Ask Coach Houser: How Do I Improve My Team's Defense?

More explanation: "I want these balls dug. We want these balls dug. I prefer you to not slam, throw, power tip, etc. The longer this drill goes, the less time we have to serve, serve receive, play 6's, etc."

After a few practices, my girls get very good at these types of drill, the drills are over in 10 minutes, and we stretch and go on.

This drill does WONDERS for your team. It will create "teamness," it will allow girls to practice tipping, it will force setters to back set and middle set; hitters will have to control their tips (because if the tip falls, then another ball must be poked. So every tip that falls means the drill last LONGER, and we get to actually PLAY less.)

Teaching Aggressiveness

Later when you play 6's, have a game like this. Call out two teams of 6's, then say:

  • "First team to 10 points wins. You score by getting three points for a tip kill (not a bump, not a pokey, not a hit, not a roll shot), and you get 1 point for any other kill.
  • No one single girl can score more than 4 points.
  • Loser does x consequences, winner does (1/2)(x) consequences."

I alternate down balls. I guess you can play make it/take it, or the team who's behind gets the balls, etc. You will see some NASTY tips, and you will see girls GOING FOR the dig.

One of my coaching expressions: You can drill ANYTHING!

Laying Down the Law

TEAM RULE: We don't get beat in front of us. Never. If we get beat in front or us, then we're playing TOO far away from our teammates.

If you're not good at reading tips yet, then play a little closer. MAKE your opponents beat you behind you. That's harder for them.

It's MUCH easier to tip than to hit. Much! You know it is. And the more the opponent is successful at tipping, the more they'll tip. We must take that away from them, and make them do what's harder. Deal?

Try it, and you'll find your squad playing their best in no time.

Coach Tom Houser is director of STAR Volleyball Camps as well as author of the "I Can't Wait" Drill Collection and Ebooks. For more info on the ebook as well as upcoming camps check out

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