Connect with us


Pre-Tournament vs. Post-Tournament Practice

In my ten years of professional playing experience, I learned that a pre-tournament practice is critical for the team to perform their best. All of the heavy work should be conducted during earlier practices.

Here are some keys to focus on during a practice before a tournament:

  • Fundamental reps: plan drills that are lighter in physical exertion and focus on making sure the team is feeling good about their skills
  • Lineups/ rotations recap: refresh memory of your team lineups and rotations.
  • Light lower body/ core strength: since volleyball is a high-impact sport, incorporate some lower body and core conditioning to help the athletes perform more consistently and reduce injuries.

Below is an example of a 2-Hour Pre-Tournament Practice Plan:

0:00-0:10   Warmup games: Dodgeball, Newcomb (or other fun games the team likes)
0:10-0:20   Serving drill: serving targets with a time limit( use dots/ chairs/ boxes to mark the area we want the team to focus on)
0:20-0:40   Serve-receive by rotation: five good passes each rotation
0:40-0:50   Hitting lines: hitting by positions, setters switch after setting each attacker
0:50-1:15   6v6 Wash Drill: Starting side receives two balls: a serve receive and a free ball. Starting side needs to win both balls before the opposing side gets 5 points
1:15-1:40   1 Game to 25
1:40-2:00  Lower body/ core strength and cool down

Squad hold 15x
Plank for 1 minute
Band side shuffle to the net and back
Hip dip planks 20x
Repeat this circuit 3x

After a long weekend with 7-9 matches, the players are physically and mentally exhausted. It is very different from my playing experience since I practiced eight hours a day and was trained to compete over the course of a longer season with significantly less matches each week. Therefore, coaches need to recognize that the main focus for post-tournament practice should be recovery and injury prevention.

Here are some keys to focus on during a practice after a tournament:

  • stretching
  • slower-paced
  • non/low-jumping reps
  • resolving problems or weaknesses discovered in the games.

Below is an example of a 2-Hour Post-Tournament Practice Plan:

0:00-0:30   Film studying/ team meeting: Discuss what problems occurred during the tournament that the team can improve on
0:30-0:50  Recovery yoga/ deep stretch
0:50-1:20   Serve receive from boxes: Servers on the box with a controlled serve to a designated area, passers focus on passing/angling reps and building muscle memory
1:20-1:50  Problem solving from film studying/ team meeting

Example: Problem – left back defender does not square feet and hips to the outside hitter when digging angles.
Drill –  coaches hit down balls from outside to the left back to help left back players correct their defense.

View additional practice planning and game management resources.

About the Author

Helen Lin Walker is the 14-1 Head Coach and a Master Coach for A5 Volleyball, a JVA member club in Atlanta, GA. She has been with the club for 10 years, and also has experience coaching at the high school and college level, including the Walker School Varsity Team for 4 years leading the team to their best season on record, and assistant at Emory University for four years, during which time the team made the NCAA semifinals twice and the finals once. In 2020 Helen was named AVCA 14’s National Club Coach of the Year.  Before coaching, Helen played 10 years at the professional level as an all-around opposite hitter. She found her passion in helping youth players by transforming her volleyball knowledge into coaching. She enjoys guiding players to unlock both the physical and psychological aspects of the game.

This article is shared as part of our Fair Dealing Policy. For the original article, please visit:

The JVA Vision is to be the premier organization to serve all the needs of the Junior Volleyball Community. We are the ONLY national association that is 100% focused on junior volleyball and the needs of junior clubs.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Recreational