The purpose of the drill that the University of San Diego women’s team is running here is to train defenders to make slight adjustments when digging quick hits. Many club level teams keep their base defense in the same spot, but, as you’ll see here, USD associate head coach Brent Hilliard has his wing defenders move closer to their line or slightly away from their line depending on the attack.
In this drill, one coach stands on a box on the left side of the net and simulates mostly “31” and “3” attacks while another coach stands on the right side and hits mostly “Back 1” or “Far Right 1” sets. Five players – outside hitters, right-side hitters and liberos – do the digging, and one player stands at the net in the middle to catch balls dug to target.
The pace of this drill is fast and furious, so defenders have to process a lot in a short amount of time. When the coach hits from the left side, notice the way the right-back wing digger moves slightly toward her line and the left-back wing digger moves slightly toward the center of the court. When the other coach attacks from the right side, it’s just the opposite – the right-back wing digger moves toward the center of the court and the left-back wing digger moves toward the line.
As the three back-court diggers handle the heat, the outside blockers at the net react to tips and simulated miss-hits.