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Cover: implementing a volleyball-specific start to your practice: team warm-up drills
Implementing a Volleyball-Specific Start to Your Practice: Team Warm-Up Drills

with Craig Skinner,
University of Kentucky Head Coach;
2017 SEC Co-Coach of the Year - 2x SEC Coach of the Year;
2011 AVCA All-South Region Coach of the Year;
2006 USA Junior National Team Head Coach (won Gold Medal in the Under-20 NORCECA Championships);
former Nebraska Assistant Coach (won the 2000 NCAA Championship)

Craig Skinner shares his concept of time management and why the critical first 10 minutes of a practice help set the tone for the rest of the session. He shows how you can warm-up your players with a variety of over-the-net pepper drills that emphasize keeping players engaged.

Skinner believes in having a base of five core drills that can be used over the course of a week to promote improving a chosen skill. By incorporating the drills shown in this video, you'll find a way to break up any monotony that your players are getting sick of in practice.

Practice Drills

Warm-up drills should provide your team time to learn fundamentals while maintaining a competitive culture. Some of Coach Skinner's drills include:

  • Columbus Drill - A co-op drill that incorporates thinking and control.
  • Cover Drill - The defense goes into their coverage and then into transition, promoting offensive coverage.
  • Many fundamental transition footwork and passing drills.

Skinner concludes the video with his philosophy of why progressing as a team is more important than trying to be perfect.

Coach Skinner displays many drills in this video that are functional for the beginning of your practices. There are also many ways you can adjust them according to your team's level of play or to make them applicable toward the focal point of a practice. These exercises will promote playing with energy, get your players' minds in the right place for the rest of practice, and incorporate a focus on fundamentals.

55 minutes. 2018.

DVD
Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: simplified setter training
Simplified Setter Training

with Craig Skinner,
University of Kentucky Head Coach;
2017 SEC Co-Coach of the Year - 2x SEC Coach of the Year;
2011 AVCA All-South Region Coach of the Year;
2006 USA Junior National Team Head Coach (won Gold Medal in the Under-20 NORCECA Championships);
former Nebraska Assistant Coach (won the 2000 NCAA Championship)

Setters have become an integral part of any program regardless of the type of offense that a team might run. A setter's leadership, demeanor, and command of their peers' respect are all key factors in molding a dominant volleyball team.

In this video, University of Kentucky head coach Craig Skinner shares his methods to training a top-tier setter. He covers fundamental hand and body positioning and gives you drills that use props, such as boxes, to emphasize angles to better shape, window, and freeze. Skinner's drills will help your setters get their teammates to trust where the ball will be set while also promoting leadership skills and confidence.

Working the Hands

Hands are the key to setting technique. Coach Skinner shows how to use a physio ball to create some stabilization to isolate hand placement, movement and finish. This will improve the angle and timing of your setters' balls!

Once players have become comfortable with the correct hand technique, Skinner progresses to drills featuring a coach on a box. Receiving balls from a box and pass will allow athletes to continue working their hands while also introducing a footwork/base element.

Improving Footwork

Coach Skinner's footwork movements cover:

  • Starting in loaded position
  • Getting a rhythm to step hop
  • Step hopping forward, backward, diagonal toward the net, and back

To close the video, Skinner has a brief Q & A with high school coaches, adding insight and detail to the drills presented.

This video will help you create an aggressive setter by teaching how to dump, read blocks, set a low-passed ball, and take the ball out of the net. Learn how to take your setters to the next level today!

55 minutes. 2018.

DVD
Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: scoring real points and tactical serving
Scoring Real Points and Tactical Serving

with Beth Launiere,
University of Utah Head Coach;
AVCA West Region Coach of the Year (2004, 2006, 2008);
14 NCAA Tournament appearances;
over 540 career victories

University of Utah head coach Beth Launiere has put together a comprehensive skills and drills video capturing her fundamental coaching style. This video will allow you to watch and listen as she sets up drills for warm-up, serving, blocking, passing and digging!

Serving

Coach Launiere begins with her methods to score more points off the serve. The jump float serve is presented in detail because it generates power and accuracy into a small area. She covers why making a serve "Flean" - flat and clean between the top of the net and the top of the antenna - will make it more difficult for your opponents to receive it.

Launiere also helps you understand why it's important to accelerate through the serve to increase power. Finally, you'll see how to work on taking a longer approach with the mentality of "slow to fast."

Blocking

Swing blocking movements utilize specific footwork actions that can be taught to beginners or experienced players. The pace of the game has sped up, which requires blockers to cover a large territory in a short amount of time. The Over In Two drill will help your team work on defending the pins. If you want to break down the defensive side of the game, this drill will give your players plenty of good reps.

Launiere shows how to help athletes focus on pushing off their back leg with a small first step to create momentum. Additionally, you'll learn how and when to move the arms to maximize the speed and power of the block. Launiere also covers how to execute a two-step swing block with a pause.

Out-of-System

Next, you'll get an out-of-system game that teaches players to play 'uncomfortably to become more comfortable' when the ball isn't played in ideal conditions. Your athletes will learn to work with what they get and stay competitive. This forces conservative players to think outside the box and be aggressive without taking too much risk.

Eye Sequencing and Scoring Drill

Having player-centered drills allows coaches more time to focus on coaching instead of being too physically involved. Launiere's Eye Sequencing drill will help you break down certain types of digs and passes to help your players determine where the setter will place a ball.

Finally, a scoring drill is presented that makes a team have to try to score a point ONLY when they get the opposing team out-of-system. However, if the other team executes a perfect pass to win the rally, then they become the team with the opportunity to score.

This is a great video for anyone wanting to train their team to play better out-of-system, increase problem solving ability on the fly, and become better at serving the ball.

53 minutes. 2018.

