After a basic pepper warmup, Holly guides the players through passing, then passing and setting, then pass, set, hit. Along the way, they work on shots like the rainbow, the cut and the deep middle. There's also a transition setting drill.
Participants on this day are Gigi Hernandez (a junior at JSerra Catholic High in San Juan Capistrano, California, who will play beach Pepperdine), Abril Bustamante (a senior at Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, California, who will play beach at the University of Southern California), Skylar Caputo (a senior at Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach, California, who will play beach at Pepperdine) and Hayley Hodson (a high school senior who studies online at Laurel Springs and will play indoor at Stanford in the fall.)
Passing and setting
Serves are delivered from two players on the other side, one serving from the left side of the back line and the other serving from the right side.
Long passing touch
Here, Abril demonstrates the difference between a beach pass and an indoor pass.
Pass, set, hit to the corner
One theme Holly repeatedly reinforces is waiting on the approach and staying behind the ball. This allows the hitter to have better vision of the court.
Rainbow shot over defender to deep corner
A teaching point from Holly here is to approach and jump like you’re going to hit hard, then hit the loopy shot with only a hand motion. That keeps the defense thinking that you may swing away.
Cut shot in front of the defender
Holly instructs the players to take a more angled approach to the net rather than squaring their shoulders. By coming in at an angle, it’s easier to disguise your shot and it allows you to use more of your body for the hit instead of just using your arm.
Holly talks here about the importance of communicating with your partner after a less-than-perfect pass as well as staying within 6 to 8 feet of where your partner is setting the ball.
Transition setting and hitting off a dig
Holly reminds the players to keep their butts down when digging. A butt-down position allows the defender to pop the ball up, making it easier to set than the low trajectory digs that often come from a straighter body posture.
Holly also talks here about adjusting the sets and hits to the windy conditions.
At one point, Holly tells Hayley that she will be a more effective blocker if she takes ball on the block rather than blocking angle or line. She then tells Gigi to “take care of your dig” on a ball that Gigi doesn’t control even though it’s hit right at her.
Later in the drill, she explains to Abril that she needs to grab the ball when blocking on tight sets rather than staying with line or angle. She also talks about the importance of sealing the line on the block so the defender has a chance to make a dig if the ball gets by the blocker.
Sideout drill: Part II
As Holly explains, the receiving team has the wind at their back, so they need to be precise with their passes and crisp offensively.
Late in the drill, she tells Abril to make a more angled approach on her jump serve to give herself more options.
Teaching proper hand contact for the cut shot
Two points Holly stresses with Hayley are: Hitting the ball farther out in front and rolling her hand over and to the side on contact.