Volleyball Drills to do at Home

June 9, 2019

Want to get your skills to a new level? Establish a routine of drills you can do at home. Do these on your off nights when you are in-season and the extra reps you get at home can go a long way in propelling your volleyball career. Here are a few suggestions.

From volleyball fundamentals to movement and footwork patterns there are a variety of home exercises that can help you focus on any aspect of the game.

The purpose of this page is to help athletes by offering some suggestions on how you can improve in the fundamentals of the game. Remember, there is no substitute for hard work. Success inevitably finds those who outworked everyone else.

Setting drills you can do at home

Every young volleyball player should own their own volleyball and touch it daily, at least when in season. 

WARNING: Young athletes who volley to themselves may find themselves dealing with a common bad habit; that of setting with their head tilted back. In my opinion, this is one of the hardest habits to break, so better to avoid it in the first place.

NEVER set to yourself while sitting or standing. Set against a wall if available or set to yourself while on your back. 

Key drills:

- Set against a wall
- Set to a partner
- Set on your back

Key points:

Setting to yourself can lead to a bad habit that is difficult to break… that of setting with your head tilted back while you set balls above your head rather than behind the ball. Consider doing 3-4 sets of 25-30 reps if you are a beginner; Again, on your off-nights.

Forearm passing drills to do at home

There are two aspects to forearm passing that can be enhanced by working at home. These are platform discipline and footwork.

PLATFORM DISCIPLINE: Some of the best options for exercises on platform discipline include passing against a wall or to a partner. You can also pass to yourself by tossing the ball up, passing it back up and catching it. This will allow you to control the passing and prevent any possible damage around the house. To add difficulty, you can toss the ball to one side or the other shuffle step and pass the ball back to the spot you tossed from. 

Key drills:

- Pass against a wall
- Pass to a partner
- Toss ball and pass it up to self: toss – pass – catch (shuffle back and forth)

Key points:

When receiving a ball, whether from a serve or an attack, your decision as a receiver is whether to absorb the ball or generate pace on the ball. The general rule is that you should be absorbing the ball so there is no reason to swing your arms. The keyword for passing is “freeze”. When you pass make sure you shrug your shoulders and hold your platform steady. Stay focused on the ball for a second after contact, doing so will add to your overall discipline. I suggest three (3) sets of twenty (20) on off-nights.

MOVEMENT: Please see our video on movement (side of this page) for examples of movement exercises you can do at home.

There are three elements to passing that coaches must review with their athletes These are:

Communication (seam assignments)
Vision: the need for consistent posture when moving and early movement to the ball
You can incorporate all these elements in your movement routines. 

Blocking drills you can do at home

Other than poor spacing along the net (blocker standing too close to the net), the most common challenge for blockers is “toe jumping”. This refers to blockers shuffling along the net and jumping without dropping to their heels to load their quadricep muscles (thigh muscles) before jumping. The series of drills I would recommend to young athletes wanting to improve their blocking I refer to as the “Squat and Press” series.

A squat is when you bend your knees and drop back to a sitting position. The press is achieved by standing up on your toes and pushing the ball against the wall high above your head. The key element to blocking effectively is the ability to reach over the net (penetrate) and crunch your abdominal muscles (pike) to lock your arms in place.    

You can perform a simple squat and press then add movement to increase complexity. 

Key drills:

- Squat and Press
- Squat & Press: two-step back and forth
- Squat & Press: shuffle back and forth
- Squat & Press: cross-over step

Key points:

The three key elements to successful blocking are:

Spacing: keep elbows high and in front to stay off the net
Load quads before jumping and avoid toe-jumping
Penetrate the net: reach over when blocking
All three of these common errors can be reduced by performing squat & presses at home. Be sure to add footwork patterns to get the most out of the exercises. I suggest three (3) sets of twenty (20) on off-nights.

Attacking drills you can do at home

Who wouldn’t want to hit a ball harder? To speed up your arm swing you essentially need to throw more balls. Therefore, you can simply grab a ball and do some throw and catch with a brother, sister or parent. Of course, if you want to avoid damaging everything in the house another alternative may have to be considered.

I recommend using badminton birds. Keep 4-5 in your left hand (if right-handed), pull one out at a time and throw them on the floor near a wall as quickly as you can. Consider 3-4 sets of 20 on your off-nights.

Key Points: 

Just as if you were throwing a baseball, or serving a volleyball, you should start with your weight on your back foot, then step forward with a heel-to-toe motion to allow for weight transfer and finally remember to drag your back toes to engage your hips. All this to rotate correctly and generate torque.

Also remember to keep your elbow high and behind your shoulder to ensure a full range of motion. 

APPROACHES: You can include your approaching footwork to add complexity. In other words, three-step approach, jump and throw badminton bird.

Serving drills you can do at home

As any coach will tell you, the most common mistake with overhead serves is the toss. We encourage our younger athletes to rotate when they serve so the mechanics would be similar as the attacking exercise listed above: weight on back foot, step forward heel-to-toe to transfer weight, and drag back toes to engage hips and generate torque.

The key to tossing successfully is keeping the ball high (don’t drop the ball below your waist) and pushing the ball in front so you are “chasing” it forward rather than stepping under it. I suggest practicing your serving toss with 3-4 sets of 20, again on your off-nights.

I hope you find this information helpful and if you have any at-home exercises you would like to share with us feel free to contact me directly.

- Coach Luc