and rotate in other players as you would in a game situation. Throw the ball over the net directly to the setter so that they are in charge of the first hit. 

At this point they will need to send the ball up to another player and work out a play in action to gain a bump set spike. Other players on the court will need to step up, control the ball and set it for a hitter, or set the ball up for the setter to gain a spike of their own.

Bucket Ball

This will help all players learn how to control the ball and give them a bump, set, and spike muscle memory. For this, you need to place your setter on the court behind the ten foot line. They should be off the net in a serve receive position. Your libero should be in the back middle.

You will then place one player on the court for each front row hitting position (outside, middle and right side hitter) The coach will stand on the opposite side of the net with a  ball bucket as the target for the hitters. To begin, the coach or helper will toss up a ball over to the libero. 

He will then make a successful pass to the setter who will be running towards the net once the ball is served over. The setter will then set the ball to one of the hitters. The target hitter will approach the ball and spike it over. Aiming for the bucket or target on the other side of the net.

Conclusion

It takes a lot of time and effort to practice and develop your skills as a volleyball player, however, doing these drills will allow players to improve faster. Also, you should always remember that a coach should always be present for them to function properly.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.