Friday, February 14, 2014

Ultimate Volley Drill

Ultimate Volley Drill by Inaki Balzola appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of PTR's magazine. It
was presented as a ball machine drill but is easily adapted if you don't have a machine handy. Coach can take the place of the machine. You can do this drill with as few as three students. Students should be able to rally volleys.

Coach is at one baseline, feeding volleys cross court to player at net. So put coach at deuce baseline and player on other side of net at deuce. This player is hitting volleys to a target at the baseline straight ahead. Meanwhile two other players are across from each other at net directly in line with coach. These two are working on building up their volley rallies.

This is a competition - target volleyer is trying to hit the target 3 times before rally players complete X amount of rallies. Inaki suggests 20 rallies but you can adjust that number based on the skill of your students. When someone wins, players rotate.

I love Inaki's suggestion that target player must dribble as they move from their net position, around far baseline and to end of line for volley rally.

I used the heck out of this drill last week, in four different levels of classes (red, orange, green, yellow) with anywhere from three to six players on a single court. It didn't disappoint.
  • I kept the number 20 of rallies needed as suggested and it worked fine for all levels. 
  • I adjusted the number of target hits needed by adding the rolling of a fuzzy dice to determine how many hits were needed per player. This was very popular!
  • I also added another twist, asking the players to create a target out of throw down spots somewhere on the ad half of the court without telling them what we were going to do with the target. That made for some interesting strategic choices when they were asked to relocate the target after the first round.
  • I allowed doubles play on the rally side to avoid having too many players standing in the dreaded line waiting to play.
  • If we finished a round of volley play, we moved over to the opposite side of the court and repeated. If we finished that, I moved the players back and we played it with ground strokes rather than volleys. I didn't do this yet but we could also make this an overhead game but we'd have to be very careful and aware. 

Overall I LOVE this game - so flexible, keeps most players moving, very little standing around.