Even without teammates or a volleyball court available, youth players can always be practicing their volleyball skills. Individuals who work on their conditioning, consistency and accuracy will bring more impact to the team and will probably see more playing time.
Blocking is a critical and valued volleyball skill, with three areas of emphasis in the body: hands, feet, and brain. For the hands, blockers need to infiltrate the space above the net and surround the ball. Footwork skills are used to move players in position directly in front of the hitter. Finally, great blockers need to develop the mental agility to recognize and anticipate the tendencies of the opposing team’s hitters, setters and offensive set.
A great solo drill a player can work on is simply standing in front of a wall and hitting a small spot precisely, as if picking up a quarter stuck to the wall. This sounds simple enough, but in practice there is much more to it to achieve consistency. Hit the exact spot on the wall from a fixed stance, by moving forward towards the wall in several steps, or from the side as if crossing over with another teammate. Work on flawlessly coordinating hand technique, footwork and mental anticipation.
The object of this drill is to start in a blocking position, jump and “block” the wall at a spot that is higher than the height of the net, and land in the block position again. Players should change the height and angle of the block to remain flexible. Another volleyball variation is getting as close to wall as possible without touching it, to practice blocking the ball without causing a net foul.