Steps for Playing Volleyball - 4 practice ideas to improve the player's skill level

Steps for playing volleyball - how to build the player's volleyball skills a step by step?

  • What is important to learn first?


  • How do you improve the skills further?


  • How to learn techniques fast and properly?


  • How games in the practice can teach player's to play 6 vs. 6 volleyball?




Steps for Playing Volleyball - Step One: Practicing Volleyball Techniques

What is needed the most to become a great volleyball player? What is needed to build a great team?

It is the skills, right? Without skills and ability to handle the ball, it's impossible to play our game at the high level.

How to teach volleyball techniques for the beginning volleyball player?

It is important for the beginning volleyball players to learn the basic technical skills, such as 1) shuffling, 2) basic stance, 3) passing, 4) setting, 5) underhand serve.

In the beginning, it is extremely important to run technical drills which focus on each technique, one at the time.

In the beginning, most players are not able to learn techniques correctly just by playing - or running drills which combines too many skills together.

Volleyball drills example 1

There are various volleyball passing techniques. The best way to learn those properly - and also faster - is to practice those one by one.

It is important to teach the player to control the ball, all over around the body, not just directly in front of the body, which is the norm in the passing.

In the match the player has to reach far to the left or right to pass the ball, so it is important to focus on it also in training. Otherwise the player may not get enough repetitions to really learn to pass when reaching left or right. It is important to go through all the techniques with the player - not just the passing norm.

Coaches - be aware! When focusing on individual skills, there is often a drawback in the beginning. Teams which do the opposite and focus solely on winning the matches will most likely win more in the beginning.

For example 6-11 year old volleyball players often win more in the beginning just by hitting the ball over the net with the first contact. However, in the long run the players who have the best skills and ball control are the ones who will dominate.

To learn more how to teach technical skills and "how to break down the drill into smaller pieces", go to Volleyball Drills section.

Steps for Playing Volleyball - Step Two: Practicing Volleyball Tactics

What is often forgotten when running practice drills?

It is an opportunity to teach players volleyball tactics and "the reason why". Especially for the beginning volleyball player it may not be clear "why" the coach is running the drill.

Therefore, when teaching the basic technical skills, the coach should also bring up the tactical side of volleyball.

In the beginning those tactics are very simple.

For example: 1) The coach could tell the players when practicing setting "it is important to square the net because..." 2) When practicing passing the coach could tell the players "why it is always important to pass the free ball directly to the setter" - even though it may not matter when the smaller kids are playing.

With more experience players, the tactics naturally get more complex.

Volleyball drills example 2 - "Catch and Toss"

One way to introduce tactics for the beginning volleyball players is through volleyball-like games.

Smaller kids can be taught to play volleyball with "catch and toss" games.

This "catch and toss" means that beginning volleyball players play volleyball by catching and tossing the ball. So players catch the ball first. When getting a hold of it, they toss the ball to another player.

For coaches who fear "catch and toss", it allows the very beginning volleyball players to enjoy the fun of playing - without the "catch and toss" playing is often impossible with young kids. Naturally the goal is to start playing "real volleyball" as soon as the skills allow it.

When players "catch and toss" the ball travels much slower. This gives a perfect opportunity for the coach to teach the game and "the reason why". Just try it, I promise it works. You understand the point better when you actually do it yourself.

Steps for Playing Volleyball - Step Three: Playing Volleyball-like Games

Introducing more "catch and toss" games for beginning volleyball players.

Volleyball drills example 3,4 and 5 - "Catch and Toss Games"

First, the players could be catching and tossing every contact.

When skills improve beginning volleyball players can move from "catch and toss" into more advanced games. In the next phase players set/bump the ball only with the last, third contact - other contacts still being "catch and toss".

Even more advanced phase is the players "catch and toss" only with the first contact. The second contact, the set has to be a real set. And they hit the ball over by setting/bumping with the third contact.

Volleyball drills example 6 - "Mini-Court Games"

Important Tip! When playing these these mini-court games, it is extremely important to keep the court small!

When players are ready to bump and set with every contact, the coach needs to make sure the court is small enough to keep the rallies longer. Then gradually moving into the larger and larger court.

These mini-court games help players to learn to play the game. Players have to start putting learned skills into the court and perform combinations of skills one after another.

"Mini-Court Games" for the Skills Training

Mini-court games can be also used to teach technical skills for the beginning volleyball players. Playing is always more interesting than monotonous skills repetitions.

To read more about mini-games to teach technical skills, go the link section in the bottom of the "how to play volleyball"-page.

Steps for Playing Volleyball - Step Four: Advanced Game-like Drills to Learn Techniques

When volleyball skills develop further, the coach should make technical drills - a little by little - more complex. The players need to be able to use the skills in match, one after another and in the quickly manner. So we should try to replicate the match.

Volleyball drills example 7 - Volleyball Skills Combinations

The players move to the net to make the technical drills in the game-like situation.

For example they could combine passing and hitting together - or spike against the block.

"Beginners" volleyball drills are for everybody - also for pros!

Technical volleyball drills are not just for the beginner! Volleyball players at the top level also focus on techniques in their training. It is not unusual to see professional volleyball players do "beginner's drills" by passing one ball after another when trying to develop their passing skills.

Top player's technical drills can also be more complex and mimic the real game situations. Often they have to combine skills - just like it happens in the match - i.e. passing combined with hitting, which is done against the block and defense.

Whether doing "a beginner's drill" or "combined drill", the coach needs to pay close attention to the player's techniques - and give feedback.

Volleyball drills example 8 - "Wash Drills with limited rallies to teach techniques"

When players are able to combine skills together - and being technically sound, players should be ready for the "wash drills" - drills in which coaches let two sides to compete against each other.

These advanced technical drills on this fourth step are similar to wash drills since we use them in the same manner - two sides are trying to score a point against each other. However, there is a little difference.

What is the difference?

The rally is extremely short


When training technical drills in more complex situation, it is important to limit the rally and focus on the desired skill.

So we don't let the rally continue too long - we repeat the specific action with a fast tempo one after another, but don't let the other side to play the ball back.

If the focus is to learn passing combined with hitting, it is important players get to repeat the passing-hitting sequence one after another with a fast tempo - meaning the rally ends after the block or dig - and the new ball is sent to the attacker.

Steps for Playing Volleyball - Step Five: Wash Drills and Games

When the skills develop and the player is able to combine skills together, they should be ready for the wash-drills.

Volleyball drills example 9 - Volleyball Wash Drills - Two Sides Competing

Coaches often use wash-drills to prepare team for the becoming matches. In wash drills two teams play against each other - for example the offensive side tries to score a point over the defensive side. Usually the stronger side (i.e. offense) is required to win more rallies than the weaker side (i.e. defense) to score a point - to keep the game competitive and even.

It is definitely exciting and sometimes beneficial to let the team "just play volleyball" for example by wash drills. However, during the longer rallies, especially beginning volleyball players, tend to "forget" already learned techniques and tactics. That is the reason why we prefer drills which allow us to keep the rally relatively short.


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