My team named this the "Fancy Blocking Drill" or the "FBD." You'll need flash to play this animation. Each player added to the drill follows the same pattern. Note that the order of the blocks is numbered across the bottom. The players line up along the left sideline and wait for their turn. Each player jumps left, middle, left, middle, right, middle, right and then leaves the court to get back in line. I find that, if I let the players use me as a mirror on the other side of the net, I can help keep them from getting lost. Even last year, my ten-year-olds got this drill down.


At a higher level, it's excellent for practice closing the block and working on jumping together at the net. Be sure that players keep their elbows in. Be sure they extend their arms all the way up and spread fingers wide and tight on every jump. Have them wait and jump together. View the Demonstration (coming soon)
















Figure 8

Begin with three players lined up, one behind the other on the end line, centered in the back court. The coach stands at the center of the net. One player remains with the coach to hand balls. One player stands on the court as the setter's target (about five feet off the net). The rest of the team shags balls.


The first player runs into the court to her right as the coach tosses the ball just out of reach. The player dives and digs the ball to the target and runs off to the right side and back to the center back of the court. Once, there, she continues to run into the left side of the court, dives and controls the ball to the target, runs off to the left and back to the center back. The movement forms a figure 8 shape on the floor. The three players alternate as the coach tosses side to side.


Once they are tired, encourage three more good dives to the target to get out of the drill.


This drill can also be done with high free ball tosses and a setter as the target.  The setter should have setting targets at the four and the five.




This is an excellent drill for ball control and endurance. Most players use this drill to warm up before playing a game. As you pass, set and hit with your partner, work hard on your proper form every time. Move behind the ball to dig and hit and beat the ball to the spot when setting. Working hard on proper form when you feel fatigue is great training. See the Drill



Dig and Hit

Players line up off the rear left side of court. First player starts in left back. Coach is at net with balls. Shagger starts on other side of court. Coach tosses a short ball, causing the player to run from left back to left front and dive to touch and attempt to pop up ball. Player gets up quickly as coach tosses a set. Player must track the ball, step behind the ball, jump and swing. The hitter becomes a shagger for the next player in line.




Vollis is one on one, full court wave through initiated with an underhand serve. The ball must go over on one. Two players begin on court. One will serve underhand from the end-line. The line of other players begins off the court behind the server. Points can not be made from the serving side. Points can only be made on the receiving side of the court. If the server wins the rally, she/he runs under the net to become the receiver and the previous receiver (who lost the rally) shags the ball and gets back in line. The next girl/guy in line is the new server.



Pass Against the Wall


Start with an underhand toss. Legs are apart and the right foot is slightly forward. Wait with bent legs and use only your legs to make the ball go. Arms don't move. Arms are locked with fists pointing down and shoulders are up around the neck. Back rounds forward. See the Drill


Pass to Self, Pass to Partner


It's important to have arms come together straight and parallel to the floor. After you bump to yourself, leave your arms out straight and don't drop them at all before you bump the ball for the second time. Emphasize using your legs to make the ball go. Arms don't swing. Shoulders are locked tight and high near the neck. There should be no shoulder rotation. View the Demonstration


For a more advanced version of this drill, pass one to yourself and one backwards to your partner. View the Demonstration


10 ft to 10 ft

This drill allows the coach to examine the players' passing form and correct it. The emphasis is on ball control. Make sure the players start with hands in the ready position, legs bent and back rounded. Make sure they don't allow their backs to stand up straight.


Have your players divide into two groups on two sides of the court. Have them form single file lines facing the net. Toss the ball to the player at the front of one line to begin the drill.


The first player passes over the net to the 10 foot line, then runs under the net and to the back of the line on the other side. The player waiting at the front of the line on the other side passes over the net to the ten foot line, then runs under and to the back of the line.

View the Demonstration


Three Man Passing, Free Ball in Setter's Corner

The goal of this drill is to practice sending the free ball to the setter's right back corner. I force my players to use all bumping/forearm passing in this drill. Only when the ball goes over my head and the ball cart does the shot count as a point. Three players are on the court at one time. This drill is like half court wave through. After your turn, you shag the ball and get back in line. If left or middle back passes, right back sets. If right back sets, left back swings forward to set.

