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Volleyball Drills For Beginners - 9 Drills Every Beginner Should Know

Volleyball is a sport beloved by all, from kids to the elderly. Start with the basics by using these volleyball drills to get you started.  

Volleyball is the perfect blend of athleticism, sport-specific skills, and fun! However, “fun” doesn’t mean you don’t need to practice! Once you decide to start taking the sport more seriously, you’ll need to develop some basic skills first. Like any other sport, volleyball has a few sport-specific skills that you must master to be an effective player. 


In this article, we will equip you with the best drills to equip you with exactly what you need to jumpstart your career playing volleyball. You’re going to find the 9 best beginner volleyball drills that will cover;

  • Passing
  • Setting
  • Attacking
  • Serving
  • Blocking
  • Digging



These 9 beginner volleyball drills will instill the skill you need for success on the volleyball court!

volleyball drills for beginners infographic


Volleyball Drills For Beginners

1. Over The Net (3-Person Pepper Drill)

“Over The Net” is a variation of “pepper drills”. Pepper drills simply refer to players hitting the ball back and forth to each other following a cycle of the 3 steps of hitting a ball;

  • Dig or Pass
  • Setting 
  • Hitting or Attacking 

This drill will utilize 3 players who will rotate positions while they deliver the ball back and forth over the net. Therefore, not only will you get to practice each of these hitting elements, you’ll get in a bit of conditioning and footwork as well. Aim to move quickly so that the drill can run through several cycles without stopping.


volleyball drill - 3 person pepper


How To Perform The Over The Net Drill (3-Person Pepper)

  1. You need 3 players and a volleyball court with a net
  2. Have 1 player stand at the attack line on one side
  3. The other 2 players will stand on the other side. One will stand near the net with the other directly behind.
  4. The single player will first toss the ball to the other side towards the player off the net
  5. The player off the net will then pass to their teammate on the net
  6. That player will then set the ball and then move off the net to where their teammate was.  Ultimately, they swap positions. 
  7. That player will then hit a shot to the other side with the single player and the then step under the net to become their setter
  8. This cycle will then continue

2. Blocking Form Drill

In order for the other team to score, they must be able to hit the volleyball to your side of the court. Therefore, it’s best to not let that happen. The “Blocking Form” drill will improve your ability to block the attack from the opposing team at the net. This drill is extremely simple and merely comprises 4-5 players lining up at the net. They will then jump to mimic blocking a shot. The key is to focus on form and fundamentals of the movement.

How To Perform The Blocking Form Drill

  • You need 4-5 players and a volleyball court with a net
  • Have the players line up on the net
  • Instruct the players to perform blocking drills by jumping with arms up
  • The coach can walk around and observe form and correct as necessary.

Variations of the Blocking Form Drill

  • Include actual balls to block 
  • Include an approach before jumping.

3. Side-To-Sides

Volleyball can be a quick and unpredictable game. You can never be sure where the opposing team will hit the ball or where the ball will go after a dig. This means that you need to be quick with high levels of agility and change-of-direction skills. “Side-To-Sides” are an exceptional drill to improve your footwork so you can move anywhere. While not volleyball-specific, there are some great alterations you can do to simulate actual play.


volleyball drill with box

How To Perform Side-To-Side Drills

  1. You need 1 player and 1 agility box 
  2. Place one foot on the ground and the other in the middle of the box
  3. Push off with our outside leg to jump and across the box
  4. When you land, your feet should have switched positions, so the leg that was on the ground and pushed off is now on the box. The foot that was on the box should now be on the floor.
  5. Repeat this action, going back and forth

4. Down Ups

Down Ups is another drill that uses a box to improve the agility and footwork of volleyball players. Further, Down Ups can also be used as a simple conditioning drill at the same time. While the Side-To-Side drill trained footwork laterally, “Down Ups” will train footwork moving forward and back.

Watch these athletes using VertiMax with different box drills!

How To Perform Down Ups

  1. You need 1 player and 1 box
  2. Stand in front of the box a few inches back
  3. Jump up onto the box. Be sure your entire foot is on the box
  4. Now jump backwards, back down off the box

Variations of Down Ups

Place one foot on the box at a time. Once both feet are on the box, come back down off the box one foot at a time.

