In this video, you'll find drills and tips for how to coach youth volleyball players, including:
- Drill 1: Passing to yourself
- Setting tips
- Drill 2: Handstand on the ceiling
- Drill 3: Pass to yourself and catch
- Drill 4: Approach and hand movement
- Drill 5: Pass and hit sequence
- Drill 6: Serve and pass to target
- Drill 7: Aim for 2 contacts, then 3 contacts
- Final tips
How to coach youth volleyball
Tracy Vondran, who coaches at Columbus Volleyball Academy in Ohio, has spent a lot of time with young volleyball players, so she knows the do's and don'ts of working with them.
In this video, we get to view some of her favorite volleyball drills for 10 to 12 year olds and hear her tips for coaching youth volleyball. The video focuses on how to best manage the chaos of this age group, and covers:
- Ways to keep practice fun
- Why it's best to minimize technical practice and maximize drills
- Practice progressions
- Individual passing and setting drills
- Hitting approach drills
- Game-like simulations
Keep volleyball practice fun
10 year old or not, it’s difficult to learn if you’re not interested in what you’re doing. One of the best ways to help players learn is to keep practice fun and engaging. To do that, you’ll need to integrate spontaneous breaks and activities throughout the coaching session. Coach Vondran likes to "break up practice every once in a while and have them tell jokes halfway through."
This brief mental reprieve gives young volleyball players a chance to shake off any frustration and bond with their teammates.
Minimize technical practice and maximize drills
Young volleyball players can find it tedious when a practice session is overly focused on the technical aspects of the game. If improved learning is tied to keeping practice engaging, this is a significant piece of the puzzle.
Having learned from experience, Coach Vondran moves away from technical practice sessions and shifts the focus to “movement, multiple contact drills and controlled chaos.” This is more beneficial to practice sessions than attempting to apply rigid rules and structure.
Progressions are a top priority on our list of tips for coaching youth volleyball. As you can see in the video, the players start practice by passing and setting the ball on their own before they begin working with the teammates and before they begin functioning as a cohesive group. This strategy is similar to the adage of learning to walk before learning to run.
Practice individual passing and setting drills
Volleyball drills for 10 to12 year olds need to be initiated by the team—as opposed to the coach— as much as possible. Coach Vondran explains that young players “don’t learn how to pass off-of a 10 year old serving unless they’re practicing passing off-of a 10 year old serving.” Essentially, they need the practice sessions to be as close to a real game experience as possible (which means sending and receiving the ball from players of their own skill level).
Practice hitting approach
In this video, players start on their left foot then follow a right-left-jump sequence. Coach Vondran vocalizes her instructions frequently saying “one-two-jump” and inserts reminders that the hands must swing back and then forward as they approach the net. These verbal cues are great for reiterating past lessons and establishing repetition to help with memorization and rhythm.
Conduct in-game simulations
A game simulation is a great way to cement all of the learnings of your practice session. Players are encouraged to call out their teammates’ names and say “mine” so they know who is playing the ball. This activity also includes some progressions and you can see Coach Vondran encouraging players to make at least two and then three contacts with the ball.
To learn more about how to coach youth volleyball, check out the best volleyball drills for beginners for additional tips and ideas!