Volleyball Drills Passing Fundamentals

Volleyball Drills Passing – One Common Technical Fault

Volleyball Passing Drills
Do not swing with arms – just place the arms under the ball.

The most common fault on passing technique is the player heavily swings the ball with arms.

A served ball approaches fast; therefore the player should never swing at the ball – it is enough just to place arms under the ball to direct the platform toward the target.

Plenty of attention should be paid on arms to avoid swinging. If a player needs to put extra power behind her bump pass, it could be done by a very light push with legs, body and arms – still by keeping the arms almost steady – just by directing the ball with arms.

Serve Receive or Toss Over the Net – Teaches Correct Passing Techniques

It helps coaches to teach correct passing skills when receiving the serve or toss over the net as soon as possible.

When serve receiving at the net, it helps players to realize the ball travels quite fast, so there is no need to swing with arms or push the ball heavily with legs.

Volleyball Drills Passing – How to Practice Volleyball Pass? 

Introduction (mimic)

The coach introduces the skill and makes sure a player does the technique correctly without the ball.

  • The coach could use a chair (or similar) and ask the player to sit on the edge of the chair, having a well balanced position, around 90 degree knee angle, the weight preferably on toes than heels, her arms extended to pass (bump) the ball. The chair could help player to visualize the basic passing form. Naturally, it can be done without the chair also.
  • The coach asks the player to take the basic passing position and mimic passing (bumping) by placing the platform under the imaginary serve and directing to toward the setter.
  • The player may use a very light push with legs, body and arms when directing the ball to the setter. There is no need for the extensive arm swing or push with legs.
  • If the extra power is needed i.e. to push a free ball to the setter, the player may use a push “through the body”, in other words a light push with legs, body and arms to bump the ball to the setter.
  • Swinging the volleyball heavily with arms makes the pass inaccurate.
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An example of a low passing form

Volleyball Drills Passing – Adding the Toss

On this progression, the coach takes a ball into play and tosses it to the player.

  • The coach tosses the ball to a player who takes the basic passing position. (If a chair is used, the player could be sitting on the edge of the chair.) When the volleyball approaches, a player performs a pass.
  • These next phases should be fairly quick.  The coach should progress as soon as possible to toss or serve the ball over the net.  In this phase the speed of the ball is not very high, so players may learn unnecessary habits, like swinging the ball with arms, if this kind of drills are repeated too much.
  • A player could repeat the pass 8-10 times before giving a rest or switching with the partner.  Players tend to lose the full focus, if repeating too many reps in a row.
  • It could be tough for a beginner player to repeat several passes in half squat position, so give players enough rest and don’t repeat more than 4-5 sets.
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An example of a high passing form

Volleyball Drills Passing – Passing with Footwork

This progression with a footwork need a little bit more practice and could be repeated in several practices. Again, it is recommended to perform passing with footwork at the net as soon as possible.

  • The coach or target starts tossing the volleyball a little bit to the left or right side of the player. The player performs shuffle steps to keep the volleyball in front of her body.
  • The coach should pay attention to shuffle steps; steps should be short, weight more on the toes than heels (in other words: forward) and cross over steps are not allowed. While moving to the volleyball the arms should be unattached – “in front of the body”, ready to be attached.
  • The coach should also pay attention to the fact that a player stops completely and has a well balanced position before she passes (bumps) the ball back to the coach or target.
  • The coach also needs to work on tossing the ball in front and back of the player, so the player needs to shuffle backwards or forward.

As soon as the coach feels the players are ready they can move to perform the same on the net.

Volleyball Passing Drills

Volleyball Passing Drills on the Net – Tossing

When doing passing drills on the net, the coach needs to add a target to a passer by the net.

  • The coach tosses the volleyball over the net. The coach stands fairly close to the net and makes a player to take couple of shuffle steps to the left, right, forward (short balls) or backward before the pass.
  • The coach can work to one direction (i.e. toss to the left) at the time to ease up the learning in the beginning. This helps to put each technique into the memory bank of the player.
  • The coach focuses on the same aspects as in the previous phase:
    • shuffle steps
    • movement behind the ball, keeping the ball in front of her body
    • stopping the movement
    • placing the arms under the volleyball to direct it to the target (no extensive swinging).
  • The coach progresses by stepping back a little by little until s/he feels passers are ready to start passing a serve.


Volleyball Passing Drills – On the Net – Serving 

When serving same principles apply, start close to the net maybe around 20 feet off the net.

  • If the coach has an accurate serve, s/he can work out one side at the time. First, the coach serves multiple serves to the left side only, next round to the right side only – and so on.
  • The coach needs to remember to serve different kind of serves.
  • For example at one practice s/he focuses on float serves and the next practice s/he teaches players to pass top spin serves.
  • When players progress, the coach moves further back toward the back line.


Volleyball Passing Drills – Combining Passing with Other Skills 

When players are able to perform passing on the high accurate level, the coach can consider moving on combining it with other skills (for example set and spike).

Important Tips for Training Volleyball Passing!

  • Shuffling and the basic position should be learned first
  • It is extremely important to stop before passing (bumping) the ball
  • Direct the ball WITHOUT an extensive arm swing to the appropriate target.


Volleyball Passing Drills – How to Organize the Drill?

  • When doing over the net passing, each tosser/server should have two players in the group. While one passes, one catches the ball. The coach can easily put four of these groups on one net.
  • To keep the drill moving fast each group needs to learn “two ball- system”. Always when the serve is floating over the net, the target tosses the other ball to the server. Especially in the beginning when the passes are not accurate, a target needs to have an extra balls by him/her.
  • Generally speaking limit the passes to fairly small amounts before switching the passer, around 8-15 passes is good enough. It is very common for players to lose their focus, if too many reps are repeated in a row. Require players to perform every single pass fully focused.
  • It is also a good idea to break down one drill to smaller sections, instead of having just one long drill. That way the players stay more focused.
    • For example: it is a good idea to tell players they have 5 minutes to practice passing from the left side of their body before working out the right side vs. telling them they will practice passing for the next 20 minutes.
    • It is much easier for players to stay focused 5 minutes at the time, than preparing for the whole 20 minute session. That’s a good way to trick players to focus on monotonous technical drills.

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Important Tips to the Coach!

  • It is not undermining when tossing/serving the ball by being close to the passer. It is extremely important to do so, especially for the beginner players whose passing skills has not developed yet.
  • It also allows the faster tempo, accurate tosses and better feedback.


Article courtesy to VolleyballAdvisors.com

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