Volleyball Defensive Conditioning Drill

Though the name may seem sinister, this "assassin drill" submitted by Active community member Coach Kirk Morgan is a great way to sharpen your team's defense in an exciting and rigorous way. (If you've got a favorite volleyball drill you use in practice, check out our Active content submission form to share your volleyball knowledge.)

How the Drill Works

This is a fun and intense drill for the beach and indoor game my players love that builds defensive quickness and stamina.

Break the players into groups of 5-7 and arrange all but one of them in a shallow semi-circle about 8'-10' from the "victim". Four "assassins" in a row take turns hitting balls one after the other at the victim who in turn digs them back to that hitter. Players not hitting take turns shagging balls and getting them back to the hitters. 

Upon completion, everyone rotates one spot. Balls should come quickly one after the other with everyone encouraging the "victim".

Varying the Speed

When the hitters reach the end of the line, it's back to the first hitter. The first round of four balls is at 50 percent speed, the second round at 60 percent and so on up to 100 percent.

For less conditioned or skiiled players you can start at 50 percent and go to 80 percent, working more on technique. 

My players always laugh and really enjoy this drill. There's lots of good-natured banter and vows of "revenge" when roles are reversed. They amaze themselves and others with great digs, which come more and more frequently as we do this drill. 


Kirk Morgan is the beach volleyball coach for the City of Laguna Beach. He's been coaching for 15 years.

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