The first day of winter, as of the time of this writing, was, sadly, less than a week ago. Snow abounds. Temperatures drop. It's cold, guys, and beach volleyball, even in Southern California -- it's 48 degrees right now! -- is just not all that appealing to a lot of people.
And you know what? That's no problem. Because there are dozens and dozens of volleyball drills you can do at home, covering everything from setting to hitting to weird ball control touches, with or without a partner. So if you still want to get better, and get better from the warmth and comfort of your own home or a gym or outside, if you choose to brave the cold, we've got you covered.
Don't have a partner? Don't have a beach? Not a great setter but want to fix that? This is the perfect drill for you. It's as easy as one, two, three -- literally. For this setting drill, you'll want a ball, a decent amount of space, a hard surface -- your driveway, sidewalk, street, a basketball court, volleyball court, anything that'll bounce will do.
Step one: Throw the ball into the air
Step two: Set the ball into the air
Step three: Allow your set to bounce off the hard surface, and pretend, for this first series, that you're a right side player. This means that your net foot will be your right foot, so use the appropriate footwork when setting the ball again: left, right, set (or, dip, dip, lift).
Step four: Repeat 100 times, or as many times as you want.
Step five: Switch footwork, so your left foot is forward, and repeat for 100 reps, or as many times as you want.
It's easy, efficient, and you'll get a ton of reps in a quick amount of time.
And if you want to check out our 30-day setting masterclass, we cannot recommend it enough. The off-season is the perfect time to get better, and this masterclass has been proven by amateurs and professionals alike to get you better in less than a month.
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Better at Beach founder and professional beach volleyball player Mark Burik makes some of the best hand contact of any player on the AVP Tour. (Note: He's not writing this, we promise). So when Mark Burik has a drill on hand contact, do that drill!
Like the first drill, it's simple, and you can do this with or without a partner, in or outside. The purpose of this drill is to learn how to carve the ball, using your wrist to put a little sidespin on it as opposed to following threw your swing flat and straight.
Here's what you do: Toss the ball up, high enough to serve as a set, go through your typical arm swing motion, and then, as you're about to hit the ball, carve your hand around it. There are two main ways to do this: Bring your thumb up as you swing and follow through; or bring your thumb down (wrist away) as you swing and follow through.
It's tricky. Don't get frustrated if you make poor contact the first few times, don't worry: EVERYONE makes poor hand contact sometimes. The point of this drill is to minimize it. Work on your thumbs up and thumbs down swings. Hit it to yourself, to a partner, to a wall -- doesn't matter.
Just toss, hit, toss, hit, toss, hit. Do it while watching a football game or on mute during a conference call.
And go make some Mark Burik-type hand contact!
The most common volleyball "drill" in the world: Pepper. It's amazing. Gets you better at everything: passing, setting, hitting, you name it. It's a beautiful warm up before practice or a tournament and also just a great drill, because it's fun, and there are so many variations you can do to keep it interesting.
Pepper variation one: Five-touch pepper. It's just like it sounds: One partner tosses a ball to the next, and that partner then passes to him or herself, sets to herself, then hits it back to the partner, who then catches and tosses it back. Repeat 10 times and look at what you have: 50 reps in maybe two minutes.
Pepper variation two: Six touch pepper. This is the same drill as the first variation, only now, the partner who tossed the ball is passing it back this time. So now both partners are involved. See how many sequences you can get in a row without the ball dropping before switching roles.
Pepper variation three: Jumping pepper. It's just what it sounds like: now, when you're hitting the ball, you're jumping. As with all volleyball drills, have fun with it. Add whatever wrinkles you want. The more fun the drill, the better, since you'll want to do it longer, which means more touches, more ball control, more improvements, more wins -- and even more fun!
Once you've mastered -- or at least gotten a decent control of -- passing and setting, it's time to add a little vision work. Now, before we go further, I want to say: I think vision should be the absolute least of your priorities when it comes to improving your game. If you're reading this but you still can't set a clock or pass gas, go back to the first drill and start there.
Now, if you're a little more advanced and want to begin seeing the defense as you attack, welcome to our vision clinic!
This one, like the others, can be done by yourself, so long as you have a wall or a roof. You simply pass to yourself, set to yourself -- then look at the area in front of you. Then, after looking, you can hit against the wall or up onto the sloped roof, where the ball will be returned to you. Repeat this process.
If you have a partner, you can add this fun wrinkle: Pass and set to yourself, then look at your partner, who will be holding up a number on his or her hand. Say out loud what number they're holding up before you hit.
This drill is going to be extremely difficult at first, as it should be: Seeing the defense is hard stuff. And you know what you can't do if you don't pass or set to yourself well? See anything.
So don't get ahead of yourself: Pass well, set well, then worry about the defense. Always take care of your side of things first before worrying about what anybody else is doing.
Again: HAVE FUN! Laugh at yourself if you struggle or completely whiff the ball. We've all been there, even hand contact master Mark Burik.
Honestly, I think this drill should be a staple, absolutely required by volleyball players of all skill levels on a daily basis. In this drill, you'll toss the ball up, pass to yourself, set to yourself, then get weird. Your third touch will be either off your head or your shoulder. Your fourth touch has to be with one hand, using either only one forearm, a poke, a slap, a chicken wing -- any kind of weird touch you can imagine using only a single hand.
Why the weirdness? Why the unconventional touches? Because it's beach volleyball, and things get weird! You'll be diving, sliding, tripping, falling, scrambling, and only have an arm, a knuckle, an elbow, a head, a shoulder, whatever you can find to keep that damn balloon off the floor.
This drill is imperative to winning those long rallies where you just need to keep the play alive over and over and over again.
We hope you enjoyed our five easy volleyball drills you can do at home. If you're looking for more great drills, and want to join a tribe of other folks like you who are trying to get better, consider our beach volleyball mastery program. You can try it out free of charge for two weeks, and if it's not for you, no worries; you can always cancel and not pay a dime. But if you want to get better and start winning tournaments, or just improve and start beating your social group, this is honestly such a great series of courses that cover all aspects of beach volleyball.
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We are going to help you pass with more accuracy, more consistency and more confidence! Get the positioning and the mechanics to control the first touch against any server, in any weather. You’ll also learn to develop a mindset that keeps you in the game so you can stay focused and win matches.
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