Great defenses are made of good blocking, digging and a nothing hits the floor” mentality. In the second of our six-part series, we’ll show you how to bring them all together.

“In all my years of coaching, I always felt that defense—individual player and team—is the tactical area that will determine what team will ultimately win.” - Terry Liskevych, former USA Olympic coach and Oregon State University coach

There’s no doubt you’ve heard the coaching cliché, “defense wins championships.” Now you’ll see it with our new attack tendencies report. We’ll use this data to show how your team block and dig more balls, then dive into how Penn State volleyball teaches its athletes to protect the floor and the net.

The Problem

You lost your last match and it’s easy to see why when you look at the data—your opponent’s attack percentage was over .350. Your players couldn’t figure out how to shut them down and your efforts to sub in different blockers and defensive specialists didn’t make a difference. What can you do to keep this from happening again? Head to your attack tendencies report to find out. 

The Diagnosis

You select your opponent to see their players’ efficiencies. The report lights up blue (because blue lines are kills). You filter by their outside hitters and realize that everything was landing down the line, where your team isn’t used to defending. Your blockers were too far inside and your right back was right behind your blockers instead of having her foot on the line. 

Next, you filter by your opponent’s right sides. This time everything is going cross-court. Even when your blockers seemed to be lined up well, the right side would hit a sharp angle. 

The Solution

The drill below from The Art of Coaching Volleyball and Penn State breaks down the mechanics of digging on the right side. Use this to help your players focus on their form, and get their shoulders around the ball to face the target with their platform. 

Now they know how to protect the line. So it’s time to work on defending angle attacks—both in the front row and the back. In this video, you’ll see a competitive five-on-five drill that teaches one-on-one blocking and digging with an aggressive attitude. 

Want to see more drills and coaching tips? Head over to The Art of Coaching Volleyball to start learning. Or head over to blog three in this series, First Ball and Transition Kills.