Volleyball Warm Up Drills

When I say the context, I mean the type of team you have and the priorities you have for them. Warm-ups for a group of 12-and-unders will be considerably different than for elite college level athletes, for example. The kids won’t need all that much to get them physically ready to go, but the college players may. Similarly, warm-ups for a team whose focus is primarily on development might be quite different from those in a mainly competitive environment. A developmental team can use warm-ups to help skill development while for the competitive team may want to simply have the most efficient way to prepare players’ bodies for the rigors of gameplay and perhaps work on tactical elements.

As for purpose, what I mean here is what your warm-up is intended to accomplish. Is it to get players ready for training or for competition. Is it mainly physical or mental, or both? Using the example above, while a physical warm-up for 12-and-unders probably isn’t really necessary, a mental one could be quite important to get them focused at the start of a session. Likewise, getting ready for a match could be quite different from getting ready for practice.

Make sure you have a good handle on both context and purpose as you plan your team’s warm-up. As for the sorts of drills you can use, here are some ideas.

A dynamic warm-up will probably be a good starting point. Basically, a dynamic warm-up is one which gets the body ready for action through various type of movement. You can find examples by searching YouTube. The old jog & stretch routine is increasingly being shown to be ineffective, if not down right detrimental to performance because of the impact of static stretching on the muscles. You’ll want to avoid that.

The dynamic warm-up is quite good as a general physical warm-up and doesn’t take all that much time. If you have specialized needs, you’ll want to address them, of course.

What follows the dynamic warm-up – or perhaps even replaces it, depending on your circumstance – depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want to incorporate skill development in the warm-up, you could do something like ball-handling drills that keep the players moving and active, but also works on their fundamentals. If you have more tactical needs, you can put the players through low-intensity versions of game-like drills by taking out the jumping and/or hitting elements. In the case of a pre-match routine, you’ll want something that is consistent and not only physically prepares the players for play, but also puts them in a good mindset (think high success rate drills).

There are numerous ways you can construct a good volleyball warm-up, probably with drills you already know. You just need to think about the requirements of your warm-up and make adjustments as required. Make sure the warm-up is right for your team and situation. Don’t get caught up in doing what anyone else does.

Basic Skills Used in Volleyball

Serving – Every play in volleyball starts with the serve. It is the only skill of the game which is completely in the control of the individual player. The serve may be executed either from a standing position or while jumping. The two primary types are float serves, which are hit with no spin so as to knuckle in the air, and top spin serves, which are struck so as to cause the ball to dip down toward the end of its flight.

Passing – Passing is the act of directing a ball coming from the other team in the form of either a serve or other non-attack form of play toward the net where it can be set. Quite often these passes are executed using the forearms (sometimes known as bumping), but they can also be done overhead (at least in the indoor game).

Setting – After a ball is passed (or dug) on the first contact, a second one is used to provide an attackable ball to a hitter. This set is usually executed overhand in the indoor game, though can also be accomplished using a forearm pass. You will see the latter – generally referred to as a bump set – in the beach game quite often where the restrictions on ball-handling are somewhat tighter.

Hitting – Also known as spiking, hitting is the process of attacking the ball into the opponents court. The objective is to score a point by causing the ball to land on the floor or to be played out of bounds by a defending player. This is generally accomplished by jumping and hitting the ball above the height of the net with a downward trajectory.

Blocking – The first line of defense against a hitter is the block. In blocking, a player (or players) attempt to prevent the ball from being played into their court by stopping it from crossing the net at the point of attack. This is executed by jumping very near the net and extending the arms above the head, and into the opponents side of the court for those with the height and/or jumping ability to do so.

Digging – Executed in a similar fashion to passing, digging is the handling of an attacked ball. It can be done either using a forearm pass or overhead, though generally speaking the ball is coming at a more rapid pace than in the case of normal passing. The idea, however, is the same in terms of playing the ball in the direction of the net to then be set.