Beach Volleyball Passing Drills: Shuffling

If you find yourself standing around on the court during a volleyball game, chances are you’re either on the sidelines or part of the officiating crew. Volleyball is not a static activity. Players are constantly moving, attempting to get themselves in optimal position to play the ball.

Passers and defenders, in particular, do a lot of moving. That’s why it is imperative that new players master the volleyball shuffle — the basic footwork passers and defenders use to get to balls that are out of reach.

What is Shuffling?

Simply put, shuffling is when players move laterally without crossing their feet. To introduce this technique to new players, follow these steps:

  1. Assume an athletic position (feet shoulder-width apart, knees and arms slightly bent, and core engaged).
  2. Take a large step to the right with the right foot.
  3. Once the right foot is in position, slide the left foot over to meet the right foot. Feet should now be slightly closer than shoulder-width apart.
  4. Repeat the previous steps in a shuffling motion.

As you can see by the brevity of the above steps, shuffling in itself is not a difficult skill to grasp. But because it’s not a natural movement (a player’s tendency will be to simply run towards the ball), it must be trained through practice and repetition, and with the help of the following drill.

Shuffle Drill

In this drill, players shuffle in various directions according to directional cues provided by the coach. Coaches will usually use their arms to signal the players to move in the desired direction. This drill is great for building stamina and can also be used as conditioning.

Purpose: To help players develop shuffling posture and technique, while simultaneously building muscle memory.

Equipment Needed: Space! All you need for this drill is a wide open area on the court.

Drill Set Up: Organize players into rows (the size and number of your rows will depend on the number of players), making sure there is adequate space — at least an arm’s length on both sides — between each player. The players should be facing the coach.

Instructions: Inform players that the object of the drill is to shuffle in the direction that you point until the direction is changed.

Points of Emphasis

Emphasize a few key concepts during the shuffle drill so that players know what they should be learning in each situation:

  • Stay low (knees bent) throughout entirety of the drill.
  • Keep the arms bent and out in front of the body (not hanging to the side).
  • Never cross over with the feet.

Building From the Bottom Up

When players make passing mistakes, they often assume that their upper body is the root of the problem — but rarely is that the case. Most passing mistakes are actually the result of poor footwork.

Training your athletes to shuffle will establish a solid foundation from which players can pass and defend, no matter where the ball is headed on the court.

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