5. Around The World

The Around The World drill in volleyball is an intensive drill with quite a few moving parts. It comprises having one player work around the court in a circle while receiving passes from 6 other players positioned on the court. The main player will receive 8 tosses, which they will return with either a bump or set. The Around The World volleyball drill is a great beginner volleyball drill to train receiving and passing multiple balls while shuffling and maintaining a good athletic position.


passing out of the net volleyball drill-1

How To Perform Around The World

  • You need at least 7 players and a volleyball court with a net
  • 6 players will act as tossers and 1 player will be the passer. The other players can line up off the court waiting to play.
  • The 6 tossers will line up on both sides of the net, looking away from it. To be clear, the 6 players face away from each other with the net in between them.
  • The passer will start at towards one of the back corners
  • Each tosser will have a ball they will throw to the passer as they work around.
  • The passer will stay in an athletic stance as they shuffle across the court and receive the ball from each tosser.
  • The passer will return the ball in a bump, set, bump, set...pattern
  • The 3rd and 4th tosser, the two tossers at the end on either side of the net, will throw two balls to the passer. They will toss one ball as the passer is directly in front of them. They will pass the second ball as the passer heads down the sideline to come around to the other side.
  • In total, the passer will return 8 balls
  • You can have a line of other teammates who can go once the player in front makes their way to the other side of the net

6. Rally Scoring Game

A “” rally” in a volleyball game is when they play the ball continuously back and forth. During a game, rally’s can sometimes last a while until the winning team results from an error by the other team. The Rally Scoring game takes this concept and trains players to be consistent with their skills, decrease errors, and improve their ability to play at maximal levels for extended periods of time.

How To Perform The Rally Scoring Game

  • This drill requires 12 players; 2 teams of 6
  • Each team will put themselves into position on the opposing sides of the net
  • One team will serve the ball to put it in play
  • The other team will receive the ball and perform a pass, set, and hit
  • The other team will receive the ball and repeat
  • The goal is to perform this for as long as possible, with no errors
  • You can deduct points for different errors as you like. For example, deduct more points for hitting out of bounds. Therefore, rather than just scoring points, teams can lose points for errors.

7. Approach Step Drill

Earlier, we emphasized the importance of improving your ability to block a shot. Now we’re going to drill the importance of improving your attack skills so that the opposing team can’t block your shot. An effective attack shot starts before you even hit the ball. It actually begins as the setter sets the ball and you begin your approach to the ball. This is a crucial step as your approach to the attack can either place you in a good position to kill it or place you in the completely wrong spot. Similar to the blocking drill, you can perform this the “Approach Step Drill” with 4-5 players running through the motions with no-ball.  

Look at how VertiMax can take the Approach Step drill to another level! See how this player is using VertiMax with a partner, setting a ball to spike it.  


How To Perform The Approach Step Drill

  1. You need 4-5 players and a volleyball court with net
  2. Have the players line up on the attack line
  3. Instruct the players to perform their approach and then attack
  4. A coach should walk around and observe the players' movements and correct as necessary

Variations of the Approach Step Drill

Have a tosser set a ball for the attacker to spike

8. Defensive Progression Drill

As you can guess, this drill is all about defense. Specifically, it’s going to train you to successfully dig a spike. This drill requires teams of two and can be played either with or without the net. Regardless of including a net, the attacker will simply serve to themself and then spike the ball. The defensive player will then defend the court and dig the ball. Drill this routinely, and you’ll be able to stop any spike the other ball delivers.


volleyball spiking drill on vertimax


How To Perform The Defensive Progression Drill

  • We performed this drill with teams of two
  • One player will pass to themself and then spike the ball towards the other player
  • The second player will attempt to dig the ball so that the other player can successfully set it if in an actual game
  • Repeat for 10 reps and then switch roles

9. Pepper Drill

Pepper volleyball drill is the simplest variation of “pepper” drills. It will improve abilities in these areas:

  • Pass or Dig
  • Set
  • Hit
  • Defend

To perform this drill, you need two players and a ball. One player will pass and set to themself and then hit the ball to the other player. They must receive the ball and pass and set to themself and then hit back to the other player. Another version is simply passing, setting, and hitting each other rather than passing and setting to yourself.

How To Perform The Pepper Drill

  1. This drill requires teams of two players
  2. Have players stand 10-15ft apart
  3. To begin the drill, one player will toss the ball to the other player
  4. The receiving player will then pass it to themself, set to themself, and then hit to the other player
  5. The other player will receive the ball and repeat the process

Drill, Baby Drill!

We just went over the 9 best volleyball drills for beginners. When performed together, the drills will provide a strong foundational base. Practice makes perfect, especially for the foundational skills.  

For more ways to see how VertiMax can improve athletic performance and volleyball skills, check out the VertiMax Volleyball Instagram page and VertiMax Youtube channel.


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