Tip by Alison Krick, Harleysville, PA.
Our favorite (and consistently our players' favorite) drill is one we call the "bowling game" (has nothing to do with bowling). It focuses on communication, back row attacks, team play, and strategy.
For how simple it is, our players get really into it and are very competitive! Split into 2 teams, and each team plays on their side of the net. Teams have 3 players on (back row) for each rally. After each rally, the players shift to the left (new player in 1, 1 to 6, 6 to 5, and 5 to the line feeding in at 1). The team who won the previous point initiates the rally and "bowls" (underhand one-hand toss) an easy ball to a player on the opposing side. The rally is played out and 1 point is scored to the winning team per rally.
Rules are: all 3 players must play the ball (1 contact each) before the ball goes over the net, and back row attacks only. Teams are permitted to strategize with the order of their players (for example staggering hitters/defenders) and by "bowling" to a specific player ensuring that they have to pass and don't get the attack or set the first play since all 3 players must contact the ball each time.
We typically split the teams ourselves to ensure even levels, and teams will play best of 3 games to 10.