Volleyball Serve Receive Drills

  • May 9, 2018

A serve plays a big role in the game of volleyball. It’s widely known that the game of volleyball always starts with a serve. That’s the reason why every volleyball team has several players who are responsible for serving during the game. Obviously, servers have to master the art of serving. In other words, it’s incredibly important for servers to do volleyball exercises that help them develop their serving skills.

However, the game of volleyball is not only about serving. Once the serve is made, the opposite team has to receive a serve. On the other hand, receiving a serve can also become a big challenge for a volleyball player. First of all, you need to take the correct posture and position yourself properly on the court. Keep in mind that the success of receiving a serve also depends a lot on volleyball player’s footwork.

It’s a great idea to add serve receive drills to a volleyball training program. What is great about serve drills is that they give servers an exciting opportunity to practise their serving skills. On the other hand, doing this type of drills allows volleyball players to learn how to receive serves in volleyball correctly. After receiving the ball, volleyball players have to make an accurate pass and then do transition from defence to offence within a short period of time.

In this blog, we’ll provide you with some of the best volleyball serve receive drills that you should do consistently. Practise these volleyball serve receive drills on a regular basis and the success will not keep you waiting for a long time.

Serving and Receiving Drill from John Dunning

A highly experienced volleyball coach from Stanford University, John Dunning, says that practicing serve receive drill is something that athletes need to do every single day. John is happy to share a great drill for improving serve-receive game with volleyball players.

It’s worth noting that the drill itself is very simple, so it can be done by servers of all skill levels. The main idea of this drill is to help volleyball players receive a serve the right way and then make a pass to one of his/her teammates.

The serving and receiving drill from John Dunning requires 6 servers, 4 defensive players (who will receive a serve during the game) and 2 setters (who will take a role of targets on the court). First of all, athletes have to be divided into two groups. A group has to consist of 3 servers, 2 defensive players and 1 setter.

Volleyball players should position themselves on different sides of the court. The distance between defensive volleyball players on the court needs to be about 4 meters. Volleyball players, who are responsible for receiving passes, should position themselves at the front of the net. Actually, these volleyball players have to be the target for passers.

During this volleyball drill servers have to make serves. Servers have to do all they can to make it difficult for defensive players to receive the ball. In other words, they have to serve pretty tough and pay a close attention to earth. And, the job of defensive players is to receive a serve and then pass a ball to the setter (target). By doing so, volleyball players will be able to get ready for carrying out an attack hit.

It’s also important to note that this drill also helps defensive volleyball players improve their communication skills significantly. Each time a defensive player wants to receive a ball, he/she has to call “mine” (or something like that) ahead of time to avoid any kind of misunderstanding between teammates on the court.

Serve Receive Drill from Josh Steinbach

Another legendary volleyball coach, Josh Steinbach (he works as the head coach at Stanford University and is well-known for being 2007 Big East Coach of the Year), is also happy to share a great serve receive drill with volleyball players.

Volleyball players can benefit from doing this drill in many ways. First and foremost, doing this drill has a huge positive impact on volleyball player’s serve receive game. Also, this drill allows volleyball players to improve their passing skills dramatically. Actually, the drill teaches athletes how to pass and control the ball effectively. Another big advantage is that practicing the drill helps improve communication between volleyball players.

The drill is performed by servers, passers and a setter. Servers have to position themselves on one side of the court. Passers and setters should go to the opposite side of the court. Servers start making their serves and the drill begins. The job of a passer is to receive a ball and make a pass to a setter. Plus, a passer has to call “mine”, “I go” (or something like that) after passing the ball.

Josh Steinbach also recommends volleyball players to be in comfortable posture. So, they must be able to start moving fast when such a need arises. Actually, it’s up to you what position to take while performing this drill. He says that some players choose to be low, while others prefer to be higher. One way or another, volleyball player’s posture should be comfortable.

Black Sheep Drill

There are players in every volleyball team who find it difficult to receive serves during the game. Without a doubt, they should do something about this. And of course, it would be nice for these volleyball players to focus on practicing different types of serve receiving skills.  It goes without saying that a volleyball player who wants to improve his/her serve receive skills has to participate in the so called black sheep drill.

Only one volleyball player (called the black sheet) has to receive a serve during the drill. He/she has to wear a colored jersey, so a server will be able to see who the black sheet is. First of all, the black sheep as well as other volleyball players have to go to one side of the court. Servers have to position themselves on the opposite side of the court.

The drill begins when a server starts making serves. As a result, the ball goes to the opposite side of the court. The job of a server is to serve the ball to the black sheet. So, the black sheet is a target for a server.

It’s clear that the black sheet has to do everything possible to receive a serve. Other players have to adjust to the black sheet’s positions. The entire team helps one player master serve receive skills. It’s important to point out that doing this type of a drill has a profound positive impact on a volleyball team’s spirit.

Two Minute Drill

During the game of volleyball a receiving team has to receive a serve first. Afterwards, a player who has received a serve has to make an accurate pass to one of his/her teammates. Then, a setter sets a ball to a hitter. Lastly, a hitter carries out a successful attack hit.

The reality is the transition from defense to an attack doesn’t always go easily. The two minute drill is the type of a drill that teaches volleyball players how to do transition from defense to offence quickly.

The two minute drill brings together 2 servers as well as 2 hitters and 2 setters. It all begins with the preparation. The servers have to go to one side of the court. Hitters and setters have to position themselves on the opposite side of the court. The drill requires accuracy and speed.

The server serves the ball to the opposite side of the court and two minute drill begins. A hitter has to receive a ball and make a pass to one of setters. The job of a setter is to set the ball and make it possible for a hitter to carry out an attack hit. The drill should take no longer than two minutes. A volleyball team should aim to carry out as many attack hits as possible.

It’s important to know that this drill can be done either by one team or several teams. If the drill is performed by several teams, someone should calculate how many hits each team has done. The team that carries out the most hits within 2 minutes – wins the game.

Thank you so much for reading this article. There is no doubt that practicing each of these great drills will contribute greatly to your serve receive skills and overall success on the court. Now, you have everything that’s needed to improve your serve receive game. As always, we wish you the best of luck!     

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