The best communication drills for volleyball

In sports, there is often the myth of the star player that scores and pushes the team to a win. Volleyball is a team sport and you won’t accomplish anything alone. In both defense and offense, you have to work together. In defense, you have to agree who is going to intercept the ball.

In offense, you have to know who is going to push the ball over the net. Let’s take a look at some ways in which volleyball players communicate in offense and defense.

Communication drills for defense

Passing drills are a great way to improve communication. Mistakes happen when players don’t know what is going to happen. They can drop the ball just because they didn’t expect that it would go to them. Therefore you can ask players to communicate too much.

Especially on defense, this is essential as it is quite hard to control the ball at that point in the game. The other team can’t gain any advantage from this communication so it is better to talk too much.

The following drill gives the team unlimited passes and they can score points by letting the ball bound on the court of the other team. Given that players have to communicate a lot, it pushes them to get practice this. A lot of teams just don’t talk enough while they are playing. 

The player that is going to catch the ball has to shoutMine’. This makes sure that players don’t run into each other or try to catch the same ball. It is a mistake that happens often during a match and can be avoided by calling the ball.

Players have to shout loud enough so that everyone can hear it. This can be worked on during a training session. Every time a player doesn’t shout ‘Mine’, they have to do a pushup. This makes sure that players think about this and will do it during the match as well. 

After this, it has to be clear who needs to receive the ball. Just shouting the name of the player that you are going to pass to can already work. If a player has a long name, you might find an abbreviation. You can also ask the team that they have to look at the player that is receiving the ball. Once again, you can let them do push-ups if they don’t. 

Communication drills for offense

The setter coordinates the attack. He or she can use hand signals to indicate to whom they are going to attack. This makes sure to the rest of the team what they have to do. The setter just has to make sure that the other team doesn’t see their hand signals as this can make the attack too predictable.

An easy way to do this is to hold the hand behind your back when you show them to the rest of the team. This can be worked on during a training session. 

Setters have to be decisive when they do this. There is not much time during an attack and therefore everyone needs to know what will happen. If the setter notices that the hitter is not paying attention, they can shout their name but this makes the attack more predictable so you can’t do it every time.

The setters and hitters have to use body language as well to communicate. This can be eye contact or a quick nod. A drill for this is having one setter and two hitters on the court. The setter has to pass multiple balls in quick succession.

Afterward, the hitters have to tell if it was clear that the ball was coming their way or not. It has to be very clear for the hitter that the ball is coming their way. 

Don’t overcomplicate these hand signals. Teams can substitute players and if one of them doesn’t know what is going to happen, the attack can break down. Therefore you have to find easy hand signals that everyone understands.

Players that get substituted need to explain the hand signal to the player that is entering the court. 

Communication between players and coach:

During a timeout, a coach has to be able to communicate what needs to happen. This can be done by using a whiteboard. There is not a lot of time to do this so often players use a system. The most famous ones are the 4-2 or 5-1 system.

This means that there is 2 or 1 hitter on the court. This theoretical part has to be explained during a theory session. It is essential that the coach offers comfort to the players and is willing to repeat the same information multiple times.

It can take a while before some players get all the nuances of a system. The coach has to accept this and be willing to explain everything from A to Z so that every player is able to understand what needs to happen. 

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A lot of coaches don’t have enough patience for this and this can lead to mistakes as players are unsure about what needs to happen. A great coach is able to deal with this situation and get the best out of their players.

This can be practiced by running the system during a training session. You can ask players to switch between systems to see if they fully grasp the approach.

To conclude, we can state that communication is essential in volleyball. The coach has to be able to explain the systems before the match.

The players also have to communicate with each other on the court. In this post, we have outlined some techniques and drills that can be used to improve communication within a volleyball team. This will make them better at defense and offense and makes sure that stupid mistakes are avoided.