The first priority in the middle activation drill, introduced by Bishop’s High coach Tod Mattox, is to get kills in the middle. Once a middle puts the ball down, the offensive team is activated, which means they get unlimited free balls until the other team stops them. Once the team is activated, kills can come from anywhere, not just the middle. Points are counted from the first middle kill on.
When a team gets stopped, the other team receives a free ball or a down ball and begins the process of trying to get activated. If the other team wins a point while the offensive team is trying to get activated, it switches again. The final score can be chosen by the coach.
In this video, Mattox expresses his enthusiasm for a tip by the middle that goes just over the block for a kill. It’s a shot he tells his players to use frequently because it usually works.
The middle activation drill is great for working on the connection between the setter and the middles, and it rewards teams for figuring out how to run the middle even if the pass isn’t perfect.