Volleyball Training Drills For Defense The Sprawl, Roll and Extension  

How do you land safely on the floor after digging a ball? These volleyball training drills are for you to learn the extension, sprawl and the barrel roll.  


We do certain volleyball training drills to help players learn various ways of landing safely to the floor after digging the ball.

Depending on the scenario we will use

  • the sprawl
  • the one step extension
  • the three step barrel roll


In the volleyball training drills we do in my volleyball classes and private trainings we do alot of reps of these types of one-step linear (in front of you) and lateral (to your side on your left or right)  extension volleyball sprawls so that lowering yourself quickly to the court floor while playing the ball becomes second nature. 


Four Volleyball Training Drills
Three Step Barrel Roll with A Ball
Learn How To Cover The Court With Three Steps




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 step, 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. 


...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 step, 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. 




Volleyball Training Drills: Working on the volleyball dive, the sprawl and                the barrel roll. 


When the ball is falling on your right side working on: 

  • Right - left - right steps
  • Extending full body on their right side - protects knees - and covers more floor surface
  • Playing the ball with the right arm - with closed fist - getting ball up 3-4 inches - this is an emergency play needed to give a second player time to get the ball up higher
  • Using barrel roll to create momentum to help you get right back up
  • Creating brain/body/coordination and muscle memory for this particular situation

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. 


When the ball is falling on your left side working on

  • left - right - left - steps
  • Brain - coordinating for right handers what to do and getting comfortable doing it
  • Extending full body on their left side - protects knees - and covers more floor surface
  • Playing the ball with their left arm - with closed fist - getting ball up 3-4 inches - this is an emergency play needed to give a second player time to get the ball up higher
  • Using the barrel roll to create momentum to help you get right back up






  • Seeing the ball over and over again while staying low and getting lower each time you take a step
  • Fist facing sideways shooting it under the ball
  • Getting comfortable with playing the ball just before it hits the ground
  • Being aware of your body parts and where they are
  • Slowing and calming the brain down in a chaotic situation and realizing when you do - you have much more time to play the ball when you play it low to the ground than if you try to raise up to play the ball


Beach Volleyball
Training Drills
Star Drill


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Start by putting the heels of both of your feet just inside the end line - middle back in Zone 6. . . . Now… . . From the back line could you cover MORE THAN 22 feet to pick up a tip behind the block if you had to….taking ONLY 3 steps….Carm can. . . How much court can you cover in defense? . . . #youarewhatyoupractice #youarewhatyouthink . . Watch as Carm takes 3 big fast steps and stays low….and ends up inside the ten foot line…ready to dig any tip …. . . #girlpower #volleyballpractice #volleyballdigging #volleyballtraining #volleyballdig #thisisvolleyball #vegasvolleyball #volleyballhighights #hendersonnevada #hendersonnv #eastlasvegas #summerlinnv #summerlinnevada #summerlinlife

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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. 

In these two-on-one volleyball training drills we are working on

  • Learning/emphasizing you can cover the court in 3 steps
  • Body part awareness - in this chaos players work on brain control - so I can control my body so I can control the ball
  • The first few rounds will feel out of control but then the player learns how much time they really have to take three steps to get closer to the ball, then let the ball drop further to the ground and still be in control enough to play the ball inches from the ground
  • In this pressurized situation identifying if the ball being chased is on the left side or the right side of your body and taking the correct first step that gets you to the ball faster....
  • Understanding why at the beginning of practices we work on quarter and half turns - so the brain learns which turn is needed to get you faster to the ball.... (example if you're in the middle of the court and a ball is thrown to zone 5, you need to half turn to left back and then step with your left foot - if the ball is on your left or step on your right foot if ball is on your right...)
  • If the ball is on your right side  - right-left-right
  • If the ball is on your left side - left-right-left


Do You Follow Me on Instagram?


Follow me on Instagram @coach_apchap to improve your game even faster!

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. 





  1. Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
  2.  ›
  3. Volleyball Drills for Setters, Hitters, Liberos, Passers and Blockers
  4.  ›
  5. Volleyball Training Drills For Defense The Sprawl, Roll and Extension




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