It all starts with the serve. Not only can an effective serve help you win rallies but can disrupt your opponent's ability to run an effective offense.
Here are three serving drills from Coach G you can use during practice to sharpen your team's rally game.
Volleyball Drill No. 1: Arm Toss
Right-handed players stand with left foot slightly ahead of right foot. Hold ball in left hand and extend the arm straight out from body at a 90-degree angle. (Left-handed players will be exactly opposite.)
With a firm wrist, arm toss the ball 18 inches high but let it fall to the ground. The ball should fall to the spot on the floor just inside of the lead foot and in line with the hitting shoulder.
The toss is crucial to a successful serve because an improperly tossed ball will cause a poor arm angle resulting in a bad serve. Remember when serving: on a bad toss you should let the ball fall to the ground and then attempt again.
Volleyball Drill No. 2: Target Practice
On the other side of the net set up six main targets at the front right, left and middle positions--as well as the back left, right and middle positions. Coach then chooses target to aim for and server tries to hit the target on the serve.
The team can be divided in half and this can be turned into a competition with points awarded to how many serves strike the chosen target area.
Make sure to keep wrist firm throughout the serve. Contact with heel of hand through the middle back of the ball. The contact should sound like a "thud" not a "slap" sound. Hand follows ball to target. Finish with hand along side or within bodyline.
Volleyball Drill No. 3: Jump and Catch
Toss and let the ball drop to check for accuracy. The ball must land between the end line and three feet inside the end line.
Phase 2 of this drill occurs when the server tosses the ball, and makes his approach, making sure to end with a right -left finish for right handers and left-right finish for lefties. Jump as if you are going to attack the ball and then catch it in mid air in the correct position. Eventually this will lead into a drill of serve and catch or partner serve.