17 Pepper Partner Volleyball Tips And Goals To Set To Improve Skills

Improve your ball control skills fast with these 17 pepper partner volleyball tips and goals especially if you want to be a starter or earn more playing time.

Welcome to my comprehensive guide on pepper partner volleyball tips and goals to improve your skills.

Today I want to dive into one of my  "go-to" drills called the pepper drill.

It's a fantastic way to sharpen up your volleyball skills like passing, setting, and spiking, and you do it all with just you and a partner.

By keeping a ball going between the two of you, you'll get a real workout on those quick exchanges.

These drills aren't just about hitting the ball back and forth, though.

They're about cranking up your foot and arm swing speed, nailing your aim when hitting the ball, and syncing up and communicating with your teammate and pepper partner, all in one go.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to step up your game, pepper drills are a key part of getting better. Plus, they’re a blast when you and your partner really get in sync.

Let’s get into how these pepper drills can level up your game and help us all work better as a unit on the court.

Whether you're a beginner looking to increase your ball control or an experienced player eager to earn more playing time, I put these 17 pepper partner volleyball tips and goals together to help you take your game to the next level. 

I know a ton of variations of the pepper drill in volleyball and here's one that my advanced level and college players do because it requires alot of ball control when setting and forces you to work on fast footwork before dropping your body down to a low position to dig a hard driven ball that you have very little time to prep for. 

Advanced Level Three-Man Pepper Drill in Volleyball 

From setting effective goals with your pepper partner to emphasizing the importance of a positive attitude and mentality, I provide you with practical advice to help you maximize your playing performance during pepper partner volleyball sessions.

Tips For Setting Effective Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals

Here are some tips for setting effective pepper partner volleyball goals. 

Defense Volleyball Training: Pepper Drills: Increase Ball Control Drill Intensity To Improve Digging

Set Specific Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals

Together with your pepper partner the both of you should clearly define the goals you want to achieve during your pepper sessions.

You want to avoid vague goals like "improve ball control," but instead specify a specific target area, such as "increase accuracy in bumping the ball towards the intended target."

Set Measurable Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals

Set goals that can be quantified or measured.

For example, you could aim to complete 30 consecutive bump-set-hit sequences without the ball touching the ground.

Or you can aim to continuously hit the ball to your partner without making a mistake 7 times in a row before the ball drops...then again once you've accomplished that then set the goal higher to 10 times in a row. 

Set Achievable Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals

Ensure that your goals are realistic and attainable based on your current skill level and progress.

It's important to set challenging goals, but they should be within reach to maintain motivation and avoid frustration.

So taking the example I said above about hitting the ball to your partner in a pepper rally ten times in a row before making a mistake or before the ball drops between the tow of you. 

Another pepper partner volleyball drill that I like to have players do is the "set set hit to your partner" variation seen here with Talina and Adlai. 

Set Relevant  Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals

Align your goals with the specific areas of your game that you want to improve.

For instance, if you want to excel as a libero, focus on goals related to defensive skills, ball control, and quick reactions.

  • How many times can you dig a ball that's been hit to the left side of your body back to your partner cutting the ball off early using the correct angled platform while keeping your hips low ..back to your partner without making them move? 
  • How many times can you dig a ball that's hit to the left side of your body if you're a right handed player?

So you dig three hard controlled hits spiked at you by your pepper partner who then tips the ball that you have to read and dig before you guys switch and now the digger becomes the hitter...all without stopping the ball, controlling it so the pepper rally is continuous and keeps going. 

Volleyball Pepper Drill - Left hand set, right hand hit, partner pepper dig, one arm tip, roll shot with Talina and Kenny

These are different ways you can adapt and make the digging portion of the pepper drill work for you to improve digging accuracy when 

  • a hard ball is hit right at you
  • a tip that you have to read and move out of your base to dig
  • a ball that's hit to the side of your body that you have to present the right angled platform for in order to dig the ball back to your partner without making your partner move

Set Deadlines For Your Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals

Set a specific time frame to achieve your goals.

