On a windy day in Manhattan Beach, California, 3-time beach Olympian Holly McPeak conducts Workout 4 of her Art of Coaching Volleyball training series. This workout includes a multi-skill drill that gives the setter a sideout set and a transition set on the same play. Later in the practice, the players work on defensive positioning: blocking line, digging angle and blocking angle, digging line.
The players in this workout will be familiar to you if you’ve watched Holly’s previous 3 beach training sessions on Art of Coaching. They are: Gigi Hernandez (a junior at JSerra Catholic High in San Juan Capistrano, California, who will play beach at 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).
2-touch setting drill
Passing in windy conditions
Multiple skill drill
Three players are on one side of the net, a server is on the other. Play is initiated with a serve. The passer passes, her partner bump sets to the 3rd player, who is standing at the net. The player who passed the first ball slides over laterally to make a dig off a ball hit by the 3rd player. The player who bump set the first ball has now moved to the net; she sets the digger, who approaches and hits.
Sound complicated? It’s really not. Watch the video and you’ll get the hang of it quickly.
Quick tip on the overhand dig
Defensive transition drill: blocking line, digging angle
As the drill progresses, Holly adds an extra challenge — the blocker dropping off the net and digging a deep, loopy shot.
One of the teaching points Holly makes relates to running through the set off a dig or setting from a stable position. When scrambling to set a ball off a dig, the blocker has to be decisive about either running through the ball and getting out of the hitter’s way or setting from a stable position.
Defensive transition drill 2: blocking angle, digging line
A technique tip that Holly shares with the blockers is to make sure they have a strong, stiff right hand when taking angle from the left side of the net. A floppy hand makes it easy for the hitter to blast the ball through.
Holly's closing thoughts on Workout 4
In Holly's next workout, the difficulty of the drills will continue to increase. She'll focus on defense against the left-side attacker and also do some serving work.