5 Simple But Highly Effective Volleyball Setter Drills

I’m a big believer that simplicity is the key to any great volleyball drill.

Oftentimes coaches develop highly complex drills with lots of moving parts and, while they can be effective, they’re often no better than super bare bones drills.

The reason for this is because the more complex a drill becomes, the more cognitive power is required just to follow the sequence, which means less focus can go on actual technique.

Below are 5 extremely simple drills for setters that are as effective for complete beginners as they are professional athletes.

Each of them require minimal participants but can easily be modified to increase difficulty or include more players.

Benefits Of Using A Weighted Volleyball For These Drills

Before we get into the drills, I wanted to mention that each of these drills can be made immediately more effective by using a weighted training volleyball.

Weighted Volleyball

By training with a weighted volleyball, you’ll develop your arm, hand, wrist, and finger strength at a far greater rate than you would using a regular volleyball.

When you switch back to a regulation game volleyball, you’ll be able to set further, with better consistency, for longer.

You might also like to check out my full list of the best volleyball setter equipment!

1. Set To Yourself, Set To Your Partner

The simplest of all partnered volleyball setter drills is known as, ‘set to yourself, set to your partner’. Unless you’re very new to volleyball, chances are you’ve done this drill at some stage!

"Set To Yourself, Set To Your Partner" Volleyball Setter Drill

Simply start about 10-15 feet away from your partner and first set the ball to yourself, before setting it to your partner.

You can modify this drill in countless ways to make it more difficult.

  • Increase the distance between each of you.
  • Increase the height of each set.
  • Use a weighted volleyball.
  • Consider passing/bumping to yourself and then setting to your partner.

This drill is excellent for getting a high volume of touches in. Volume, as you know, is one of the keys to becoming a great setter!

Focus on making really clean, quality contacts and using your legs to help generate power by ‘stepping into’ the set.

2. Target Net Setting

The reason this is such an effective drill is because you can do it from the comfort of your own home, which allows you to get more volume in.

This makes it great if you don’t have access to a volleyball court with a net or someone to train with.

By getting your hands on a setter target net, you’ll be able to practice the same types of sets you’d be making in a game.

Volleyball Setter Target Net

This is one of the most effective ways to get feedback on how accurately you’re setting the volleyball without having anyone else to train with.

3. Square Up & Set Outside Release Ball

"Square Up & Set Outside Release Ball" Setter Drill Volleyball

One of the most common game scenarios a setter will face is when the pass is too short and they’re forced to retreat off the net, square up, and set a high ball to the outside.

This is a very simple drill which simulates this sitatuion.

  1. The ball starts with the tosser (T) around the back of the court. The setter begins in their base position (1).
  2. The tosser will throw the ball to somewhere just behind the attack line to simulate a short pass.
  3. The setter is to move off the net, get under the ball, square their feet up to the target (outside) and deliver their best high ball set to the left side hitting window.

Having a third person can make this drill more efficient as they can throw the ball back to the tosser so you can cycle through the drill more quickly.

This third person can also give feedback to the setter as to how they can improve on the next set.

You can modify this drill by having the setter switch between front setting and back setting.

You can also involve more players by including hitters and blockers.

4. High Ball Setting

One of the best ways to develop power in the upper arms for setting is to frequently do partnered high ball setting drills.

The simplest form of this is to have 2 players standing opposite one another, about 20-30 feet apart.

The idea is to set the ball back and forth using as much height as possible without double contacting the ball.

You can involve more players by turning this into a train: 2 lines opposite one other – after you set you run through and join the line you set to.

You can make this a ‘set to yourself, set to your partner’ variation if it helps your players better control the ball.

The purpose of this drill is to simulate that big release high ball that travels a big distance out to the pins.

It’s effectively an arm workout more than it is about developing technique.

The goal is to build explosive setting power and finger strength so you can set further distances with less effort in the future.

5. Wall Setting Progressions

This is one of the best drills to do when you have no one to train with.

Start nice and close to a wall and with your weighted setter ball, quickly set the ball to yourself over and over, focusing on using only your wrists.

Volleyball Wall Setting Drill

You can do all sorts of variations here including ‘set to yourself, set to the wall’ as well as setting different heights on the wall.

You can make this drill more challenging by standing on one leg or if you really wanted to take it to the next level, balancing on a Bosu ball!

You can add in jump setting here and also modify the distance from the wall that you’re standing.

Get creative and you can easily come up with a completely custom wall setting routine in no time!

About the author

As a former international level volleyball player, I now spend my days working out and writing for Volleyball Vault. I look for ways to bring my wealth of experience and knowledge to create unique and insightful perspectives in my content.