Volleyball. Everybody’s favorite sport in gym class. However, if you want to play competitively, there’s a tremendous gap you need to cross in order to be an effective player. One of the ways that will help cross this proverbial gap, is performing volleyball drills to improving your ball control. Long gone are the days of randomly hitting the ball and hoping a teammate can get it. The most effective volleyball player can place the ball exactly where they want, whether it’s a bump, set, or going for the kill with a spike.
In this article, you are going to learn volleyball drills to improve ball control. These drills will run the gamut of ball control and cover everything you need to be a better and more effective volleyball player. Volleyball class during gym was fun, but it’s time to step up your game and these drills are going to do just that!
8 Best Volleyball Drills
1. Pass And Set Drill
Pass and set drill is an exceptional drill. Not only because of its effectiveness, but its simplicity AND you can drill by yourself! That’s right, the pass and set drill merely comprises of passing and setting to yourself. At first thought, that sounds easy, but have you ever tried to see how many times you’re able to bump a ball consecutively? It’s difficult. Therefore, you will practice both passing and setting to yourself until you’re a master.
How To Drill Pass And Set
- Be sure the surrounding area is clean of clutter
- Take a ball and toss it in the air (just 1-2 feet) to get started
- Now, receive the ball and pass it to yourself
- Adjust your position if needed to get to the ball and pass it again
- Repeat as long as necessary
- A great “game” is to try to keep the ball in play for more passes
- Hitting the ball higher
- Alternate between passing and setting
- The hardest version has you pass the ball, then lay on the ground and get back up to pass again
2. Ladder Passing Drill
The ladder passing drill, also known as “Three-Touch Passing Drill”, will bring in another player (tosser) for the passer to pass to. In fact, three more! These three tossers will stand in a line on the court with 5 feet between them. Any line will do, but the sidelines work great. The passer passes to each player in succession as they work down the line. Not only does it train passing to multiple targets, the passer will also have to do it on the move.
How To Perform Ladder Passing
- Have tossers line up down a line with about 5 feet in between them
- The passer will start on either side of the line
- A coach will first pass the ball to the passer
- The passer receives the ball and passes to the first tosser
- The tosser will receive the pass and hit the ball back. The tosser should try to place the ball in front of the passer (towards the next tosser)
- The passer must stay in an athletic stance and move down the line to receive the ball. They will then pass to the next tosser.
- Repeat for the last tosser.
- Adding players
- Have the passer go back the other way.
3. Passing Out Of The Net Drill
Passing out of the net is going to drill real-game scenarios. Sometimes during game-play, a ball doesn’t make it over the net and you must keep the ball in play by “passing out of the net”. Still, the uncertainty of where the ball will go after leaving the net adds unpredictability to the drill, which forces the athlete to always be ready. This drill requires teams of two players with a maximum of 3 teams (6 players)
How To Perform Passing Out The Net
- In each team, one player (the passer) will be closer to the net with the other teammate (tosser) behind them.
- The tosser will hit the ball into the net
- The passer must read the ball, get into position, and pass the ball
- Have the passer pass the ball to themselves until they have control
- The tosser can hit the ball into different areas of the net (top, middle, bottom) to alter the ball’s path
3. Run The Middle Drill
“Run The Middle” is a ball control drill where you focus on getting the ball played in middle court after a serve. To run properly, this drill requires 7 players; 2 players on one side of the net and 5 on the opposite side.
Players and Position Required
2 Player Side
- Middle blocker
5 Player Side
- 3 Passers
- Middle hitter
After a serve, the other side’s objective is to receive the ball and then set for the middle hitter. The middle hitter will strike the ball over the net and the middle blocker will attempt to block.
This is a great drill for all positions and covers every aspect of ball control
How To Perform Run The Middle
- The server and middle blocker will take their positions on one side of the net
- On the opposite side, the 3 passers will line up on the back of court and the setter and middle hitter will get into position
- Server will serve the ball to either of the 3 passers
- The receiving passer will receive the serve and pass to the setter
- Middle hitter will move into position to hit and call for a set as they approach the net
- The setter will receive the pass and sets for the middle hitter.
