What Is Pepper In Volleyball? Lets Explore My Tips, Goals and Benefits

What is pepper in volleyball? Learn tips, set goals and explore the importance of attitude and mentality in this dynamic training exercise. Elevate your skills!

What is pepper in volleyball?

The pepper partner volleyball drill is a ball control drill commonly used in practice and warm-up routines.


What is pepper in volleyball?

The pepper partner volleyball drill is a ball control drill commonly used as a pre-game and volleyball practice warm-up routine normally done with two players who keep the ball in play between the two of them using setting-passing-controlled-hitting-digging combinations to control the ball.  


What is Pepper in Volleyball?
 What it is and How it's Practiced


Pepper usually involves two players who do a sequence of basic volleyball skills alternating performing each skill while keeping the ball off the ground.

One partner starts by setting the ball to their partner that's 6-8 feet away  who returns the ball with a pass high enough for the first partner to control a hit back to their partner who digs the ball back high enough so the receiving partner can set the ball back and the whole sequence starts again.

The purpose of the pepper partner volleyball warmup drill is to

  • develop and improve the accuracy of your basic ball control
  • while performing each of the basic volleyball skills (except blocking) and
  • to create opportunities to improve communication, trust and  teamwork between partners while 
  • keeping the ball in play so it doesn't hit the ground. 


If the ball falls or hits the ground, one of the partners starts the pepper sequence with a set or a pass to restart again. 

By practicing this drill, players improve their ability to execute accurate passes, sets, and controlled hits, which serves to improve your ability to control the ball keeping it in play in adverse and fast moving situations.

Additionally, some types of pepper partner volleyball drills promote

in order to improve teamwork on the court.




Four person pepper drill in volleyball we do in my clinics 


The drill allows players to develop an understanding of each other's movements like armswing speed, strengths like ball control, and preferences, which ultimately contribute to successful plays during game situations.


Elevate Your Performance With A Reliable Pepper Partner in Volleyball


It's a great idea to have a good pepper partner who has the same goals and the same and/or better ball control skills than you do. 


Setting Volleyball Goals for Pepper Drills and More Strategies for Success


Because if you both want to be starters on the team then you'll push each other and work hard to make each other better so you both can reach that goal.  

Let's say you want to be a starting libero and so does your pepper partner. Then now both of you have something to work really hard for everyday in practice. 



Between the two of you, you should set short term, medium term and long term goals for each other ..for each practice ..and for future accomplishments to achieve. 

These goals will keep you motivated and inspired to come to practice and improve on various skills each time you're in the gym. 


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


  • For example, you can set pepper partner volleyball goals on how many pass/set/controlled hit/dig variations you two can do 
  • -in a row before someone makes a mistake and the ball goes to the ground
  • -for a certain amount of time
  • -just with a tip instead of a hit
  • -just with a tomahawk or mixing in a tomahawk every 2-3 contacts instead of a controlled hit 
  • -how about a one arm pepper variation so you both can work on controlling the ball with a one arm dig after the set and controlled hit

The Power of Attitude and Mentality in Pepper Partner Volleyball
Benefits of having a good pepper partner


1. Mutual Support

A good pepper partner offers encouragement, motivation, and constructive feedback during the drill. They become a source of support, pushing each other to perform at their best and overcome challenges together.

Full Court Pepper Drill I do with clients which allows the ball to cross the net each time its played. 


2. Skill Development

By practicing with a skilled partner, players can improve their technique, timing, and overall ball control abilities.

By playing with someone better than you are it challenges and inspires each player to elevate their skills to new levels.



When training my clients I often bring in a bigger better player to train with them because it speeds up the learning process. You can do this on your own by finding a pepper partner who has played more volleyball than you have. I did this when i was learning how to play so I could see faster and harder balls hit at me which I was challenged to have to dig better and really work on controlling the ball. 

Kenny peppering with a client doing the overhead dig two person pepper drill.  


3. Shared Goals

When both partners share common goals, such as becoming starters or improving specific aspects of their game, it creates a shared vision and sense of purpose. This unified focus helps drive both players to work harder and push past their limits.


4. Increased Repetitions

With a dedicated partner, players can engage in continuous repetitions, maximizing practice time and honing their skills. The ability to repeatedly perform bump, set, hit variations allows players to develop muscle memory and improve their overall coordination.


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 


5. Enhanced Communication and Chemistry

Practicing with the same partner builds communication and chemistry on the court. By working together consistently, players develop an understanding of each other's playing style, tendencies, and preferences, resulting in more effective teamwork during actual game situations.


6. Feedback and Accountability

A good pepper partner can provide valuable feedback, helping identify areas for improvement and offering suggestions for refining technique. This type of constructive criticism improves overall accountability and ensures continuous growth for both partners.


7. Challenge and Competition

Engaging with a skilled pepper partner creates a friendly and challenging environment.

The constant push to match or exceed each other's skill level fosters healthy competition, motivating both players to constantly raise their game.



What is pepper in volleyball?

Its what I make it into because I do stay up nights (I am that coach!)  thinking of different ways to create challenging pepper drill sequences.

Try this one...

  • Set To Yourself
  • Jump Set To Yourself 
  • Hit High To Your Partner
  • Overhead Dig ...start again 



In summary, What is pepper in volleyball and how important is a good partner?

Having a reliable and skilled pepper partner in volleyball

  • fosters mutual support, 
  • skill development, 
  • shared goals, 
  • increased repetitions, 
  • enhanced communication,
  • feedback, 
  • accountability, and a challenging high pressured fast moving environment.

These benefits facilitate growth, teamwork, and ball control progress, ultimately leading to improved performance on the court.



Pushing Boundaries and Protecting Your Court: Attitude Goals for Pepper Partner Volleyball



This is a fun pepper drill in volleyball to try.

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


  • Learning and doing things on the court which at first may make you uncomfortable but with each other's support...you both start breaking down mental and psychological obstacles by encouraging other and working together to play harder. 

Push yourself in pepper!

Go for every ball and have the mentality that balls that come within 3 feet of wherever you are...are NOT going to hit the floor without you getting them up or hitting the floor with a dive, sprawl or at the very least a pancake..in order to keep the ball off the floor... in a controlled manner ...to your intended target. 

This is a super important pepper partner volleyball goal that will take your defense and ability to chase down balls to the next level.

Why? Because in defense attitude is everything.

This is the closest to football volleyball gets...and this is where you HAVE to protect your court...literally your attitude should be...

NOTHING is going to fall on my watch!

Not today, not ever....



When YOU and your pepper partner have that attitude on the court in practice....it WILL get noticed.

Two people on the court make up a third of the team...just two with a "nothing falls in my house" attitude can make a HUGE difference in how your team defends and plays the game. 


When teammates have pepper partner volleyball goals like this in every practice...

  • to push yourself..and
  • to give 100% effort always

...this will inspire both of you to chase down more balls and to increase the amount of court area you both can cover on defense as well as potentially increasing how well you can control the ball when you get it up. 


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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!


Follow me on Pinterest Volleybragswag 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. 


What Is Pepper In Volleyball For New Coaches:
Where Do You Go From Here?


Good times! Where do you need to go now? Here are three options: 

  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 articles like What is pepper in volleyball? on the pages below. 



  • Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Private Volleyball Coach April Chapple
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