Tip by Lisa Manis, Dickinson HS in Dickinson, TX.
DS Reaction Time Drill:
When working with the DS, I have my girls face away from the net in a defensive position. As they have their backs to me, I slap the ball or have them turn to face me with any command.
As they turn and face me, I serve the ball to them. I usually use our ball machine and the ball is served quickly. Your DS players must react fast to the ball movement and have a good platform as they turn. I have used this with our younger kids and the ball being served is slower to them. On our varsity team the ball is served as they are turning.
The faster the ball is served the faster they must react. Since playing a DS position requires athletes to react and adjust with little or no time. At first the drill was not very successful but I continued, forcing them to play the ball. They soon loved the drill because it was a fast paced drill and as they became successful they wanted the ball served faster. You are able to adjust this drill by having them turn and run to the ball, etc. I found that doing this improved their reaction time to the ball. Hope this helps.