Teams who are attending Nationals in June have the month of May and much of June to prep for a Championship. However, the girls’ indoor season can take a toll on the mind and the body, so May is a great time to give your teams a week or two of down time. Try building in some fun opportunities such as training in the sand or a low key team bonding activity. The end of April to middle May or early June is filled with school activities such as prom, end of the year parties, school awards ceremonies, and extracurricular concerts and performances, so it’s a good time to build in a couple weeks of relaxed mindset and low physicality before getting ready to peak at nationals.
The second part of the boys’ season has started, or continued for those who never took a break. Both the girls and the boys will compete in a couple of tournaments or scrimmages before ending their season at AAU or USAV Nationals at the end of June/early July.
Here is a club training model that shares what concepts to focus on during the end of the season, along with some drills to train those concepts, and a sample practice plan.
- Serve and pass is still important to build into the training plan consistently at each practice.
- Fine tune offensive systems and setter/hitter connections.
- Focus on specific defensive concepts and strategy against certain teams you could potentially face at nationals. Utilize video from earlier in the season or on YouTube to scout opponents and work on how to beat your team’s top competition.
- Train specific scenarios such as running out of subs, running a 5-1 if you usually run a 6-2, etc. all designed around competitive drills.
- Compete a lot. To see some different competition across the net, set up scrimmages with nearby clubs or bring in college players that are home for the summer to come scrimmage your team.
- Keep players engaged and keep things fresh by flipping setters from teams or switching coaches for part of practice to bring a different dynamic.
- Probably the most important thing is to keep your players healthy. Limit their jumps to avoid burnout and be fresh before nationals. Incorporate yoga and injury preventative strength training.
What to Train and How Much Time to Allocate to Each Practice
Ball Control Warm-Up – 5%. Integrate collaborative drills and competition.
Serve/Pass – 10-15% of practice. Have your primary passers receiving ample reps in the serve receive rotations you need to improve the most.
- 3 Competitive Serve Pass Drills
- Serve Pass Wash Drill incorporating the middle attack
- Tough After 20
- Speed Serving Game
Offensive and Defensive Systems, Offense to Base Defense. 30-40%
- Cooperative and Combative Left Side Drills
- Attacking and Tempo Drill
- Block Transition Drill
- Coach on 6 transition drill
Positional Training: 10-15%. Can combine positions: ie setters with the middles, setters with pin hitters to work on tempo, etc. Can keep positions separate as well.
- Setting Footwork and Technique
- Free ball pass to attack
- 5 Defensive Drills to Train Top Level Defense
- Training the Outside Set: Footwork, hand position and squaring to target
- Positional work for Master Training
- Middle blocker transition to attack
Competition: 40-50%. 5v5 and 6v6. Create drills that focus on situational and intentional competition. Does not need to include long rallies.
- Prove It Wash Drill
- 12 Creative Scoring Drills to Encourage Competitive Practices
- The sweep drill
- Biggie Smalls Wash Drills
Sample Practice Plan (2 1/2 hours)
0-0:10 Ball Control or Competitive Warm Up
0:10-0:20 Coach or Captain Lead Isolated Passing or Digging Drill, Setters Set off Live Pass
0:20-0:30 Serve and Receive with Setters
0:30-0:45 Positional Training – can vary to add positions in combo drills and focusing on certain sets
0:45-1:05 Offensive Systems off a dig
1:05-1:25 Serve and Receive – add cover ball back to base read.
1:25-1:50 1st Ball Side-Out and Competitive Wash Drills
1:50-2:00 Serving – being intentional about the serve location and difficulty
2:00-2:30 Stretch, Yoga or Injury Preventative Strength Training
This series (Part 3) was developed from the JVA Webinar: What to Train and When and How to Train It. View the webinar here.