Mark Barnard, coach of the Australian women's national team and associate head coach at Oregon State, uses this creative drill to work on defensive pursuit. The coach can add elements to the drill so it trains out-of-system execution as well.
Three defenders stand in line at middle back. One player stands at right front and holds a fit ball over her head. The coach starts on the opposite side of the net and hits into the fit ball. The defender plays the ball and gets back in line. Next, the coach either hits directly at the player or attacks off the fit ball. Finally, the coach adds a setter and line of outside hitters to the drill to set and attack the dug ball.
Barnard says that defenders either need to be in a position to dig balls hit right at them or pursue balls that deflect off the block. This requires a low and stopped defensive position.
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