Face it, volleyball drills can be a real drag, whether you are a coach or a player. The players continually drill, essentially doing the same thing everyday, while the coach watches them to see if they are working hard and doing what they are supposed to. In reality, volleyball drills are not fun, and can cause burnout rather quickly. There are many ways that you as a coach can make these inevitable occurrences a little more bearable, if not downright fun at times.
One way to relieve the boredom of volleyball drills is to make a competition of them. Throw in some friendly competition, and you will notice that your players seem to work just that little bit harder. Faster runners, harder hitters, higher jumpers, all of these can play into the overall game. A good way to promote this is to provide a grand prize that your team can shoot for. Perhaps find a way to have a weekend stay at a nice hotel at the end of the season. For every competition that a player wins, they can have their name put in a raffle. After the season, at the awards dinner, the winner is drawn from all entries. You could even have second, third ad so on winners. This gives a tangible goal for players to shoot for. To keep everyone interested, you might even have intermediate drawings for smaller prizes throughout the season. Before you know it, you will see your players working extra hard to improve in their volleyball drills.
Because your players know that they are going to be doing volleyball drills for every practice, it will be easy for them to burn out. Instead of letting them burn out, take a few days each season “off”. Rather than doing drills on a hot day, take the team to the community pool and let them just splash around and have some fun. There is no greater exercise than being in the water. Every movement is met with resistance from the water around you. This is actually a really good physical workout, disguised as a day of fun. In keeping with the sport itself, feel free to toss a ball in the pool with them to hit over the net. This can also serve a secondary purpose. Because of the resistance of the water, the players’ moves will be slowed down more than normal. Watch them and take note of little things that may need to be worked on. That will give you something to work on the next day, when you return to volleyball drills. After all, improving form and skill is the reason you practice your team in the first place.
A favorite way to make volleyball drills more enjoyable is to have the players teach them to younger players. It is a well-known fact that you can’t teach something if you don’t know it well. Teaching a set of drills to a younger player is a great way to see if your players understand exactly what the purposes of the drills are. Your players will find themselves looking at the volleyball drills from the same point of view as you are. You will shortly find that they are able to grasp the reasoning behind them much quicker when you start teaching them new and harder drills. If your players know why they are working on a particular set of drills, they will be able to understand the best way to get the most out of them. You may even find that your players begin to offer suggestions on how to make certain drills better for the team that you have missed.
In the end, the volleyball season will consist of a long stream of volleyball drills, repeated over and over. They will become second nature to your team. That doesn’t mean that they have to be boring and repetitive. Using just a little bit of creativity, you can make your volleyball drills more enjoyable and less work. Since they are more enjoyable, your team will have less reluctance to try their hardest. Before long, you will find every member of your team improving, and chances are, they won’t even realize it until their next game. When they win their next game, and see the ease with which they did it, you will find the biggest factor in making the incessant drilling more bearable: Your team’s sense of pride.