Badger Blueprint: Wisconsin volleyball staff serves up coaching tips
Establishing fundamental volleyball skills at an early age is not only incredibly important in the development process but it can also be the launching pad for a rewarding season for you and your players.
But to help your players learn those skills and develop a passion for the sport you’ll need to craft practices that they can’t wait to attend.
We checked in with the University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball staff, who shared these outstanding tips to help you be that special coach that kids love playing for and learning from:
Do THIS if you have kids standing in line for a drill!
We know having young athletes stand in line during a practice drill smothers fun and crushes learning, but if you’re working with a large group of kids sometimes you’re forced to run the occasional drill that involves some waiting.
If so, do this so valuable practice time isn’t wasted: Use tape on the floor, or cones, to turn those waiting lines into a mini agility course. This way, kids are staying active and engaged in the practice, they’re having fun, and they’re working on developing good footwork that will benefit their play before they jump into the drill.
Use old-time games
Setting is an important skill for young players to learn, and a challenging one, too. So, when working on setter hands, have them sit down and set, and don’t be afraid to turn it into an old-time game of Duck, Duck, Goose. Here’s how:
♦ Have players (ducks) sit in a circle holding good setting hands. Have a coach standing in the middle and tossing a ball to the ducks one at a time
♦ During each toss the coach calls “duck” or “goose”
♦ Around the outside of the circle is one player (goose) standing behind the duck where the ball is being tossed
♦ If the coach calls “duck” the sitting player will set the ball back to the coach who is standing in the center
♦ If the coach calls “goose” that cues the standing player to run around the circle of ducks. The sitting player has to first set the ball back to the coach and then chase the “goose”
Use creative scoring systems
Keep your drills goal oriented and give them purpose. Having creative scoring systems can add real value to a drill. For example, instead of giving points for an attack over the net only award the athlete a point if they have used the correct footwork approach in attacking – regardless of the outcome.
Rotate, rotate, rotate
Change drills every 10 to 15 minutes. Remember, kids have short attention spans!
Olympic swimming great Dana Vollmer, winner of five gold medals, challenges coaches of all youth sports to find the most effective ways to motivate all their young athletes
Olympic gold medalist Misty Hyman on empowering and inspiring young athletes
Antonio Pierce, Super Bowl champion and linebackers coach at Arizona State, on pinpointing motives and inspiring young athletes to be their best
Monique Henderson, Olympic track great and college coach, on chasing improvement one fun-filled step at a time