View the Demonstration (coming soon)


The 'W' Drill

This drill works best if the player tries not to move behind the ball until it is tossed.  Tosses should be high enough for the player to beat the ball to the spot, remain low and pass without standing up straight.


Printable Diagram of the 'W' Drill


Troubleshooting Common Passing Errors/ Correcting Form


Upper Arms Touching Body

Putting Arms Together Low

Legs Extending Too Soon

Fists Curling Upward

Low Shoulders

Arms Together Late

Flicking the Upper Back



Hitting against the wall is not only a good warm up, but very good practice for repetition. Toss with two hands to simulate an approach jump, where both arms/hands come up out of the approach. The hitting arm comes straight up, close to the head, elbow stays high. The hand opens wide and back as the arm bends. Then, the arm straightens as the stomach contracts and head follows through. Contact the ball with a straight arm and a snap over the top of the ball. Be sure to contact the ball in front of your body.


Hitting from a stand or a study wood block: Have your players take turns hitting 20 balls each over the net from a sturdy stand. They should toss the ball up with two hands and allow the arms to continue up into the air after the ball leaves their hands. This simulates the approach jump. The right arm continues back as the back arches. The left arm begins to pull downward and the stomach then begins to crunch forward. Leading with bent elbow as arm quickly straightens out and contacts the ball while straight. Wide spread fingers snap over the top of the ball. Have them leave their arm paused in the air and straight with the snap after hitting. Snap against the wall.



Sit up Setting Drill

Setting on the Wall

Set to Yourself




Look Before You Shoot with Coach, Brad Barber


Get several different objects,  i.e. backpack, sandal, umbrella post, beach chair, volleyball, cooler, put them in different spots on the court.    Put an object in each deep corner.  Put an object in the from left and front right  and middle left, middle center middle right.  Now have your partner set you. Be sure that you are getting high sets. You will notice the Pros's set very high.  This gives them time to look.  After the set has  come out of  your partners hands and  you are starting your approach have your partner yell out an object take a very quick glance at that object  and now try to hit it with a controlled shot. The object is to jump hard like you are going to spike for maximum vertical. This freezes the back court defender  into thinking you are still spiking and is and makes you much harder to defend. Now go ahead and take your eyes off the object and refocus on the ball and make a very crisp shot to the intended object.

Remember the glance happens in just a split second and takes patience to learn. Also this skill is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO DO IN THE WIND.

So wait for a calm day. ~ Brad Barber


Stamina and Quickness with Coach, Bonnie Bright


I learned from one of the best, Dane Selznick, that I needed to put in the extra time conditioning in addition to playing beach every day. If you have access to soft sand, take a soft sand run several days a week. After playing, or on off days, I would run a four mile loop from State Beach to the Santa Monica Pier and back.


For quickness, do what I call can-to-can sprints. The garbage cans in Santa Monica were the perfect distance apart, approximately every 100 yards. Start at one can (or a marker you set up) and sprint back and forth between the cans/markers. Take a short rest of about 10 to 20 seconds before beginning the next sprint. As you sprint, keep your toes pointed. Think of sticking them into the sand like your foot is a shovel going into the ground at a forward angle. You don't want to run on your heels in sand.


Three days a week, after playing games, do 3 sets of 15 squat jumps, simulating a block each time.


Run stairs or do stadiums. Alternate running up every step, walking or running up skipping a step and walking up every step. If there are approximately 200 steps, try to do between 5 and 15 sets.


A strong core not only facilitates tough serving and hitting, but it also helps you get your body moving quickly when changing direction in defense. Work your way up to 200 to 500 sit ups per day. Balance that out with back work and plank.




The best players practice at home, on their own, in addition to practicing with the team. I'll begin a series of videos here where you can get ideas of how to improve your skills at home. You can practice proper form and repetition that will give you great ball control. And, you can make up your own strength and agility drills that will help you build confidences and mental toughness on the court.


Practice at Home: Video 1

Practice at Home: Video 2



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