9 Volleyball Hitting Drills for a Powerful Offense

Are you looking for tried and tested ways to take your hitting skills to the next level? Then these 9 volleyball drills are for you.

Powerful attacking comes down to:

  • High, optimal contact point - created by a well-timed, explosive approach and a strong vertical jump
  • Whip-like hitting arm - created by mobility, strength, and proper arm swing technique 
  • Vision and volleyball IQ - created by great coaching and a high number of quality repetitions
Attacking during a volleyball drill

We've been using the following drills to great effect in developing these qualities in our camp participants and online trainees, helping them become more dangerous, winning attackers.

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If you want to build powerful swings, increase first ball kills, or up your offensive game as a whole, check out these 9—and add any you like to your next volleyball practice. ⬇️

In this article

Spike Prep

Vision Practice

Full Attacking

Drills to Prepare for Perfect Spiking

1. Arm Throw

Properly swinging the arms back before take-off can add over three inches to a player’s jump, as  was determined in the study ‘Understanding how an arm swing enhances performance in the vertical jump’ by Lees et al., published in J Biomech. 2004 Dec;37(12):1929-40). 

The Arm Throw drill creates the chance to practice the backswing of the arms in a controlled way.

It is simple, but can be very effective especially for volleyball players who haven’t yet dialed in their approach and jumping mechanics.

How to perform:

  1. Start with the feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Drop into a squat while also hinging at the hips.
  3. Powerfully throw the arms back at the same time.
  4. Repeat 5-10 times per series


Coaching cues:

  • Keep the chest up to start
  • Don’t hinge excessively at the hips
  • Throw back the arms as far as mobility allows – preferably at least shoulder height
  • Swing the arms back close to the body to create a stretch reflex in the shoulder girdle
  • Use the arm’s momentum to lead the movement of the hips
  • Perform the exercise explosively

2. Push-Punch

A powerful penultimate step (second-to-last jumping step) and aggressive block step (last jumping step) are key to an effective volleyball approach.

As is syncing the arm motion with the take-off sequence.

It’s setting a player up to spike the ball strong.

With Push-Punch, you can teach this to your players, using a single, simple drill.


How to perform:

  1. Have hitters stand on their left leg.
  2. Both arms are in front of the body.
  3. Explosively have the right leg perform the penultimate (second-to-last) jumping step, while swinging the arms back
  4. Go into the last jumping step (block step), while bringing the arms forward. Time this so arms and legs are in sync. Once they get it right, this will add power to their jump.


Coaching cues:

  • The left leg (that they’re standing on to start) should be bent 
  • Aim for a long and explosive penultimate jumping step
  • Aggressively ‘punch the ground’ with the block step (last jumping step)
  • Swing back the arms close to the body, and explosively, creating a stretch reflex in the shoulders that will help the jump
  • Let the wrists flap upwards to pre-load the arms even more

3. Partner Arm Swing Ball Throw

Many beginning and intermediate level hitters can benefit from improving their arm swing technique. A more efficient arm swing means more power, precision and attacking range.

As a bonus, good technique can help reduce the overuse injuries of the shoulder that volleyball players often suffer from.

Throws like the baseball pitch or football pass are very similar to the volleyball spike. And they can be a great tool for working on arm swing technique in a controlled way.

How to perform:

  1. Two players are standing facing each other across the net
  2. Throw the implement (tennis ball or football) to your partner, focusing on good arm swing technique
  3. Repeat for 10 throws each


Coaching cues:

  • Both feet are facing the target
  • Push the right hip forward to create a stretch across the side of the abs
  • Pull the right shoulder back with the ball, creating separation between hip and shoulder
  • Throw the ball with a spiking motion
  • Increase speed with each repetition

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4. Box Squat Spike

This drill helps players learn to explode into their jump, as well as find the perfect hitting timing.

Because the volleyball spike is one of the most complex sports movements, it can be helpful to break it down—so a hitter can perfect certain parts without having to worry about some of its other complex elements (like the three-step approach).

