Six Volleyball Passing Drills to Step Up Your Game

Friends Playing Crossnet on a beach

“Serve Strong. Dig Fierce. Spike Hard.”Unknown

If reading the three phrases above has you amped to get out and play some volleyball, you’re our kind of person. Combining strength, agility, mental acuity and a whole lot more, the game stretches one in many ways, whether you’re messing around with pals or competing at a high level.

Regardless of what level you are, it helps to have some (or a lot) of technical skills to boost your enjoyment level and give you a better shot to emerge victorious. Luckily, we’re here to help with our six volleyball passing drills to step up your game. 

3’s and 2’s

Have lots of energy in your tank when starting this drill because you’ll quickly zap yourself of some of it as you hone both technique and reaction time

Two players station themselves on one side of the net, with one in a setter spot and another in the back row. A third player on the opposite-side setter position tosses the ball over to player one, who passes to setter two, who then sends it back the other way with a bounce pass underneath the net. Then immediately and ending the initial cycle, player three throws a second ball over as soon as player one passes to player two. 

This drill will work up a great sweat while also teaching you to have a short-term memory after any errant pass. 

Toss Catch Drill

Toss Catch is a great way to warm up and build confidence, or cool down after a rather intense drill. 

More than anything else, Toss Catch is designed to instill sound body positioning and emphasizes utilizing your legs instead of merely relying on arms and wrists. One player simply passes the ball to another across the net, who catches and throws it back. To maximize your fundamentals, wait with arms at a 90-degree angle away from your body and ensure that while bending at the waist, you’re maintaining said angle.

Vary the drill and put a little more into it as well with a four square volleyball net. Pick an order of how you’ll send it around the square and then mix it up to make sure you’re perfecting alignment as you pass your way into the next level of volleyball expertise. 

Shuffle Steps

Serving Crossnet

Novice volleyball players and fans likely send most of their focus toward the top of the net, and understandably so since so much exciting action commences at the high point. However, anyone who can legitimately play will stress the extreme importance of proper footwork. 

Even if you might not necessarily shuffle your feet in an actual match, Shuffle Steps reinforces body control and a controlled-force approach to the ball. Toss the ball over the net at least 10 feet away from your counterpart so that they must track it through the air and get to the landing spot. Reciprocate with as many tosses as you fancy either way, and send it left, right, forward and backward to really test focus and directional mobility. 

Woman playing Crossnet

Band Passing

Players can incorporate this drill into the last one, or simply enhance it with an added wrinkle. Band Passing forces players to shuffle their feet by tying elastic bands around ankles as they move multiple directions to pass the ball.

Antenna

See the ball. Hit the ball. No, we’re not onto baseball, but the axiom rings true in volleyball, too. Particularly for those just starting out, not keeping your eye on the ball through contact will deter you from making sound contact. Who woulda thought?!

Have a fellow player hold an antenna or noodle in front of the passer’s head just off to either side so they can use the antenna’s height as a visual to keep their hand stationary once the ball is served. 

Towel Drill

Like the preceding, the Towel Drill also reinforces ideal body posture. Simply place a folded towel on the passing player’s back and see how long they can keep it there while fielding the ball back from another. This should be particularly challenging when retreating to send the ball back where it came from. 

Summing It Up

Do you feel more equipped to serve strong, dig fierce and spike hard? Good! That’s what we figured. If you’re fretting about how to carry out these drills while covering an entire court, fret not as a four square volleyball setup is the perfect way to perfect your passing craft and really focus on the tasks at hand.

Commit to practicing these six volleyball passing drills and you’ll be impressing onlookers and besting the competition in no time. Just remember–serve strong, dig fierce, spike hard…and put in the work to make the trio a reality. 

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