DVD
Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: hugh mccutcheon: passing & serve receive
Hugh McCutcheon: Passing & Serve Receive

with Hugh McCutcheon,
University of Minnesota Head Coach;
2015 AVCA National Coach of the Year;
2015 Big Ten Coach of the Year;
2013 AVCA North Region Coach of the Year;
2008 USOC National Coach of the Year;
2x NCAA Final Four (2015, 2016), 2012 NCA A Elite Eight and 2x NCAA Sweet Sixteen (2013, 2017);
former Men's and Women's U. S. National Team Head Coach (2012 Women's Olympic team silver medal; 2008 Men's Team gold medal)

When teaching passing skills, coaches should remind players that the "less is more" philosophy holds true. Hugh McCutcheon explains that players should work to have a consistent contact surface by establishing a consistent platform. In this video, he demonstrates multiple passing and serve receive drills that can be incorporated into any practice for players of varying skill levels.

Basic Forearm Passing Keys

Coach McCutcheon emphasizes that players need to be aware of their platform on contact in order to have consistent, high quality passes. He encourages athletes to remember that passing is a hand and arm activity - not a body activity.

Thinking about angles ahead of time in a non-linear manner will allow players to get their weight on their lead leg and drop their shoulder to create the desired angle. McCutcheon shows that by keeping movements simple, athletes will be able to increase their pass execution and quality.

The Passing Angle drill is used to demonstrate how passing backward simply requires a different angle of the platform. The Triangle Passing drill helps players learn to face where the ball is coming from and create the platform angle to where the ball is going to. When teams play the ball forward at the point of contact, good things will happen!

Performance Keys For Serve Receive

Time is a valuable commodity in volleyball because the game moves so quickly. It's essential to get on the line of the ball quickly and be balanced so that passing becomes a hands and arms activity.

McCutcheon explains that players should focus on making sure their body is in alignment of the trajectory of the serve in order to achieve optimum results on serve receive. Additionally, you'll learn about the "big opportunities" for reading the opposing team's server when on serve receive.

Overhead Passing Skills and Drills

Ultimately, the platform is where 'the rubber hits the road.' The better that defenders get at moving to the line, the better the defense becomes. The Butterfly drill can be used to create game-like situations for overhead passing.

McCutcheon believes that teams should consider passing off the net to avoid the overpass. Statistically speaking, the overpass is likely to reward the opposing team with a point. You'll learn why setters have more options to run the offense when passes aren't "on the net."

Coach McCutcheon does an excellent job covering execution of simple, quality passing skills. By breaking down the skills into small segments, viewers will see how each segment builds on the previous one. The drills in this video provide a strong foundation for you to build on your team's passing and serve receive potential.

Produced at the 2018 Iowa Volleyball Coaches Clinic.

61 minutes. 2018.

DVD
Buy at Championship Productions

Cover: hugh mccutcheon: establishing effective blocking systems
Hugh McCutcheon: Establishing Effective Blocking Systems

with Hugh McCutcheon,
University of Minnesota Head Coach;
2015 AVCA National Coach of the Year;
2015 Big Ten Coach of the Year;
2013 AVCA North Region Coach of the Year;
2008 USOC National Coach of the Year;
2x NCAA Final Four (2015, 2016), 2012 NCA A Elite Eight and 2x NCAA Sweet Sixteen (2013, 2017);
former Men's and Women's U. S. National Team Head Coach (2012 Women's Olympic team silver medal; 2008 Men's Team gold medal)

Hugh McCutcheon provides multiple considerations in establishing an effective blocking system. He explains multiple defensive court scenarios and how to place your players in the best position for your team to be successful.

The true goal for blocking balls is to stuff the hitter for points. Hitting efficiency is reduced as more blockers are introduced. Coach McCutcheon demonstrates multiple drills that can be used by players at every level to increase their body position awareness and foot speed in relation to effective blocking skills.

The Five Blocking Movements

McCutcheon explains that defensive footwork should depend on the speed of the offense as well as the speed of the blocker. He stresses the importance of how the body - from the feet to the head - should respond when blocking.

The five blocking movements that McCutcheon covers include:

  • Three-Step Crossover - The most widely-used blocking technique, where the first step is a short one and the second step is long. The first step is just a simple push and go, while the last step is a jam step used to push back toward the court.
  • Two-Step Block - A simple hop move that is used to cover a small space in a short amount of time.
  • Five-Step Blocking Movement - Utilizes the combination of the two-step block and the three-step crossover.
  • Quick 3 - This blocking move is run as fast as possible. Blocker drift is acceptable for this action.
  • X2 - This move is similar to a layup in basketball. The takeoff is done with one foot and is even faster than the Quick 3 blocking movement.

Blocking Footwork Drills

A great way to check footwork is to create lines on both sides of the net to work on the five blocking movements concurrently. With players lined up across from each other, coaches are able to get a visual of the potential mistakes that can be made while identifying gaps that may exist in athletes' training.

One method that McCutcheon uses is to call out a series of movements to allow players to become comfortable using multiple blocking strategies quickly. This is a game-like action that adds some fun and creativity to blocking systems.

Ultimately, there is much misconception regarding the use of the swing block. The swing terminology is only intended for the jumping portion of the block. There should be no swinging of the arms with the blocking motion itself. McCutcheon has the expertise to break down the entire swing blocking movement and concepts in an easy-to-understand segment.

This video gives you all the tools and knowledge required to improve your team's blocking game. Coach McCutcheon has a unique perspective having been a high school player, professional player, collegiate player, Olympic athlete, and now elite coach of the sport of volleyball. Let him help you take your team's blocking skills to the next level!

Produced at the 2018 Iowa Volleyball Coaches Clinic.

60 minutes. 2018.

DVD
Buy at Championship Productions


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