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Volleyball Serve Receive Drills

author image James Patterson
James Patterson specializes in health and wellness topics, having written and produced material for the National Institutes of Health, the President's Cancer Panel and an Inc. 500 Hall of Fame company. He is also a former sportswriter with writing experience in basketball, baseball, softball, golf and other popular sports.
Volleyball Serve Receive Drills
Serve receive is essential to scoring points in volleyball. Photo Credit sharpshutter/iStock/Getty Images


The ace is one of the most dreaded statistics in all of volleyball. The inability to properly play a serve--called serve receive--can lead to a big deficit in the score before you know it. Practicing some simple serve receive drills can help your team members improve on receiving the ball and transition into their offense in no time.

Black Sheep Drill

Sometimes it’s one player in particular who has trouble receiving the serve. To simulate that situation, try the black sheep drill. Use a colored mesh jersey to designate the black sheep on the team. Divide your squad into two teams and have one player for each side put on a black sheep jersey. The only rule for this drill is that the server must attempt to serve the ball to the black sheep, and the black sheep is the only player who can touch the ball after it comes over the net on the serve. Teams must adjust to the black sheep’s position on the court and transition into the offense accordingly.

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Serve Receive Transition

When serve receive is done correctly, it sets your team up for a scoring opportunity. To help practice this, try the transition drill. Have five players on each side of the net. Three act as hitters, one as the setter and one as the server. On the whistle, have the server serve the ball over the net. One of the hitters must serve receive the ball by passing it to the setter in front of the net. The same hitter then advances to the net and calls out to the setter. The setter then sets the ball at the net for a kill by the hitter. Have the server serve the ball to each hitter at least once during the drill. Have players rotate through the different positions throughout the drill.

Two-Minute Drill

This drill emphasizes speed and accuracy. Have two servers on one side of the court and two corresponding hitters and two setters on the other side of the net. The object of the drill is to see which set of servers, hitters and setters can execute more successful serve-receive kills in the two-minute span. Once the clock starts, the server serves the ball over the net to the hitter, who uses either a forearm hit or overhand hit to pass the ball to the setter. The setter than sets up the ball at the net for a kill by the hitter. The team that makes the most legal kills in two minutes wins the drill.

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