As a volleyball coach, I've learned lots of great drills to teach my team new skills and reinforce old ones.
Makeshift Drills for When No Court Is Available
In sports like volleyball, it can be difficult to keep up with your practice when you don't have immediate access to a court. Whether you play for a school and don't want your skills to atrophy over summer break or you joined a new gym that doesn't have a volleyball court, you may be in need of some drills you can run at home or outdoors without a net. In this article, we'll go over six different types of practice drills you can do with or without a partner that only require a ball and a wall.
6 At-Home Volleyball Practice Techniques
- Passing Skills
- Setting Skills
- Attacking Skills
- Blocking Skills
- Serving Skills
- Mental Skills
1. Passing Skills
An easy way to practice passing at home or at a park is to find a large wall (like the outdoor wall of a garage or a public wall ball wall) and pass against it. This allows you to focus on getting your form correct and gives you good feedback as to how much control you really have over the ball. Since you'll be trying to keep the ball up continuously by passing it every time it bounces back off of the wall, your success in this drill will be a good gauge of your control.
If you can keep passing the ball up more than 10 times, especially for younger or newer players to the sport, then you are on the right path. To increase the difficulty of this, you can mark a box with painter's tape about 10 to 15 feet high and practice passing into the box. See how many times out of 20 you can get it in!
You could also practice rolling and diving on flat grass, padding, or carpet. Just make sure you have enough open space to do so safely. Avoid doing too many repetitions of higher-impact drills like these.
You can pepper like normal or do a passing variation where you just pass back and forth while testing out different kinds of passes. You can try to catch your partner off-guard and give them a low, quick pass, or you can give them a high lofty pass. This keeps you on your toes and also helps you gain ball control.
2. Setting Skills
To practice setting at home, grab a ball and head to the kitchen (or anywhere with a hard floor) and sit in a computer chair. Then, practice setting so that the ball almost touches the ceiling. Your goal is to keep setting the ball wherever it goes by scooting around on the computer chair. Before attempting this, check and make sure there is nothing you might run into that could inure you or break the chair.
Another easy setting drill is to just do wall sets. You can do this by getting your body about a foot or so from a wall and setting so that the ball just barely goes above your hands. Keep your hands in the same spot, and work on your control of the set.
To work on setting and passing together, you can go outside (or wherever there's a high ceiling) and toss the ball to yourself, pass it up straight, then follow it with a high set to yourself. When you're a beginner, this will have you running all over your yard. As you become more skilled, you will be able to maintain control of the ball for longer periods of time. Test yourself by seeing how many you can do in a row. Consider charting your progress so you can see how much you improve over time. This will help keep you motivated in your practice.
For an intense setting drill, you can get a partner and get into a sit-up position with your feet together. This puts you facing each other when you are in the "up" position of a sit-up. Now, one partner sets the ball to the other partner, and as soon as the ball leaves your hands, you go down and do a sit-up, and by the time you get to the top again, the ball should be there for you to set to your partner. Just keep going back and forth, and you will get more control of your sets and get a great ab work-out at the same time!
3. Attacking Skills
One way to get better at attacking is to practice your footwork! Getting a fast approach comes with lots of practice, and a fast approach can make you a much more effective weapon. To make this more beneficial, make sure you are jumping when you are practicing your footwork. This adds a vertical work-out as well.
You could practice your snap either in your bedroom or living room—wherever there are more pillows. Pile them high and in a wide area—perhaps on top of your bed or on the couch. Then just toss the ball up, making sure you've got your hitting arm back and ready to hit, then swing through, focusing on snapping the ball down into the cushions. Again, make sure nothing breakable is nearby. And don't do this if there's a window right behind your couch or bed!
4. Blocking Skills
You can practice your blocking skills outside by trying to jump up from a standing, slightly crouched position and touch your gutters. This will help you focus on explosive power. Also, practicing your step-cross-hop footwork will help you get set up for more blocks if you are a middle, so try to focus on that too.
5. Serving Skills
Practice serving in your garage or shop by serving against a wall. Check with your parents/roommates to make sure this is alright first! Mark a line with painter's tape (the blue stuff) at 7'4 for women 14 years and up, and 7' for women 12 and under. Make sure you are serving above this line every time, and try to get it just barely above to practice your most aggressive serve.
6. Mental Skills
I believe that the mental aspect of the game isn't talked about nearly enough. It is one of my favorite parts of volleyball, and I always love hearing about new ways of doing things. To get yourself pumped up for workouts or practices, make a mix of songs that get your heart pumping! Bust out the beats right before your game or workout, during a workout, or in your car on your way to a competition. This will get your mind focused on what you are striving to accomplish.
Another way to motivate yourself is to look through quotes and find one or two that really mean something to you. You will always remember them when you need them, and it can help you pull out of a funk in stressful game situations. My personal favorite is, "No one conquers who does not fight." I am not sure who it's by, but it has always helped me fight through tough times on the court.
Being mentally prepared also involves learning new strategies. For example, if you know that the middle hitter across the net always hits to her right, your strategy should be to block her on that side and make sure your middle back knows what you're doing so she can get lined up for a straight hit ball. Knowing when and where to dump to if you're a setter. That can really pick a team apart.
Setting Goals for Ongoing Practice
Setting goals individually and for your team is another great way to get ahead in any sport. It helps you focus short and long-term on what you want to accomplish, so you don't just wander through the season without improving.