- The middle hitter will then attack, and the blocker will attempt to block
- The middle hitter and middle blocker will then switch
- The players can then swap as well with rotation going for a predetermined number of rounds
5. Pass And Weave Drill
The pass and weave drill is like the ladder drill but also involves agility, hence the weaving. In order to perform this drill, you will need 4 players (3 tossers, 1 passer), 3 volleyballs for play, and 3 balls or cones to weave around. The tossers will stand facing the passer who will wave around the 3 cones while staying low and in an athletic stance. While doing so, tossers and passer will also pass a volleyball back and forth. This is a great drill to practice hitting multiple targets while on the move!
How To Perform Pass And Weave Drill
- Set up 3 cones/balls down a line approx. 5 feet apart and the middle cone should be offset.
- Position the 3 tossers directly across from each cone about 5 feet apart
- Each tosser will have a ball
- The passer will start on either side of the cone
- At the onset, the first tosser will hit the ball to the passer who will receive and pass back
- The passer shuffles to the side and up around the second cone
- The passer should never cross their feet and stay in a low position
- At the second cone, the 2nd tosser will hit the ball to the passer who will receive and hit back
- Continue this with the third tosser
Variations are like the “Ladder Passing” and include adding tossers (w/ cones) or going back and forth
6. Cross Court Pepper Drill
The cross court pepper drill is the best volleyball warm drill that is also going to allow you to practice multiple assets of ball control;
- Passing to another player
The drill gets a little more complicated as it’s performed with 4 players who pass diagonally. Therefore, the ball of the other 2 players may be distracting. Regardless, use this drill in the beginning of practice OR anytime there’s some down time.
How To Perform Cross Court Pepper
- Position two players on either side of the net
- The 4 players should all be aligned to make a large square, all being aligned with one another
- The two players are caddy-cornered and will work together
- Players on opposite sides will start with the ball
- The players will first hit the ball to their teammate
- The teammate will pass the ball to themself, set to them self, then hit the ball back to their teammate
- Repeat this process for the predetermined time
7. 25 Contact Drill
There’s a lot going on in the 25 Contact Drill, as it will use six players to practice teamwork, communication, and ball control across multiple positions. To set-up, the players will divide into two teams of three and stand on opposing sides of the net.
- Middle back
- Outside hitter
A coach will put a ball in play and then the players will pass the ball amongst each other in a structured format. The goal is to hit the ball consecutively 25 times.
This drill is like structured game-play, so it’s a phenomenal drill to get a team ready for game-day.
How To Perform The 25 Contact Drill
- Place three players on each side of the net in their designated spot based on their position
- The coach will begin by throwing the ball to one of the middle backs
- The middle back will receive the ball, and pass to the setter
- The setter will set for the outside hitter
- The outside hitter will attack the ball and hit to the other side
- The opposing middle back will receive the ball and pass
- This process will continue until the players can hit the ball at least 25 times
- After 25 times, the players can switch positions OR other players can rotate in
8. Pass, Set, Down Ball Drill
The Pass, Set, Down Ball Drill will teach players to hit balls to a desired location and working as a team with communication.
The drill requires at least 10 players in total. Four players will be actively playing on either side of the court while the extra (at least 1 but there can be more) will stand on the back court waiting to come in.
Players and Positions Required
- 1 Setter
- 3 Passers
- Extra players
The players will work in a specific layout and rotation pattern as they play the ball back and forth with the other side. After mastering this drill, players should be able to exercise ball control, ball delivery, and see improved team work
How To Perform Pass, Set, Down Ball Drill
- On each side, 3 passers will line across the court at about midway while the setter stands behind
- A player will receive the ball and pass to the setter
- The setter will then set the ball for one passer who hits the ball down court
- If the player who hits the ball down court is in the middle position, all the players stay in the same position
- If the player who hits the ball down court is on either the left or right side, that player rolls out and one of the other waiting teammates replaces them
Above are the 8 best volleyball drills for improved ball control. However, VertiMax can be used in volleyball to address a vast array of volleyball training. Everything from general sports performance, volleyball-specific training, and team training!
For more ideas on how VertiMax can make you and your team a more dominating force on the volleyball court, check out the VertiMax Instagram or VertiMax YouTube Channel.