Volleyball Passing Drills

Keys For Learning How To Pass A Volleyball To The Setter

USC volleyball passer Photo by Neon TommyUSC volleyball passer Photo by Neon Tommy

Different volleyball passing drills usually address how to improve one or

more of the following components of the forearm pass;

For legs,  there's footwork, shuffle step precision and speed

For arms there's platform angle and taking the swing out of the ball

contact, passing accuracy, platform sensibility.

For the midsection there's body positioning and learning how and

when to move out of the way for deep balls.

For vision there's tracking the ball from the server to your platform,

reading the ball and reading the server to identify patterns with short or

deep serves.

For conditioning there's foot speed, foot agility, and leg strengthening to

increase the ability to stay in lower positions for longer periods of time. 

For the team there's communication in serve receive, learning court and

passing responsibilities.

Before we get to specific volleyball passing drills that other coaches talk

about in their forearm passing videos, let's review what this basic

reception skill is all about.

Pass A Ball To The Target!

How many times have you heard your coach say that phrase? 

Coaches also love to say  "if you can't pass the ball then you can't

play the game."

Anyone who says this, is right.

When a ball is sent over the net at a high speed by an opposing team's

server to start the rally,  there's one of two ways to use your hands

to contact the ball, either overhand or underhand.

If you decided to take the ball underhand, then you would be using

your forearms to pass a ball to your target.

When a player passes the ball, they are performing the skill that most

often is the first contact in a rally which begins their team's offensive

attack attempt to score a point. 

The forearm pass in volleyball  is performed by a player who has

learned  how to clasp her hands together keeping her arms

straight so that her wrists don't break apart when contacting the


If you are that passer, then you have learned that to pass the ball to your

setter you need to contact the ball on your forearms, above

your wrists and below the inside of your elbows.

In volleyball jargon, this area of the forearms is what we

commonly call "your platform." 

In volleyball passing drills, you spend tons of time contacting the ball

on this area of your arms. 

If you are that passer, you know that you need to angle your platform to

the area where you want the ball to go. 

90% of the time, this is to the setter's target area located just to the right of

the middle of the net and between to 1 to 3 feet off of the net.  

This is where the setter's base position is and where she goes

after the opposing team has served the ball. 

You also know that you don't want to swing your arms when contacting

the ball but you just present a flat surface that deflects the ball while

keeping your arms and platform as straight as possible before, during

and after contacting the ball. 

You know that when the ball is still in the opposing server's hand you

should face the server and the ball so you are in the path of the ball

when it comes over the net.

You want to visually hone in on the ball, tracking it when the server has it

in her hands and once she serves it, if you have to move to the ball you

know to use a shuffle step, three quick steps to the right or left to

position your belly button behind the ball if its served in front of you.  

You know you never move or run to the ball clasping your hands

together. You actually run or shuffle step with your hands apart so you

move faster, then you quickly put your hands together to form your

platform once you are positioned behind the ball.  

You also know that you want to move quickly and ideally beat the ball to

the target. 

You know that means once you've identified the path of the ball over the

net you move quickly to block the path before the ball arrives there.

You work hard to be stopped before contacting the ball and you fight to

be in a balanced low athletic position before contacting the ball. 

If you're that passer then you know that for balls that are served deep,

you let the ball pass you and as it passes you, you open up your body,

present your platform and drop your shoulder to present an angled

platform to the target.

The key here is to get your body out of the way, to let the ball pass you

then you turn and face the ball!

Most importantly, if you are that passer you know to communicate to

your teammates in serve receive..

a) Who's taking the short ball and left seam

b) Who's taking the deep ball and right seam

c) Remembering and reading server tendencies...does this serve look like its going to be a floater..a jump floater...a top spin..a jump spin?

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Before you continue reading about volleyball passing drills, here is my disclosure about this section.

Read it before you continue on.

In this section below dedicated to volleyball passing drills some of the content contains affiliate links.

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Now for the good stuff...the volleyball passing drills...

Volleyball Passing Drills 

Watch as University of Texas head coach, Jerritt Elliott shares with you

passing drills and concepts that he has successfully implemented with

his Texas Longhorns team.

