Exercise drills are one of the best ways to train agility, endurance, strength, and technique for specific sports.
They’re great fun, too, and can offer even more benefits, such as improved mental health and self-esteem.
So, if you need fun and effective volleyball drills that will help your middle students, we’ve got you covered!
Volleyball is all about agility, quick reflexes, good hand-eye coordination, and strength. It’s also about teamwork, which is another great reason group volleyball drills will benefit your students.
With that said, here are 12 volleyball drills for middle school students that are just as fun as they are challenging!
1. Passing Circle
This drill is ideal for improving your students’ ability to pass accurately and think quickly on their feet.
Organize your students into a circle and then have one student stand in the middle.
The students will forearm pass the ball to the person in the middle, who will return the ball to each student in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.
After a set number of passes, get your students to switch with the person in the middle!
2. Wall Balls
Wall balls are great for improving upper body endurance and catching ability. The exercise is simple, too: just have your students line up along a wall, then throw the ball at the wall and catch it as it returns.
You can increase the difficulty of this volleyball drill by using medicine balls that are heavier than volleyballs.
To add some variation to the exercise, have the students bounce the ball on the ground between each throw.
3. Two On Six
Two on six is a volleyball drill; that’s exactly what it sounds like a team of two going up against a team of six! It’s unfair, needless to say, but it’s a highly rewarding drill that will help your students learn how to read plays and think on their feet.
To make this volleyball drill most effective, get the students to take turns participating in the two-sided team.
With extra effort and concentration required, this exercise will help improve their agility and defensive tactics.
4. Core Drills
Moving around the court with good balance and stability involves lots of core work, which makes core drills great to incorporate into your students’ physical training.
The best thing is that core strength translates to other sports, too, and even everyday functional movements!
A few examples of core exercises that you can incorporate as volleyball drills include mountain climbers, planks, side planks, glute bridges, and Russian twists.
You can ask your students to perform a set number of repetitions or get them to perform multiple drills for set time periods with rest breaks in between.
5. Serving Practice
A good serve is key to giving a volleyball team the advantage at the start of each game. This makes serving practice a great drill for your students!
You can organize this drill by getting your students to take turns serving the ball to one another both with and without a volleyball net.
6. Pass And Move
Pass and move is an effective volleyball drill that will teach your students how to move around the court and pass with greater accuracy.
The drill involves two or more students’ forearms passing the ball around the court and changing positions after each pass.
This drill can be done in a group or on the volleyball court with opposing teams. In this case, have each team rally the ball over the net while moving around the court.
This drill will also help their spatial awareness, positioning, and ability to communicate as a team.
7. Wall Sits
As volleyball involves a lot of squatting, wall sits are a simple but effective exercise to help your students build strength in their quadriceps.
Wall sits are a static exercise that simply involves getting into a squat position with the back placed against the wall. After that, it’s a matter of holding the position for a set amount of time.
8. Sprint Drills
Since agility and stamina are both important for moving around the court during volleyball to return opposing plays, sprint drills are a great way to improve your students’ overall fitness, agility, and footwork.
This is another simple drill to set up. Simply have your students perform short sprint bursts from one side of the court to the other for a set amount of time or laps.
Squats are one of the most important exercises to incorporate into volleyball training since good quad strength is required to move around the court and project power into passes and shots.
The best thing about squats is that there are many different variations that can be turned into effective drills.
Aside from getting your students to perform regular squats, you can also incorporate side-to-side squats, sumo squats, wide and narrow squats, and even lunges.
10. Rise And Pass
Rise and pass is a popular volleyball drill that will help improve your students’ agility, passing accuracy, and hand-eye coordination.
It’s simple, too, as it involves getting your students to lie down on the floor and then rise to receive a pass at the last moment.
As an example, you could have your students lie down along the edge of the court.
Take turns passing the ball to each student from one end to the other, or, for a bigger challenge, call out the students’ names before making each pass.
11. High Jumps
Explosive jumps are important for volleyball shots, especially high shots played close to the net. For that reason, high jumps are simple but effective volleyball drills that will improve your students’ plyometric power.
You can organize high jump drills by having your students perform explosive high jumps on the spot for a set amount of time or by incorporating high jumps into other exercise drills, such as burpees and squats.
12. Target Practice
Last but not least, target practice! This is a fun volleyball drill that will improve your students’ shooting accuracy.
Simply set up targets along the wall or on the opposite side of the court, such as cones or balls, and then get each student to take shots at the targets.
For a bigger challenge, you can have another student pass the ball to the receiving player to replicate a real-life play.
So there you have it: 12 volleyball drills for middle school students that will improve all aspects of their volleyball game.
Incorporate one or more of these drills into your next volleyball class to help your students’ agility, passing and shooting ability, footwork, teamwork skills, and overall fitness.
More importantly, make sure to keep each drill fun and engaging!
Further reading: Basketball drills to try.