The Most Effective Volleyball Drills for Beginners

Volleyball drills for beginners are important due to the drills providing the player with the opportunity to enhance their skills and technique. You don’t want to focus on just blocking drills or passing drills, but instead need to perform a variety of drills to become a well-rounded player. Here are some of the most effective volleyball drills for beginners that you can even do at home to improve your technique and skill set. 

Skill and Movement Volleyball Drills for Beginners


Volleyball is a team sport that requires individuals to become proficient at certain skills to achieve success.
Volleyball by HendersonStateUniversity / CC BY NC 2.0

Skill and movement drills are the most common drills that you’ll see a volleyball player doing and it’s one of the fundamental volleyball drills for beginners. The objective of these types of drills is to use repetition to develop and enhance the necessary skills to play the game. Primarily the focus is on setting and blocking, which are two of the most important aspects of volleyball drills for beginners.

Blocking Form Drill

The goal of the blocking form drill is to help you develop the fundamentals required for excellent blocking ability. This drill is similar to plyometric exercises that you can do that also increase your jumping skills. It’s important to add this drill into your routine of volleyball drills for beginners. Don’t use a live ball for the drill since a live ball can take the focus away from the technique itself.


In order to block effectively, you need to be able to jump high enough you can block right at the top of the net.
Volleyball by HendersonStateUniversity/  CC BY NC.20

How to Do It:

  • Have four players line up directly in front of the net and facing it.
     
  • Jump up and down using appropriate fundamentals and continue this movement for 1 minute.

Modifications

  • Switch it up by trying to keep your hands high, keep your thumbs up, and performing a balanced landing.

Toss & Pass

Toss and pass is one of the most basic volleyball drills for beginners and it’s important to learn since it involves the principles of passing. If you’re new to volleyball, you want to begin by having someone toss to the ball since it’s the easiest to pass. This allows you to concentrate more on having good form when passing as opposed to being distracted.


Using the toss and pass drill, you’ll become more skilled at serving the volleyball.
Volleyball vs Woodburn-78.jpg by Chris Brooks / CC BY-ND 2.0

How to Do It:

  • Choose whether you want to be the person tossing the ball first or receiving the ball.
  • Have one player toss the volleyball to the other player so that it’s easy to pass.
  • You can do this drill for 3 minutes and then switch so that you’re in the role of the other person. If you just tossed the ball then you’re now going to be the player passing the ball.

This video shows what a toss and pass drill looks like in action. You can see how smoothly the players perform and that’s due to regularly practicing the fundamentals.

Modifications

  • If you think you’ve mastered the art of passing when someone is tossing then try to just continuously pass the ball to the other person in a back and forth manner. This is called peppering the ball, which you’ll hear a lot during volleyball drills for beginners. It’s going to enhance your toss and pass skills even more.

Conditioning Volleyball Drills for Beginners

Conditioning is a part of almost every sport, including volleyball and I found that out the hard way so hopefully you perform conditioning drills regularly. It’s not about the technique with conditioning, but more about building up strength and stamina. If you practice good physical conditioning then you’re going to be able to play through an entire game without cramping, and there are several other health benefits. The better your conditioning routine is the more likely you’re going to be able to concentrate during those important seconds of a hard game. Not only are these great volleyball drills for beginners, but better conditioning means you’ll see and feel more health benefits from volleyball.

Hitting the Slopes

Hitting the slopes refers to moving like you’re skiing and it’s a very useful drill to help increase your agility. Moving side-to-side in volleyball is essential if you want to be able to hit the ball when it’s in a corner.


Moving side-to-side is essential for being able to go low and hit the ball in these tight locations.

IMG_2493 by Steven Ross / CC BY-NC2.0

How to Do It:

  • Put your hands behind your back and keep them together with your feet apart until they are about shoulder-width.
  • You will need to jump from side-to-side so that you go from your right to your left foot.
  • As you land on the right foot, swing out the left foot so that it’s a little further than the right. This is going to increase your leg strength and overall leg mobility.
  • It should be done for 5 minutes for the first couple of weeks, and then increase to 10 minutes.

On the Line 

On the Line remains one of the most effective volleyball drills for beginners if you’re focused on improving your conditioning. Not only are you going to improve your agility, but you’ll also increase your speed and improve your balance.


A gymnasium or outside football field  is often where On the Line drills take place.
Sprint Drills by Lance Goyke / CC BY 2.0

How to Do It:

  • You’ll need to begin at an end line and then quickly sprint up to the 10-foot line.
  • Sprint as quickly as you can to the end line.
  • From the middle line and sprint down to the end line.
  • Sprint down to the 10-foot line on the far side and then back to the end line.
  • Lastly, you want to go from the furthest end line to the starting line.
  • As you are going from one line to another, make sure you touch each of the lines with your hands. This can be hard to remember at first if this is your first time doing multiple volleyball drills for beginners.