Features & Benefits

  • Maintain consistent, accurate passing at game speed
  • Uncover the keys to quick, efficient movement to the ball
  • Elliott's instruction ranges from individual to team and basic through advanced

with Jerritt Elliott,
University of Texas Head Coach;

  • 2016 NCAA Runner-UP
  • 2015 NCAA Runner-Up;
  • 2012 NCAA Champions;

Since 2008 has led Texas to the NCAA Semifinals seven times;

  • 2012 AVCA Coach of the Year; 
  • 6x Big 12 Coach of the Year;
  • Elliott has coached seven consecutive Big 12 Players of the Year (2009 - 15)

About this DVD/Video

Elliott builds this presentation from basic individual skill development to advance skill training.

Beginning with the basic stance Elliott teaches a balanced posture from which quick and efficient movement can occur.

Next he details movement patterns for serve and serve receive.

Moving into game speed drills, Coach Elliott takes you into three individual fast passed volleyball passing drills.

In the final phase, Elliott demonstrates more competitive drills that feature server vs. passer, 2 vs. 3 passing and 3 vs 2 passing. 

This video came from Championship Productions’ video

Jerritt Elliott Game Speed Passing Drills - Volleyball -- Championship Productions, Inc.

Read more information on this video or view other volleyball videos. 

Volleyball Passing Drills: Reading, Ball Control

Features & Benefits

  • Train your players to read and anticipate the game, control the ball and take hard-to-defend shots
  • Improve ball control by creating opportunities for players to work cooperatively across the net
  • Learn how to train players to track the ball from the server's hand and the peak of the serve
  • Train your hitters to utilize multiple shots and make good decisions with the ball

with Tara Cross-Battle, 

  • 2x NCAA Division I Player of the Year at Long Beach State
  • Played for team USA in the 1992 Olympic games (bronze medal);
  • Played on four USA Olympic teams (1992-2004); 2014 inductee in the International Volleyball Hall of Fame
  • Olympic Bronze Medalist and the first United States 4x Volleyball Olympian

About this DVD/Video

Ball control is a prominent issue for younger players who may not have grown into a dedicated position on your volleyball team.

With limited practice time, is it any wonder that the "practice-centric" skills of ball control, reading and shot selection are underdeveloped and seem to disappear when the third match in pool play comes around?

In this presentation, Tara Cross-Battle helps you train players on how to reach the next level of play by improving ball control, reading opponents' play and choosing better shot selection.

This video came from Championship Productions’ video

Ball Control Drills & Tips for Reading and Reacting - Volleyball -- Championship Productions, Inc.

Read more information on this video or view other volleyball videos. 

Volleyball Passing Drills: Responsibility, Communication, Protection, Serve Receive Strategies

Features & Benefits

  • Learn how to adjust serve-receive strategies to fit your personnel and opposition
  • Learn how to develop decisive, aggressive passers and how to maximize the abilities of each player
  • Discover how to adjust serve-receive patterns to protect your hitters while keeping all offensive options available
  • Learn how to develop layers of responsibility to enable defenders to aggressively pursue every ball

with Cathy George, Michigan State University Head Coach,
over 500 career wins, first female coach to reach Final Four (1989)

About this DVD/Video

Michigan State Head Volleyball Coach Cathy George shares several drills that she uses to train individual and team serve-receive in the gym.

Starting with an individual passer and using drills for two- and three-person patterns, she explains the keys to teaching players when to use a specific pattern and how to determine who's responsible for the ball.

Learn how to establish a go-to serve-receive pattern based on your players.

Then learn how to make adjustments to handle even the toughest serving opponents. Help athletes develop a clear-cut understanding of the following important principles:

  • A server's toss is indicative of serving direction
  • EARLY decision-making and communication is crucial
  • Even short serves need to be passed high
  • Who has low, short and who takes the high, deep
  • Which players get "protected" and by whom

By teaching players how all of these things run within your offensive system and against any particular opponent, you will empower your team to make smart decisions quickly, communicate early and move into the best possible position to make a higher quality pass.

This video came from Championship Productions’ video

Serve Receive Options for Every Team - Volleyball -- Championship Productions, Inc.

Read more information on this video or view other volleyball videos. 

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