Assign deadlines or intervals for progress checkpoints to stay on track and maintain a sense of urgency.

For example, aim to reach a certain number of bump-set-hit variations consistently within a week or two during your pepper partner volleyball sessions.

If you see that within a week's time or two week's time that your pepper hitting technique is improving so that you can hit and aim to your target 10 times in a row using correct hitting technique then you and your partner can set an "end of the month" goal both for hitting and digging. 

You can agree that in 30 days the two of you agree to hit and dig 100 times consecutively between the two of you.

Or you can agree to go for time.

When I say "go for time" I mean that you can aim to pepper for one minute without making a mistake while hitting the ball to your partner with a tougher arm swing each time, not an easy one.

In the end of 20 or 30 days can you pepper with your partner for 2-3 minutes continuously? 

I did this as a player with my pepper partner volleyball teammates in high school and college to stay motivated to increase the speed and accuracy and technique levels each time I performed the pepper drill in order to make the drill work for me. 

Track The Progress Of Your Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals

Keep a record of your performance and regularly evaluate your progress to see how you're advancing towards your goals by tracking things like your success rate, speed, or consistency to gauge improvement over time.

Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals 
Add Some Barbecue Sauce, Hit Harder

In practices when I tell my hitters that they need to hit harder I say they need to "add some barbecue sauce on that ball."

Another good pepper partner volleyball goal is to gradually hit harder at each other with your controlled hits to each other. 

That means to swing faster while reaching high to the ball...so you're still working on getting the ball right to the target which is your partner's midsection....the only change is that the ball is getting to your partner at a faster pace. 

So now your partner needs to "read" your hitting body language faster and to react even quicker to dig up a faster paced ball coming at them....

Four person pepper drill in volleyball we do in my clinics 

This is one way to work on defending harder hit balls coming into your court. 

Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals 
Collaborate and Communicate With Your Pepper Partner

You want to work closely with your pepper partner to establish partner goals and discuss strategies with each other for achieving them.

This is a fun pepper drill in volleyball to try

  • One Hand Set To Yourself
  • Controlled Hit To Your Partner
  • Dig To Yourself... repeat

This is especially a great thing to do when you have the same pepper partner during practices. 

As a coach I like for the players who play in the same positions to warm up together so liberos partner together, middles partner together, setters are paired together on my teams. 

Both partners have a lot in common and so its beneficial to be able to set  ball control and digging and ball skill goals. 

Support each other's growth and progress by providing constructive feedback and celebrating milestones together.

Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals 
Adjust and Evolve As You And Your Pepper Partner Improves

Be prepared to change your goals as you make progress.

As you improve and reach your initial objectives, set new goals that build on your achievements and continuously challenge yourselves.

Every week with your pepper partner you can establish a number of times that you guys will touch or play the ball without letting the ball drop. And you start your count over each time the ball does drop.  

Remember, the goals you set should be motivating and inspiring and push you to strive for continuous improvement.

Another thing I like to do is vary the type of pepper partner volleyball drills I have my players do for example we do Deep Court Pepper.

Deep court pepper volleyball drill: The drill is the same as the normal one

  • where the first player sets,
  • the partner returns the ball with a pass 
  • then the first player controls a hit back that gets dug back by the partner who passed the ball

For deep court pepper you and your partner are 8 - 10 feet apart so about half court away which means you can be on the ten foot line and your partner just inside the endline.

Now both of you have to perform each skill being further away from each other.

I like doing deep court pepper because you get to work on hitting deep in the court while controlling the ball. Also you get to work on building shoulder strength and setting accuracy while being further away from your target. 

Three man pepper partner volleyball drill that works down the line digging.

The importance of attitude and mentality in pepper partner volleyball drills cannot be overstated.

A positive attitude and mindset are super important in order to be successful and to make the pepper drill work for you.

Here's why..

Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals 
Work To Keep The Ball From Hitting The Ground

Emma and Aubrey work on my crazy tomahawk pepper drill. 

