The best volleyball footwork drills: explained

Footwork is essential in volleyball as it offers more stability and makes sure that you can intercept the ball better. Furthermore, it can help you to jump better which is essential if you want to block or spike a ball. It is often ignored by a lot of coaches and players should pay more attention to it. It is also an excellent thing to train at home as you don’t need any equipment to work on this. Let’s discuss some drills that can improve your footwork. 

General footwork drills: 

The first drill that can be used is to use an agility ladder. The goal is to set the right steps very fast after each other. Players have to move their feet inside and outside a zone and make sure that they don’t make mistakes. This will help them to focus and get better control over their movements. Cones can be used for this as well and players have to move between them. This is also further explained in the following video:

You have to be able to move in several directions when you play volleyball. This is why sideways movements are essential as well. You can line up multiple players next to each other, they are the passers. One player is standing in front of them. This player has to move back and forth and pass the ball back to the line of players. This pushes the player to move sideways very fast and find the best way to do this. 

 Often it is a great idea to stand on your toes when you want to move fast in volleyball. This offers less stability but can make it easy to change directions.  You can throw the ball to the player and let him or her catch it. The direction always changes so the player has to change directions last minute. There are also reflex lights that can add an unpredictable element to these drills, pushing players in different directions to catch the light. This is a great drill for liberos as they need to be able to dive in different directions. 

Footwork is essential for blockers as they have to jump high. The same is true about hitters that want to attack. Let’s explore the best footwork drills for these players in more detail. 

Footwork drills for blockers

Blocking is trying to stop an attack at the net. Players hold their hands over the net to make it harder for the attackers to get the ball over it. 

For blockers footwork is essential as they have to be able to speed up if they notice that they are being too late or slow down when they notice that they will arrive too early. It is not allowed to touch the net in volleyball so blockers have to find the right rhythm. 

Let’s take a look at how Olympic medal winner Rachael Adams explains this: 

You start with a small step and then you start to take bigger steps to move faster. This energy is used to push you off the floor. The goal is to jump as high as possible to make it harder for the attackers. 

In essence, you just have to repeat the same steps over and over again. You can switch between using 3, 4, or 5 steps for your block. This makes sure that you can react to different situations. Sticking the landing is also important as you need to be able to play again immediately after you have come back on the court. You can ask a team member to throw the ball over the net. You have to try and block the ball by using the right steps. 

A great idea is to film yourself. It is possible to use a smartphone for this. You can then slow the images down and see if you are using the right technique. It is also possible to rewatch your approach and notice what works and what doesn’t. 

Footwork drills for spiking (hitters)

Hitters are attackers that push the ball over the net to score a point. They often jump to add more energy to their attack. This makes it harder for the defenders to keep the ball in the air. Once again, there are specific footwork drills for this to make sure that you can attack as fast as possible. 

This cadence can be practiced at home. You can work on this approach by yourself and repeat it multiple times during the day. Every time you have a spare moment, you can practice these steps. People often want to overcomplicate things but in essence, you just have to be great at these steps. You have to be able to do them fast and slow. You also need to be able to take big and small steps. This will allow you to adjust your steps to the pass that you will receive from the setter. 

You can invite a friend that passes the ball to you as well. This keeps it more engaging. It is always more fun to work together with other people. You can explain in advance that you are going to repeat the same drill multiple times and this will practice the same drill for a while. Some people don’t enjoy doing this and that is fine. You can just ask someone else to help you out.

To conclude, we can state that there are several drills that can help players with their footwork. From following simple patterns to making complex combinations, this can give a player an edge over other players as they can jump higher and move faster. It takes quite some time before you see results from this so don’t give up after one week.