Occasionally coaches feel that running repetitive volleyball drills in the practice is somewhat like pulling teeth. The players get this painful look on their faces – one that reveals they are probably only going through the motions, but not enjoying it a bit.
What to Do?
One of the best and easiest techniques to involve participants is to make your drills a fun-filled experience. We all know from our own experience that learning anything through a fun-filled activity will produce better results.
It is important to put in extra effort to keep players alert when trying to develop volleyball technical skills, which is very monotonous training. Often, the plain repetition loses its effect because the participant, although physically involved, is not mentally engaged.
Once "fun" is introduced into the equation, mental engagement is increased.
How to Make Volleyball Drills Fun?
Introduce "mini-games" that can be played during daily volleyball drills.
Many coaches have discovered that use of a mini-game during practice becomes an effective teaching method when developing technical volleyball skills. Particularly this is true when developing skills for the very young players who possess attention spans probably as short as they are.
What Are Mini-Game Volleyball Drills?
The goal of the mini-game volleyball drills is to employ the skills training through repetitive drills, but by turning these drills into games. Games engage participants much more than standard repetitive drills.
The simplest is to divide the practice arena into "mini-courts" where one-on-one, two-on-two, or three-on-three games can be staged. These games not only help to develop technical skills but teach participants the valuable skills for reading the game as well.
How to Use Mini-Games?
Often it is necessary to employ the monotonous repetition of selected body movements, like footwork or shuffling drills into practice volleyball drills. Several sessions of mini-games help to reinforce skills developed through those "boring," but necessary, drill movements.
The basic mini-game concept includes dividing players down to small teams to gain the advantage of every player being engaged in activity. Fielding three, two, and more effectively one against another will allow the greater activity for each individual. The goal of developing individual skills will have its highest effect in one-on-one activity.
Furthermore, when it comes to these mini-games, it really does not matter what age level the volleyball players are. Players of all ages love to play games; therefore those could be used for all the volleyball players, younger or older.
Fun Volleyball Drills – One-On- One Games
Since the most important aspect, which is maximizing the ball contacts, derived from reducing the number of participants – the size of the court needs to be reduced. The court is divided into as many mini-courts as possible.
The court size varies; it is depending on the rules of the game. One-on-one games could take place in a space no larger than 10 by 20 feet (three by six meters). You will find that a 10-foot, or three-meter, length will work well for the back line in many of these games. Use a piece of tape to separate courts from one another. However, the court size and marking boundary lines are not important in mini-games – you could even change those between the rallies – since your goal is to maximize the ball contacts.
The most important aspect is to keep the ball flying. Keeping the ball in the air will produce more repetitions in a short period of time, which fastens the learning.
Since each individual involved in one-on-one mini-games will be the only member in a team, each has the sole responsibility to serve, pass, set and attack the ball for their "team". This is naturally depending on the rules of the game.
The game could be played with one contact only, when the game becomes a tennis-like game, which is very beneficial when teaching bumping techniques and footwork. The coach could also allow two contacts – or make the rule that the first contact has to be a one hand pass, which is a great way to teach passing skills for the players. Options for new games are unlimited.
Fun Volleyball Drills – Examples of Mini- Games
In this example there is one player in a team. Conduct a mini-game where only one ball contact per side is allowed and limit this to bumping. Instead of employing the typical three-step volleyball offense to bump, and then set to spike, allowing only a "bump" return in a one-on-one volleyball game will help to develop passing techniques and footwork needed in it.
It is extremely important for the coach to keep watching the techniques – and give constant feedback for the players. When playing this game, the goal is to learn the correct passing techniques, not to win the game.
Multiple mini-games can be created to break the cycle of monotonous skills training. Use a little creative thought to design additional one-on-one mini-games to infuse fun into the volleyball drills.