How To Make A Practice Plan For Youth Volleyball Players

Updated: May 1



We all know how frustrating and time-consuming planning a youth volleyball practice can be. Searching through Google and Youtube after work trying to find a practice that doesn't take all night but still helps the players develop their skills can at times, seem almost impossible. There are many things a coach must take into consideration when planning a good volleyball practice. These considerations can include the type of drills, how long do the drills take, and how to sequence the drills in an order that makes sense. Thankfully, we have put together an easy-to-use template to help you get ready for that next practice. Let's go through how to structure your practice plan and a few exciting drills to try out.


 

Want more great practice plans for volleyball? Check out the Athlete Era Volleyball app available on IOS and Android!


 

How to structure a practice plan


A great place to start is by having a general structure in mind before deciding on what drills you are going to choose. According to the USA Volleyball Athlete Development model, practices should only last about 1 hour up until the age of about 10. To make it easy, practices can be broken down into 4 basic sections. Since these younger players will most likely not have the longest attention span, keeping your practices simple is the first thing to consider when designing a general structure. Use these recommended times for each section as a guideline. For example, if the players need a bit more time to work on their ball work, increase the time in that section and maybe shorten the warm-up. There is a lot of different variations on how this plan could be delivered regardless of the allotted amount of time. Here is a general template to help guide you through important considerations and what the chosen drill in each section should look like:


5-10 minutes: Warm-up


The goal of a warm-up is to physically prepare the players for the practice. At the youth ages, tag-like games or relay races are great ways to make sure the players are having fun while still getting the body warm!


10-15 minutes: Ball work


This section is all about getting repetition. The drill that you choose should be in a closed environment where the player can focus on practicing their technique and preparing for the main part. For example, if the main focus of the practice is serving, have players practice different serving techniques against a wall or in pairs.


20-25 minutes: Main focus


This is where the main drill will fit into the practice plan. This section should build off the ball work section and work towards a more open environment. Going back to the serving example, the drill chosen here should have players serving from a realistic position on the court and using different types of serves that they would use in a game.


20-25 minutes: Modified gameplay


The final piece of practice should always be the most fun. Make sure the game here looks and feels like volleyball, but has the modifications to suit the player's age and skill level. For example, playing a game that uses less players or is played on a smaller court can help players practice the skills that were focused on in the main part.


Example practice plan

To make things easier, we have taken the template and filled it in with some great drills for you to try at your next practice! Click here to see an example of a completed practice plan with drill descriptions.


Modifying your practice plan


Now that you have seen the practice plan and have a good idea of how it's structured and what drills to use, it's time to talk about how adjustments can be made. It’s no secret that when working with younger children, especially in a sporting context, not everything is always going to go exactly as planned. There may be times when due to a busy gym schedule, you only have 45 minutes. In this case, don’t be afraid to move through certain sections quicker such as the warm-up and ball work parts to allow more time for the main focus and gameplay sections. At the same time modifications can be made in relation to the skill level of the players. For example, if you as the coach feel that there needs to be more time spent in a certain section to allow the players more time to develop their skills, there is no problem in lengthening that particular section. The same can be said if the players are progressing faster than anticipated.


Variations


Continuing on with progress, variations within drills are an essential part of helping the players improve as well as being a key component in determining the length of each section. Each of the drills within the completed practice plan has variations to help keep the players engaged no matter what skill level they are at. Consider sticking to variations that the players can get quality repetitions in before progressing to a different variation. Ultimately, this decision will come down to what you, the coach, have observed.


Looks like you are all set to run your next practice!


 

Want more great practice plans for volleyball? Check out the Athlete Era Volleyball app available on IOS and Android!


 


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