Many players have a break between club season and school tryouts. Time for them to sit on the couch and relax, right?
Young volleyballers can get the rest they need while still staying in volleyball shape. Encourage your child to follow these five steps and they’ll hardly miss a beat come fall.
Play, Not Train
Volleyball’s fun, right? So your child have fun this summer and just play! Encourage them to just play for the sake of play and test out different versions of the game. Hit the beach if they predominately play indoor, or have them pick a partner and play doubles tournaments. Just play, no coaching involved. Anything that gives players game-like reps in a low-pressure situations will help their development.
Try Something New
The summer is a chance for players to cross-train with another sport, or to see if an individual sport is more to their liking. Have them try a sport where they hang onto the ball instead of hitting it, or even one that does not include a ball, like hiking, biking, rollerblading or running. Better yet, you can take up this sport with your child, too! It’s an opportunity for you to get moving while spending quality time together.
Find New Playing Partners
Want the house to yourself this summer? Here’s a way to get your volleyball player outside and give them new experiences: set up an outdoor net and have your volleyballer teach the game to younger siblings or neighbors. They’ll understand the game better by teaching others their skills, and they can learn a lot by serving as coach, mentor and setter in 3 vs. 3 games. Plus, it’ll give your child experience with different partners or weather conditions, making them more proficient at reading and adapting to new teammates and situations.
Or sign them up for a volleyball camp at a college they’re interested in. That will allow them to meet new friends and pick up techniques from new coaches, It can help come senior year when it's time to decide where to attend university.
Learn from the Pros
You learn how volleyball is played when you see great players compete. Encourage your kids to watch YouTube highlights or attend U.S. matches in-person.
Working on skills alone is a great way to improve in the off-season. All that’s needed is to find a windowless wall and chalk a line the height of a net on it. Here are a few solo drills to share with your youngster!
Stand 20-30 feet away from the wall and serve above the line. Sprint in, grab the ball and immediately set up the next serve attempt.
As the ball bounces off the wall, play it up to yourself, pass it to the wall and repeat. The goal is to learn to first play the ball up, not back where it came. Change it up and pass at an angle by placing a box off to one side of the wall’s base and passing into the box.
Throw the ball against the wall, move to the rebound and set front or back sets. Position yourself perpendicular to the wall and face left or right depending on which direction you’re setting. The set should go along the net line, not above it. After the set, move to the hitter’s position and catch your own set. Return to your starting position and repeat.
Hint: A corner – like in a gym – will allow players to set off the wall’s pass to themselves. The set will bounce back to the setting position.
Stand 10-15 feet from the wall, have them set themselves, and hit the ball above the line on the wall. Turn right and left to practice line and cut shots; the ball should still bounce back. Tip and roll shots can be trained, too, just have your child strive to keep a neutral, unreadable look before deciding which shot to execute. This will pay off against human opponents! Bounce a hard ball off the ground, jump and hit it, or find a friend (or yourself) to set them instead.
Feel like getting some touches yourself? No problem! Make these solo drills into a game. Play 1 vs. 1 plus 1 where the setter sets for both sides, doubles over a rope, or even sets against the wall like handball. You can even see how many times you can string together a pass, a set and a spike off the wall.
Summer can be a time for athletes to rest and relax, but it can also present an opportunity to strengthen their skills and perfect their craft. By encouraging your child to follow these five tips this summer, they’ll return to the court a better, more confident player.