Having great skills is awesome, but when you are always striving to learn new strategies and even come up with your own, you can really grow in the sport and can become a top athlete in your school, your league, or your nation. If you have any other at-home practices that you do, please post them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
Cheyenne on September 12, 2020:
Thanks this has really helped!!!!
Minyoongi95 on August 25, 2020:
I played volleyball for two years and then stopped because I started doimg music. I want to get back at but it has been three years. Can I go back to it and improve my skill if i practice hard or no?. I will probaly join next year because all sports have been canceled until further notice this year at my school. Is it possible to be like i was before and even better?
skb on April 22, 2020:
this is helpful
Chesnie on September 18, 2019:
This was so helpful and I will be telling all my friends about this!!!
Berea Lady Pirate Middle school/High school Volleyball 2016-2019 on January 06, 2019:
Thank you so much! Especially the serving drills. I couldn't get a single serve over!
Volleyballer26 on January 02, 2019:
Great tips I will be using the during the off season!
Volleyball 101 on September 02, 2018:
These are awesome helpful drills....
Webster on July 05, 2018:
These drills are amazing!
Mustache on May 08, 2018:
This is really helpful
Korbyn on March 10, 2018:
Thanks soooo much!
JulieB on January 26, 2018:
Thank you! This is so helpful! I’m always trying to find ways to practice but everyone is always so busy and sometimes I can’t go outside. Now I have ways to practice!
Megan on February 25, 2017:
Thank you so much!
TheSpiker on February 21, 2017:
I love this article and I agree that mental skills are really not talked much about. About the listening to music... Do you have any suggestions? It's hard for me to find music that motivates me every game.
Volleyball9 on March 30, 2014:
Thx this really helped me! And for "Amy" I'm also a right side hitter and a good drill for right side hitters inside us to practice ur footwork cuz some sets are going to be a little far out or a little too close bc they r trying to set backwards so if u have PERFECT footwork anywhere u can easily spike or tip any set or pass!
I hope that helps and remember never give up on ur dreams u can ALWAYS get better with practice and discipline
jenny on August 05, 2012:
these are great ways to practice yor volley skills i do not have acess to a net so they work out great thanks and i love all of the drills
amy on July 24, 2012:
does anyone have any good at home drills for me. I live in New York City and don't have much space outside to practice on my own. Oh and I play right side so any drills focusing on that would be great!
Vballlover on March 01, 2012:
I am really good at volleyball but at try-outs I had to partner with my friend who, no offense is kinda bad, turns out I didn't make the team so I really wanna try amazing the coaches the upcoming year and trust me there is a lot of fierce competition and idk if I might make it but I'll keep ur tips in mind...Thanks!
horsegirl on July 27, 2011:
HHEY! so im going to be a freshman and missed all the volleyball camps, lame huh? So I rrreeaallly have to get back in the volleyball mode! I hope this will help me get back on track! thanks!
Catherine. (: on March 27, 2011:
Love it! I'm going to be a Freshman this year and I really needed something to start from after not playing since the season in the fall. I need to get back in shape and get practicing to make the Freshman Team! Thanks! :D
Cindy on November 20, 2010:
OMG thanks so much! I have no experience beside going to the gym every single day this summer with my friend who took a camp and working my ass off to learn everything. I didn't make the team unfortunatly (which people didn't think was right) but i am trying out for a league team and i am extreamly nervous. this will help me so much cuz there is a ton of snow and ice on the ground so i cant go outside. another good one is setting it high and making a full turn while clapping three times and setting it again and repeating this a few times to help height and control of your sets. :)
thevolleyballgeek on September 29, 2010:
wow, this was great! i am in middleschool volleyball and the season is almost over. i want to keep in shape, so this really helped. Also, it's important to practice saving balls after they hit the net, you have to be able to get them back up, it's easy to practice this with two people.
eppie on August 06, 2010:
another good setting drill is setting against a wall while slowly getting down on the floor and then get back up again it really makes you concentrate on where the ball is going.... thanks for all the advice i always love new tips that will help improve my game
farvbdev on August 03, 2010:
pooop on July 05, 2010:
kaspertheghost drill is terrible
kaspertheghost on July 03, 2010:
these are nice drills, i have one that i learned at a volleyball camp. take a ball and lay down on the floor and set the ball to your self. it works on ball control and a sence of balance. it will take u a while to be able to control the ball. hope u like it !
randomlady13 on June 25, 2010:
this is a really great resource. you've addressed so many different aspects of the game, and that's so important. people forget that it's all in your head!
volleyball-jumper on May 28, 2010:
hey, nice hub, i gotta say i agree with you about the last paragraph (mental skills) i always believe that mental skills are as important ( if not more) then physical. there was a study they did with basketball players, one group they made physically practice shooting the ball for a period of time, and the other group only practice in there mind. what's amazing is that the second group did as well as the first, and all they did was visualize!
TT on April 08, 2010:
Thank-you very much for these helpful tips. I will try them with my team and at home. My volleyballers will become better players than they already are. Thanks again and I will use these...
a setter on March 21, 2010:
Setting up against a wall is a good idea because it helps with your hand eye and helps work on ball control. Good tip! :)
whitney_185 (author) on December 15, 2009:
ba de le, I'm glad you like it! It really is a good one to remember and keep in mind!
ba de le on December 15, 2009:
i like the quote
"No one conquers who does not fight"
volleyball drills on October 19, 2009:
Good workouts/drills. I will try them.
dsfaf on August 05, 2009: