So many of us have been on lockdown for nearly two months, not only losing our skills and touch but are reaching the brink of volleyball insanity (this describes me far too well for my own liking).
Keeping that in mind, I found this Fitness article from November 1993, long before we acquired Volleyball Magazine and turned it into VolleyballMag.com.
The story (author unknown) includes three drills that can be performed with only a ball and a wall. Enjoy, stay safe, and please maintain your social distancing!
Forearm Pass (Bump) or Overhead pass (set) to yourself:
Make a goal of “X” repetitions in a row. Limit the floor area you work in so you’re not allowed to chase the ball around the room or court. You can do X number of each pass (10 bumps, then 10 sets), then alternate bumps and sets as USA setter Yoko Zetterlund demonstrates here.
Make up any combination of passes you think of: three low bumps plus one high one; four low bumps plus one set, etc.
Debbie Green, the starting setter for the USA women’s team that won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics, presents a variation of this drill at her setting clinics, and it can be as difficult as you care to make it. She calls it her “Baby Set Drill.”
Set the ball over your forehead so the ball clears your hands by only about six inches maximum. Mostly just flex your wrists to cushion the ball and flick it back out again, keeping your elbows fairly fixed. Then, as you continue to set the ball, drop down to a kneeling position, and get back up again. Once you’ve mastered that, you can drop to a sitting position on the floor and get back up again. Then you can progress all the way to lying down on your back and getting back up without dropping the ball.
This is a good drill if you don’t have a wall to pass against but you do have some space on a firm surface (see sequence above, left to right). Slam the ball down hard enough for it to bounce over your head so you can set or pass to a target either along a net, if you’re on a volleyball court, or to some target (such as into a trash can, over a rope or into a basketball hoop. If you have access to a basketball backboard (even without a hoop), you can slam the ball down and pass or set it off the rebound to a spot on the backboard or into the hoop. Since the hoop is 10 feet off the ground, sets that loop just over and into the hoop are good second-tempo sets (“2” sets) for a women’s net, and about right for first-tempo quick sets for a good men’s AA or collegiate team. If you shoot from about 10 feet away, it becomes a “31” set.
You can vary this drill by settting high balls from the top of the key that reach a peak and drop straight down into the hoop. This is the classic high outside set, which is the most difficult set to perform consistently.
You can also slam the ball down with your back to the backboard to practice setting back sets, especially “2’s.” Do not turn around too soon to see the results of a short because the twisting motion of your follow-through will cause the set to drift. Your goal should be to hear the ball bounce off the rim,or hang a bell on the net in case you get a lot of swishes. For “5” sets (medium high to the right side), stand just inside the free-throw line, set the ball to clear the rim by several feet and drop straight into the hoop. For high sets, you should hold your outstretched arms for a count of “one thousand one” before you drop your hands. This ensures an accurate path so the balls don’t drift off-target; then you can turn to “cover your hitter” and see the result of your set.
Bump or set against a wall
Pick a target spot on the wall, and try to hit that spot consistently for X repetitions (see sequence at left). Vary the height of the spot and the tempo of the pass. A low, fast pass may be preferred for a quick option off a free-ball play, whereas a high, loopy pass may be better for serve-receive plays and transition from defense. Vary your distance from the wall so you can pass or set the ball faster and farther without having the rebound go over your head.