Second Drill to Ele­vate Your Vol­ley­ball Team’s Ball Control

Now that you know how to run a carousel ball con­trol drill, apply it to your defense. Head coach Lind­say Peter­son will show you how.

Second Drill to Ele­vate Your Vol­ley­ball Team’s Ball Control

Now that you know how to run a carousel ball con­trol drill, apply it to your defense. Head coach Lind­say Peter­son will show you how.

Ball con­trol — annoy­ing, frus­trat­ing, time-con­sum­ing, impor­tant, a way to win games, the list goes on and on. In the 14 years I’ve been coach­ing, these are just a few of the ways I’ve heard my play­ers describe ball control. 

Every year, I feel like I have to evolve with my play­ers to try and find new ways to improve on this skill in prac­tice, all while keep­ing them inter­est­ed. In my last blog, I talked about an attack­ing carousel drill I like to start my prac­tices with once a week. But we don’t stop there.

Digging carousel

My first blog cov­ered Monday’s ball con­trol drill — now let’s go over Tuesday’s. I know, it’s anoth­er carousel. But the truth is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

This is a timed drill and each rota­tion lasts 3 – 5 min­utes. Here’s how it works.

  1. Divide your team into three groups. (You need at least three kids per group for this to work.)
  2. Each play­er gets five balls. 
  3. Group one: hit­ter on a box in right front, a tar­get in the set­ting posi­tion, a defend­er dig­ging out of mid­dle back
  4. Group two: hit­ter on a box in left front, on the oth­er side, dig­ging cross court
  5. Group three: hit­ter on the box in left front as well, dig­ging down the line in right back
  6. When time’s up, rotate to the next box: the hit­ter becomes the dig­ger, the dig­ger becomes the tar­get, and the tar­get becomes the hitter.
This is how your players should line up for the drill on the court.

Change it up

  • Switch your carousel by push­ing the box­es under­neath the net. Have the out­side dig a line shot, the right side dig cross court, and the mid­dle back dig to their right
  • If the ball con­trol toss­ing and hit­ting isn’t there yet, have your hit­ters throw the ball with some pace on it.

What to watch

The best part of this drill is that all play­ers get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to play defense out of every posi­tion. Most col­lege coach­es would tell you that a play­er who can play all six rota­tions is a play­er they’re more like­ly to be inter­est­ed in. 

This drill also shows coach­es who’s able to read and defend well. This would be a great drill to record and upload to your Hudl account. Use the film to send play­ers feed­back on their defen­sive posi­tion­ing and how they’re mov­ing. I also like to use this drill at try­outs, it lets me see what the defend­ers are able to do.

If you missed my first drill on ball con­trol, check it out here.


Lind­say Peter­son has been a var­si­ty head coach for eight years. She played for the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Alaba­ma, help­ing them win the DII Nation­al Cham­pi­onship in 2003. Peter­son has led her Mil­lard North High School team to the state cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment sev­en times, win­ning in 2016 and 2018. She was named one of the top 40 coach­es in the coun­try by the AVCA, and Coach of the Year by the Oma­ha World-Herald.