Variations

  • Several different variations are possible with this drill including timing yourself, which is a great modification if you’re using this as one of the main volleyball drills for beginners.
  • There’s also the variation where you can focus on beating your own time so that you’re competing with yourself. I’m someone that enjoys competing with myself so this is what I loved about this drill.
  • This drill also could be used as a race for more competition and have multiple people performing the drill at once to see who’s the quickest.

Going for the Block

If you’re looking to increase your block height while you’re at the net, going for a block is a great conditioning drill to perform. Volleyball requires you to be as good at defense as you are at offense and that’s what makes this a top choice for volleyball drills for beginners.


Blocking effectively means practicing jumping near the same height as the volleyball net.
Volleyball by Lauren / CC BY 2.0

How to Do It:

  • Measure how tall the volleyball net is and then put a mark or line on a wall that is of the same height.
  • Begin jumping up and down in front of the wall as quickly as you can.
  • Make sure that your arms are raised as high as they normally would be if you were blocking right at the top of the net. 
  • Perform this jumping movement for 5 minutes at this quick pace.
  • From a squatting position, do complete jumps so that your back is parallel to your knees. Continue this slower squatting jump for another 5 minutes.

Strategic & Tactical Volleyball Drills for Beginners

Strategic and tactical volleyball drills for beginners are primarily focused on teamwork and executing as a group. A variety of playing strategies are used during these drills so you want to have already developed individual skills before getting into these team drills. They are great volleyball drills for beginners that haven’t played on a team previously. Strategic and tactical drills also are geared towards having fun since the enjoyment from these drills will allow the skills and talent of each player to shine through.

Two Pile

The two pile drill is a fun drill that you’re going to love because it helps you develop better communication skills with your teammates. This drill is also useful to help you increase your reaction time, which means it’s a perfect choice for useful volleyball drills for beginners.


You can start the two pile drill anywhere, including on the court during practice. ms vb at FHE by Photosavvy / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

How to Do It:

  • To start you want to have one volleyball player lying on top of another player.
  • Your coach is going to slap the ball and then toss the ball very high so that it’s in the court.
  • Once you hear the ball being slapped, you will begin to get off of the other person and the person that’s on the bottom will try to get to the ball to pass.
  • The volleyball player that’s on the top of the pile will be getting into the right position so that they can set for the other player.
  • Once you’ve passed, set, and hit the ball you are done with your part of the drill.
  • Two more players will then step in to begin the same drill.

Warm-Up 1-on-1 Drill

The 1-on-1 drill not only is great for helping you warm up but it’s also fun because you’re going to be running all over the court. Your goal is to play the ball and earn points by staying on your side. This is an excellent choice for volleyball drills for beginners since it’s all about trying to return the pass regardless of where the ball is on the court at the time.

How to Do It:

  • There will be one player that is underhandedly serving the ball while another player is on the opposite side of the net.
  • You only will get one hit for each side.
  • If you’re the one playing the ball then you have to use only your forearms. You will need to keep your hands together as you play the ball.
  • You’ll notice that by using only your forearms the drill looks more like a tennis match since each of the players will be running from one side of the court to the other side.
  • The winner is determined by if the server has won that particular volley. After someone wins, the two players will switch sides.
  • The person that was serving now will become the receiver and the receiver will then become the server, which is why it’s rated as one of the top volleyball drills for beginners.
  • A point is awarded each time the receiver stays on their side of the court and wins the volley.

Variations

  • You can choose to add competition into the game by keeping individual scores. That’s what I used to do when I was on the volleyball team in high school.
  • Playing to 5 points is one variation of the two pile drill, but have each person keep track of what their score is.
  • Stipulate that to earn a point you’ll need to be on the receiving side and win the volley. 

Hitting Around a Team Block 

Teamwork is needed in volleyball and one drill where you’ll have fun working as a team is hitting around a team block strategic drill. The goal of this drill is to try to hit your volleyball through your teammates blocking you. A lot of volleyball drills for beginners focus on the mechanics of the sport, and this drill is great for getting you into the mindset as a hitter to see the block and learn how to hit through it.

How to Do It:

  • You’ll need 6 players on one side of the volleyball net.
  • Have two players on the other side with one being a setter and one being a hitter.
  • The hitter is going to have to hit around or through the blockers that are on the other side of the net.
  • In this drill, the setter will need to make sure to set the hitter as much as possible.
  • You cannot tip or hit over the blockers if you’re the hitter and this is something you might forget if you’ve just started practicing volleyball drills for beginners.