The Best Volleyball Conditioning Drills

The Best Volleyball Conditioning Drills

These are the best drills to work on players physical fitness levels, not only will these drills improve conditioning levels, but they also allow players to get a lot of touches on the volleyball.  Volleyball coaches must maximize their time with their players and give them as many opportunities as possible to work on their volleyball skills and technique.  These volleyball conditioning drills will increase touches on the volleyball and accelerate players development while building the physical capabilities needed to compete on game day.


Against Yourself

This is a really fun volleyball drill that challenges players skills and endurance.  Begin with three players on one side of the court with the opposite side of the court empty.  The drill begins with one player passing the ball to a teammate.  After they pass the volleyball they run under the net to the opposite side of the court.

Against Yourself1

Now two players are on one side of the court and the third is on the opposite.  The player receiving the first pass then passes the volleyball to the third teammate.  After they pass the ball they run under the net to the opposite side of the court.

Against Yourself2

The third player that receives the second pass passes the volleyball over the net to the player that started the drill.  After they pass the ball over the net they run to the opposite side of the court.

Against Yourself3

The process repeats itself on the opposite side of the net.  A player will pass the ball, then run to the opposite side of the court.  Players should pass the ball with plenty of height to allow themselves time to run under the net and set up to receive the pass from the third player.  The group of players will continue passing and playing the ball over the net to themselves until the ball hits the ground.  Once the ball hits the ground a new group of three players runs the drill.  Challenge the groups of three to see how many times they can play the ball over the net without the volleyball touching the ground.


Nine Person Pepper

Begin with six players on one side of the court and three on the opposite side of the court.  The drill is initiated by the coach playing a volleyball to the side of the court with six players.  The six players must build an attack and play the ball over the net.

9 Person Pepper1

After the volleyball is played over the net, the front line runs under the net and must build an attack with the three players that started the drill on the opposite side of the net.

9 Person Pepper2

The players build an attack and play the ball under the net and the frontline players again run under the net to the opposite side of the court.

9 Person Pepper3

Continue this process until the ball is dead.  After the ball dies switch the players so that every line has the opportunity to be the front line that is running under the net.  Switching allows all players in this volleyball conditioning drill to work on their fitness and allows the other players time to rest.


Block, Block, Recover

Begin by lining up players on one side of the net.  This volleyball drill is completed in pairs and each pair will jump to block twice then recover into a defensive position.  The drill is initiated by the coach, after a command is given the players run to the middle of the net and jump to block a ball.

Block, Block, Recover1

Ensure that the players are putting in maximum effort with their blocks, this is what gives this drill the conditioning element.  A certain height requirement can be put in place to ensure players are jumping with maximum effort.  For example a player’s hand must be fully above the net.  The height requirement will depend on the athletic abilities of the players, but it should be set at a reasonable height and i players do not meet the requirement they must repeat their block.  After the first block the players quickly proceed to the far side of the net for their second block.Block, Block, Recover2 Block, Block, Recover3Once the players land back on their feet after the second block the coach plays a volleyball over the net that the blockers must successfully return.  Players must learn to reset into a defensive position quickly after a successful block and work together to return the volleyball.  Players stay in the same pairs throughout the drill and score a point for every ball they successfully return.  Keep the pace up in this drill to ensure there is a proper conditioning element.  After the first pair of players lands from their first block the pair of players behind them should make their way onto the court and approach the net for their first block attempt.


Triple Hit

Hitters will attack three volleyballs, the first will be from a standing position with no approach.  The coach begins this volleyball drill by tossing a volleyball to be hit.

Triple Hit3

After the volleyball is hit the player back pedals half way to the end line.  The coach then tosses the second volleyball for the hitter to attack.  The hitter will take their approach to the volleyball and hit it over the net.Triple Hit2

After the second volleyball is hit the player back pedals to the end line.  The coach then tosses the third and final volleyball to be hit.  The attacker again makes their approach to the net, but from a farther distance and hits the ball over the net.

