Neville’s Pepper: Competitive Defensive Drill

Looking for some variety in your practice? Everyone has their drills that they usually do. There is nothing wrong with using the same drills over and over; however, sometimes it is good to use a different method to teach/practice the same concept. Mike Johnson, Associate Head Coach at Notre Dame and former Head Coach at Xavier has a defensive drill that he calls Neville’s Pepper. The drill is designed to be competitive and reward the defense for digging and transitioning into an attack.

The Neville’s Pepper drill is just one of several drills that Coach Johnson utilizes to prepare his defense. To learn more about the DVD that this drill was taken from click the link Skill Development Drills: Defense

The YouTube video has sound, so you will need to make sure that your sound is turned on and that you have access to the site.

In this drill players will be placed into groups of three. The group of three will play together for 3 minutes (In the video coaches uses 90-seconds for demonstration purposes). They will play against against a full lineup of 6. Players will sub in and out on each point on the side of six, while the side of three will stay together for the entire three minutes.

Points are awarded only to the side three. The scoring is as follows. one point will be awarded for every dig and one point will be awarded for every rally won. One point will be subtracted for every hitting error and if no attempt is made on the ball the team loses all of their points.

After three minutes, three new players will come in to play against the group of six. You continue to rotate players to the side of three until everyone has a chance to be on the scoring side of the net. The group of three that scores the most points in their rotation is the winner.

There are several ways to vary the game. You can have an open net on the side of six or allow blockers. You can have the point start with a serve or have a free ball toss. In this video coach is having the ball served in, and open net and the side of three must attack out of the back row


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