During your pepper partner volleyball drills you want to adopt a mindset that the ball will absolutely not hit the ground which gives you motivation and focus on controlling the ball during your pepper sessions.

Building this type of determination (especially in defense) should drive you to give your all in every play, especially the defensive plays, in order to push yourself to give maximum effort to keep the ball off the ground and while maintaining control of your body and the ball.

Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals 
Make It A Habit To Push Each Other Beyond Your Comfort Zones

One of the goals you and your pepper partner can establish together is to push each other beyond your comfort zones.

By embracing challenges like

  • not letting the ball drop for as long as you can 
  • plan to dig every second or third ball purposefully away from your partner instead of to your partner so your partner has to run down every third ball while keeping the ball under control and then starting again....

This builds endurance and ball control skills while you guys are challenging each other...When doing this you create an environment where you can test your limits and build your skill set.

I use to do this type of pepper when I was a professional volleyball player peppering with Paula Weishoff in Reggio Emilia...we'd push each other all over the gym floor while keeping the ball in play for longer and longer periods of time. Our defense and digging improved so much because we pushed each other hard in defense. 

Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals 
Build Resilience When Mistakes Are Made

Mistakes are inevitable when you're doing your pepper partner volleyball exercises.

But a positive attitude helps you bounce back quickly from errors, using them as learning opportunities and motivation rather than dwelling on them.

It allows you to quickly refocus and keep a high level of performance focus and ball control throughout the drill.

Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals 
Keep A Positive Attitude and Encourage Your Pepper Partner

A positive attitude creates an environment of support and encouragement between you and your partner.

Keep uplifting each other, celebrating your successes, and offering constructive feedback, so you create a collaborative atmosphere that promotes growth, improvement and teamwork.

Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals 
Build Mental Toughness 

Pepper Volleyball Drills: 3 Man Pepper Variation - Set The Ball Then Backpedal To Dig The Ball

Playing pepper requires mental strength as you get better at hitting and digging harder balls.

A positive mindset helps you

  • stay mentally strong
  • enabling you to handle pressure
  • make split-second decisions
  • execute precise movements effectively

It allows you to stay composed in challenging situations, which translates into better performance on the court.

Pepper Partner Volleyball Goals
Build Confidence and Self-Belief 

A positive attitude builds confidence and self-belief in your abilities. It helps you perform with conviction, trust in your skills, and take calculated risks.

This mindset allows you to play more freely, unlocking your full potential and taking the pepper partner volleyball drill to a new level making it work for you.

You should embrace this mindset and watch as it helps to elevate your game and leads to an improved performance both on and off the court.

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Private or semiprivate volleyball indoor/sand lessons are an excellent way for young Las Vegas high school volleyball players to quickly improve their individual skills through a private or semi-private coaching experience.

These lessons are conducted by former pro volleyball player, former USA Volleyball High Performance instructor and Evaluator and Tstreet Vegas 18s head Coach April Chapple on a weekly basis.

Sign up now!Private or semiprivate volleyball indoor/sand lessons are an excellent way for young Las Vegas high school volleyball players to quickly improve their individual skills through a private or semi-private coaching experience. These lessons are conducted by former pro volleyball player, former USA Volleyball High Performance instructor and Evaluator and Tstreet Vegas 18s head Coach April Chapple on a weekly basis. Sign up now!

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I share alot of individual, partner and easy-to-do volleyball serving drills we do in class with my followers.

Many of these volleyball practice drills you can do at home by yourself or try at your next practice with your teammates.

If you're a B team or JV player trying to make varsity next year...your goal should be to complete 1000 reps a day of at least three of the basic skills on your own...volleyball passing, serving and setting should be at the top of the list. 

Pepper Partner Volleyball Tips For New Coaches:
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  1. Learn more about the Tips.
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the Volleyball Tips section in the drop down menu at the top of the page.  

Check out more volleyball tips on the pages below. 

  • Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Private Volleyball Coach April Chapple
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