June 2019 Coaching Tip

Posted by Volley CART on

Tip by Paul Oakes from Akron, Ohio.

This drill is used to work on keeping serves in, especially at critical moments at the end of a game/match.

2 teams. There will be a "serving team" and a "target team"(this can be done dividing the team by grade levels, or Varsity and J.V., or however you want them divided.

Serving team only serves(one ball at a time). Players alternate through their selected rotation. Next serve cannot be contacted until the last serve is completed on opponents side.

Non-servers(targets) stand on the other side of the net, between the 3-meter line and the end line(anywhere inside the court) with their backs to the serving team. They cannot be within 12" of the sidelines. It's recommended that they place their hands with fingers interlocked behind their head(protection).

Objective: The serving team must hit the all of the targets within a certain time period(we use 2 minutes). As a target gets hit, she comes off of the court. The serving team receives 10 points if they knock out all of the targets. If they don't knock them all out, the number of targets left is deducted from 10 and that's their score for that round. Teams switch roles. Play as many rounds as desired. Losers have an "athletic challenge" to accomplish after drill is completed.

Notes: If a target tries to move to avoid being hit, or "peeks" at the serving team, they are automatically considered hit and must come off of the floor. If the serving team misses a serve, a target that has been hit and is off the floor, comes back onto the court. Finally, the serving team must retrieve served balls in order to have enough balls to keep the drill going, and not run out of time(don't forget--service order must be maintained).

Hope you enjoy it as much as our players do!

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  • We do this same drill, but have the receiving team seated indian-style. They can lean, but cannot move to catch the balls. We do two rounds to work on serve placement… Round 1) teams sit in receiving spots 1-6 and points are earned for hitting those spots. Round 2) teams sit in receiving spots 1-6 but points are only earned for ball that CANNOT be caught and land in open areas between.

    Nancy Escobar on
  • Congrats to the winner.
    However, in the highly sensitive climate of concussion protocol in today’s sports (especially junior and youth levels), I find it difficult to align my values as a coach with this drill. I would recommend allowing the targeted athletes to face the servers and make them catch without taking a step. Or have the targets sit down to inhibit mobility (again, facing the target to promote a safer training environment). Simply leaving the fingers will not necessarily prevent a hard impact to a dangerous cerebral area.

    Another suggestion, due to lack of touches and contacts in the design, is to shorten the time and limit the space allowed so that both teams can work together to achieve the objective of clutch serving with pressure applied. For example, limit to zones 1 and 2 (right back corner and right front corner, respectively). The servers and targets are teammates on the same team. When a target catches the serve, they replace the server to reciprocate the drill. This also incorporates hustle and fatigue factor while having to focus on your serve as if winning a long rally and having to keep the momentum with a good serve to a zone.

    I just feel there is so much more (and safer) strategies a coach can use to achieve the serving objective.

    All the best,

    Jon on

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