If you are the defensive specialist or libero on your team, or a player looking for individual defensive drills, then you need to know more about defense.
Let's do a quick review on what defense actually is.
With two teams competing against each other, one team will always be on offense while the other will be on defense.
Both teams will alternate constantly being either one or the other during a match depending on which team serves the ball.
So, let's say your team just served the ball over the net to the opposing team.
After the serve crosses the net, your team is now "on defense."
Your team's three front row hitters are now called "blockers" and lined up facing the net in their left front, middle front and right front positions watching the other team take their one, two, or three contacts to get the ball back over to your team's side of the net.
To do this correctly, you must place yourself, along with either one, two or three blockers in front of the hitter who is trying to spike the second or third contact back over to your side of the court.
As a blocker, you may either "block the ball" with your
hands and arms extending over the net and timing your block jump with
the spike approach of the hitter you are in front of, while managing to deflect the ball hit by the spiker, back into the spiker's court.
If you don't manage to block the ball, the next strategy we teach is to "use the block" to re- direct the ball so that it is funneled/redirected to one of your teams' three backrow players who are waiting to "dig the ball" by making the first contact on the ball after it has been hit back into your court.
So, now that the ball is in your court, your team uses defense techniques we practice in our volleyball digging drills to get the ball back up to your team's setter.
Once your team defends the ball and gets it back up to your setter, then your team is now on offense.
See how that works? Digging a ball takes a lot of practice to be able to defend a ball back up from the back row to the front row.
We use a lot of volleyball digging drills during our practices in order to coordinate what happens between the front row blockers and the back row defensive specialists and liberos on a team.
One digger is placed in the middle of the court with myself and one or two of my assistant coaches on the same side of the net as the diggers.
Coaches are in Zone 4 and Zone 2 and sometimes in Zone 3.
Hitters and diggers half court distance apart.
What are we working on in this drill?
Players are working on slowing the brain but reacting fast and under control while digging the ball high in a high intensity pressured situation.
Players are also working on
If the ball drops right in front of you, so quickly that all you have time to do is drop to the ground quickly and extend your right or left arm under the ball to keep it from hitting the floor.
We do certain volleyball digging drills to help players learn various ways of keeping the ball off of the floor depending on the scenario.
In another scenario which happens often in a game...
...if the ball is about to drop in front of you on your left side or on your right and you have time to take one step in the direction of the ball...
You take one big step in the direction of the ball and lower yourself to the floor in the direction of the ball, fully extending your body, so you land on your side.
If you're playing the ball on your right side, then you step with your right foot, extend to your right side, extend your right arm, with your closed right fist turned sideways so the top of your fist makes contact with the bottom of the ball.
Once you keep the ball off the floor you place both hands on the ground and pop up, pushing yourself off the floor.
In the volleyball digging drills we do in class we do reps of these types of one-step side extension pop up sprawls.
Two coaches on one side of the net in Zone 3 and Zone 4, throwing balls with a slight arch to the 10 -12 foot line...
...players are in Zone 5, on the other side of the net coming from the left back corner, standing in a line and one at a time practice their three steps to the ball, lowering their body to the floor with each stop, on the third step they are at their lowest point and extend to their side with arm fully extended with closed fist turned sideways so the top of the fist contacts the bottom of the ball.
Once contacting the ball finishing the momentum in a full body barrel roll over the shoulder of the arm that played the ball.
After each group of diggers goes through several rounds (or we set a specific amount of time to do this in) we switch all the diggers to the right back corner so we can practice left-right-left.
Once players look comfortable hitting the floor using the 3 - step Barrel Roll approach going for balls then further pressurize by ...
Two coaches alternate tossing balls into the court, still on the opposite side of the net...basically alternating throwing to the corners of the court the digger is on...
Coach One starts by throwing over the diggers head to LB - digger turns and uses the three step barrel roll to get to the ball - once digger digs/hits the ground/ and turns around - Coach Two tosses close to the right front corner and the player chases and digs using this technique - continues for 4 - 6 balls, each thrown to opposite corners of the court.