Teaching Volleyball Skills - How to Teach Volleyball Skills?

Read about teaching volleyball skills. Find out how to teach volleyball skills in practice.

To help you to understand we give you an example and reflect volleyball teaching methods specifically into volleyball digging. How players learn correct volleyball techniques in less time?

Teaching Volleyball Skills - A Piece by Piece

We have talked about importance of teaching beginning volleyball players “a piece by piece”, not dumping all the technical details for them at once – since only the most talented athletes are able to pick up complex volleyball skills at once.

Volleyball coach should “break the complex skills down” and let players digest the information in smaller parts.

Why Teaching Volleyball "a Piece by Piece"?
We apply this idea into volleyball digging. It is impossible for beginning volleyball player to comprehend and start using all different digging techniques instantly – it will probably take months or years to master all the techniques.  

To make sure player gets exposed to each volleyball digging technique we practice those techniques separately.

What Is the Purpose of Teaching Volleyball “a Piece by Piece”?
The purpose is to work every digging technique into the muscle memory a piece by piece - repeating different scenarios in practice - one after another.

By giving enough repetitions and practice time to each digging technique players learn to use correct techniques automatically on the court.

Teaching Volleyball Skills Takes Time

Progressing one technique at the time helps you to learn techniques properly. You'll learn techniques in less time when you get exposed to each digging technique in practice through multiple repetitions. It doesn't happen in the match since players won't get enough contacts when playing.  

Still do not expect learning happen overnight, it may take months or even years to learn to use digging techniques in the match.

Teaching Volleyball Skills - Example of Volleyball Digging Drills

Phase I - Throw the Ball to Defender, Off the Net


Volleyball digging, especially digging a hard driven ball can be little bit scary for beginning volleyball players. Therefore coach should start by tossing and throwing the ball to defender.

The purpose of the first phase is to get introduced to correct techniques when ball is being tossed or thrown to the player.

If Throw is Too Easy, Start Spiking

If players are more experienced and are ready to defend spikes, coach can spike the ball instead of throwing the ball at them.

Notice that coach needs to have an accurate swing because he needs to target the ball to specific spots around the player - on the left side, on the right side, overhead, etc.

Important in Teaching Volleyball - Teach How to Toss/Throw the Ball
If coaches have taught players to throw the ball, players pair up. Seriously, teaching throwing should be done in the beginning when starting to coach beginning volleyball players! It helps the coach tremendously. Also players learn quicker when tosses are accurate. 

If players are not able throw the ball into others, coaches should take the throwing/tossing duties.

Teaching Volleyball Skills - Volleyball Digging Form

Pairs pair up about 15-20 feet from each other. The assistant throws the ball directly in front of the player who is the basic defensive position. The player performs the dig by taking the basic defensive stand by
  1. Placing the feet more than shoulders apart
  2. Putting weight on the toes – NOT on the heels
  3. Squatting (90 degree knee angle) into the low defensive position.
  4. Keeping the arms relaxed and hands separate (not joined together yet!) in front of the body – being ready to dig the ball (underhand or over head.)
  5. Looking at the arm and following the approaching ball with eyes all the way through – and placing the arm platform under the ball - by joining the hands together and extending the arms completely.

Important in Volleyball Digging - Weight on Toes

It is important to pay attention to the fact that the player’s weight should be in front, on the toes. NOT on the heels! It allows the player to move and react quickly, if the player needs to move after the rebounding ball or the attacker’s tip or roll.

Often beginning volleyball players make the mistake of expecting the ball to land on their hands – and put the heels on the ground.  Players need to be ready to change their position quickly! Always! When throwing the ball, the assistant could tip the ball every once in a while to teach players to move from the defensive position.

To see specific details about digging techniques, go to “volleyball digging” pages under volleyball skills section.

Teaching Volleyball Skills for the Beginning Volleyball Players- Throw the ball first

The assistant should toss around maximum of 6-12 balls after another, it helps players to focus on every single ball that will be thrown – also squatting into the defensive position many times in a row can be exhausting.

After the first set of tosses, players switch.  

If coach is the tosser allow a little break before digging another set. It helps players to focus on every set and gives opportunity for coach to give feedback.

If possible the tosser/thrower should have 2-3 balls to keep up the tempo in the drill, in case the digger misshits the ball.

Teaching Volleyball Skills - Phase II

After all the different techniques (overhead digging, digging hard driven ball, digging a ball on the side, etc.) have been introduced, coach can move to the next phase – start spiking the ball for the players without the net – or to swing the ball over the net for the defending players – depending what was the beginning level of the players.

When spiking the ball, the coach uses the same idea – not mixing up all the different digging techniques, but teaching digging skills one at the time.

Coach should progress from the basic dig into digging the ball on the side, then digging overhead, then digging hard driven ball etc. All those different digging techniques are different from others – and it helps players to learn when teaching them separately.

To Conclude Teaching Volleyball Skills

The purpose is to progress slowly towards more complicated volleyball drills – to make sure players learn all the techniques correctly.

Coach should not expect beginning volleyball players to dig spikes over the net with correct techniques instantly – it is better to start by tossing the ball without the net first. This same progressive teaching method should be used with all the volleyball skills.

We must remember volleyball skills training is not for the beginning volleyball players only. Also top volleyball teams at the higest level focus on training volleyball techniques. Volleyball skills drills at the pro level are obviously much more complex than for beginning volleyball players - but the main idea remains the same: tons of repetitions and learning details of each passing technique.

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