Performing a jump and spike from a box squat position is one of those options that we like to use with our clients.

How to perform:

  1. Start seated on a box. The height of the box should be such that the legs are at about the same angle as in the spike approach.
  2. The coach is tossing a ball in front of the player.
  3. The hitter now punches his feet into the ground and performs an explosive jump.
  4. He attacks the ball in the air.


Coaching cues:

  • When performing the jump, players should try to stay on the ground for as short a time as possible while generating maximum power
  • Strong focus on watching the set, and timing the jump and spike accordingly
  • Hit the ball at the highest point

Practicing Attack Vision

5. Fish-Eye Vision

The best attackers not only hit the ball hard. 

They also see the block and defense very well. This allows them to tool the block, hit the seam between the defense, or produce perfectly placed soft shots.

Although it’s so important, training offensive vision is often neglected. Here is a simple way to work on it in your volleyball practice.

How to perform:

  1. Stand in front of the net
  2. Set (or toss) the ball above the hitting arm
  3. Upon looking up at the ball, practice using ‘fish-eye vision’ to peripherally see the other side of the court
  4. Hit the ball into the net so that the drill can be repeated right away


Coaching cues:

  • Take a look before the hit – but make sure you can still hit the ball high and hard

6. 3-Touch Vision Pepper

Another simple attack vision drill that forces players to look at the defense before completing the hit.

The 3-touch variation of volleyball pepper has them work in pairs. The defending player is signaling to the hitter whether to hit the ball high or low.

This simulates having a look at the opposite court before spiking the ball.

How to perform:

  1. Two players stand about 20 ft apart from each other
  2. The attacker bumps and sets the ball to himself
  3. In the moment of the set, the defender puts his arms either overhead or keeps them at hip level
  4. The attacker takes a look, or uses peripheral vision, and then hits the ball either high or low according to what he saw the defender do
  5. The ball is defended and the same three touches are repeated on the other side

Coaching cues:

  • Bring the arm back fully. Use a normal arm swing like in the game to make it hard to read the direction of the attack

Full Attacking Drills

7. Sideline Hits

Against a strong defense, you often need to be precise in where you hit the ball – or you’ll be easily blocked or dug.

That’s why we need to practice hitting some sharper angles, for example towards the sidelines.

Mark off a 2ft alley along the left and right sidelines for the attackers to hit. The drill includes a defender, a setter, a coach, and a single-file line of outside hitters.

How to perform:

  1. The coach hits the ball at the defender, who digs it towards the setter
  2. The setter sets the ball to the outside
  3. After the set, he calls out whether to go left or right
  4. The hitter spikes the ball with power toward either ‘sideline alley’ according to the call


Coaching cues:

  • Call the direction only after the set, so the hitters don’t adjust their approach and become more readable

8. Back Row Attacking

To practice hitting trouble sets, or intentional back row sets, use this game-like setup with a defending team, passers, a setter, and a hitter.

This one will make your players learn to convert points even if they are off the net – an important quality of winning teams.

The video has us working outdoors, but it can easily be adapted to indoor volleyball.

How to perform:

  1. The defending team serves at two or three passers.
  2. The setter gives a back row set to one of the passers.
  3. The hitter spikes hard, with intent to score.
  4. If the other team manages to defend, the drill continues.


Coaching cues:

  • Take a full approach behind the 10ft line
  • Hit hard and try to score, even though you’re off the net

9. Target Practice

Focusing on hitting hard cross towards the sideline, deep line, or other selected parts of the court is what Target Practice is about.

You can mark those targets on the gym floor using tape, cones, or mats. The goal is to hit the target as much as possible.

You can even make it into a competition where the first hitter to 5 or 10 target hits wins.

How to perform:

  1. Server on the opposite of the net, one setter, one passer who becomes the attacker (or a libero as dedicated passer). 
  2. Attackers rotate after every hit.


Coaching cues:

  • Hit the target with a hard spike or fast shot – do not slow down and hit an easily defensible attack just to hit the target.

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