Triple Hit4

After three hits the next player begins their repetition with a standing hit.  To keep the intensity up on this conditioning drill have plenty of volleyballs ready and station one player on the opposite side of the court to collect the volleyballs that are being hit.  After a player hits three balls they become the player who collects the next players attacks and the player who was collecting the volleyballs moves to the back of the line.


Tag

This is a high intensity volleyball drill that will demand a lot of the players.  Players pair up and three pairs line up along the end line.  Another player is at the net as a target player.  The coach begins the drill by playing a volleyball over the net to a player who must reach the volleyball then pass it to the target player.  The coach should play the volleyball to a location on the court that challenges the players to get there in time to pass it to the target player.  After the player passes the volleyball they must run back and tag their partner and turn around for the next ball.

Tag1

Immediately after the coach plays the first volleyball they play the next ball into the next player and work their way through each player playing one ball right after another.  The quickness in which the coach plays the balls dictates the intensity of this volleyball drill.

Tag2

Pairs earn points for every ball they play into the target player that can be set to attack.  Run the volleyball drill for one to two minutes then have the partners switch roles.


Fitness Triangle

During this volleyball drill players will get into groups of three and form a triangle.  The players will pass the ball around the triangle.  Begin by having one player pass the volleyball to their teammate.

Fitness Triangle1

After the ball has been passed the player who passed the ball will perform a repetition of an exercise of the coach’s choosing.  For example, the player would pass the ball then do a push up.  They must complete the repetition before the ball makes its way back to them.

Fitness Triangle2

The process is repeated by the next player, they pass the ball to the next player in the triangle and after the pass they perform a repetition of the exercise.

Fitness Triangle3

The drill continues and each group is challenged to see how many times they can complete a full rotation without the volleyball touching the ground.  This drill will work on conditioning, and allow players to get touches on the volleyball.  Other exercises that work week with this drill are:

Players should complete between one and three repetitions depending on the exercise.  Set the number of repetitions at a reasonable level to complete before the ball makes its way back around, one burped is a good number for that exercise, but three could be expected for the feet jack.  Other exercises can be used the key is to ensure that a repetition can be completed before the ball makes its way back around the triangle.


Set and Run

Players will work at a fast pace and get a lot of repetitions in this volleyball drill.  Four players position themselves near the corners of the court, two of them have a ball.  A fifth player positions themselves in the middle.  Begin by having one of the players on the corners pass a volleyball into the fifth player who then sets the volleyball to a player in the opposite corner.  After the set they run around a marker on the sideline and repeat the process with the players on the opposite side of the court.

Set and Run1Set and Run2This volleyball drill can be modified to have players set a volleyball across the court forcing them to back set or this volleyball drill can be used as a passing drill.  Each player runs through the drill for about a minute and then the players rotate until all five have had a chance to set the ball.


All of these drills will work players physically and help them build their physical fitness.  However, they do this while also allowing players the opportunity to get touches on the volleyball.  Conditioning is a crucial part of any practice and it should be incorporated into drills that give players the opportunity to work on other skills.  Drills or exercises that have the sole purpose to work on physical conditioning waste precious practice time and the benefits of these drills can be incorporated into drills that also build skills, technique, and good volleyball habits.

If a season is sixteen weeks long and there are two hour and a half practices and one game a week that gives players about four to five hours a week to play volleyball multiplied by sixteen weeks gives them between sixty four and eighty hours of practice and game time.  That is not much time to work with players and aid in their development and growth.  Practices should be designed to allow players to touch the ball as many times as possible, strategies for this can be found in the how to run an amazing volleyball practice post.

This collection of volleyball drills have the dual benefit of improving players abilities as well as improving their fitness levels.  Ensure that players are pushing themselves during these drills and are playing at a pace that is challenging, but not frantic.  Allow players the proper amount of recovery time between their repetitions, most of these drills have rest built into them, when other players are completing their repetitions the ones waiting for their turn should be actively resting.  While all of these drills have a conditioning element, proper form and technique should not be compromised, coaches should develop those good volleyball habits early and often.  Lots of time and lots of feedback are required to build those habits to the point where they become second nature.  The focus should be proper intensity levels, proper form and technique, and continuous feedback, if all of these elements are present these drills will help build skills and fitness.

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