Multi-Ball Drills for Mental and Physical Development [ARTICLE]

Multi-Ball Drills for Mental and Physical Development
By: Nate Thompson - Assistant Coach - Bradley University

Originally Published in: Coaching Volleyball

Provided by and Copyright: American Volleyball Coaches Association

Before I arrived at Bradley, I was a club director and high school coach in Indianapolis. I was always on the lookout for creative ways to stress our athletes mentally and physically while improving our skill set on the court (don't we all?). I was lucky to come across this multi-ball circuit innovated by Ray Gooden and the Northern Illinois University volleyball program that does just that. The different variations of this circuit are designed to be co-operative in nature - focusing on communication, ball control and thinking forward on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

Getting your team mentally engaged at the start of training is a struggle many of us deal with. I would absolutely recommend using Variations A and B separately as a part of your warm-up in addition to or in place of traditional pepper. I felt this adjustment allowed our practices to start off a little more crisply. You can also use Variations A-D as a progression style drill.

Variation A - Player 1: "Swing," Player 2: "Catch-Toss"

Player 1: The athlete closest to the net will focus on effective communication, getting their feet to the ball, making good hand on ball (HOB) contact to place the down ball between Player 2's knees.

Player 2: The athlete will catch the down ball and then toss it back high enough for P1 to continue giving repetitive down balls to P2. Focus on high tosses - lower tosses will lead to pace of the drill speeding up to point of failure.

*Athletes will switch roles after coach-designated amount of time or successful repetitions.

Variation B - Player 1: "Swing-Toss-Catch,"

Player 2: "Dig-Set"

Sequence: P1 will hit down ball to P2, P2 will dig down ball, P1 will toss their second ball to P2, P1 will catch P2 dig, P2 will set ball and sequence will repeat.

Player 1: Both volleyballs will start with P1 at the net. P1 focus continues to be getting their feet to the ball and making good HOB contact.

Player 2: P2 will have an added focus of controlled contacts from both their platform and hands to keep the drill operating efficiently.

Variation C - 2 V. 2 (3 Total Volleyballs)

The drill remains cooperative in Variations C and D. To increase control, split the court into two halves. Three total volleyballs should be on the court.

Side 1: This side should have two volleyballs and Side 2 should have one. P1 will send the first ball to the athlete without a ball (P1) on Side 2.

Side 2: P1 will pass the ball to P2, P2 will quickly toss the ball in their hands to P 1. So one ball is in play and one ball is being tossed back and forth between teammates. They will use a pass-set-down ball sequence to send the ball back to the Side 1 athlete without the ball (P2). Side 1 will continue this sequence.

Variation D - 3 V. 3 (5 Total Volleyballs)

In this variation of the drill, the concept remains the same. If the ball is in play on your side, you will toss the ball in your hands to the person sending you the live ball (i.e. the athlete setting should toss her ball to the athlete who is passing the ball to her - the athlete who will be hitting the down ball should toss their ball to the setter.)

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