Ball Control Drills & Tips for Reading and Reacting


Train your players to read and anticipate the game, control the ball and take hard-to-defend shots

  • Improve ball control by creating opportunities for players to work cooperatively across the net
  • Learn how to train players to track the ball from the server’s hand and the peak of the serve
  • Train your hitters to utilize multiple shots and make good decisions with the ball

SKU: Item Number: VD-05008 Category:


with Tara Cross-Battle,
2x NCAA Division I Player of the Year at Long Beach StatePlayed for team USA in the 1992 Olympic games (bronze medal);
Played on four USA Olympic teams (1992-2004); 2014 inductee in the International Volleyball Hall of Fame, and Olympic Bronze Medalist and the first United States 4x Volleyball Olympian

Ball control is a prominent issue for younger players who may not have grown into a dedicated position on your volleyball team. With limited practice time, is it any wonder that the “practice-centric” skills of ball control, reading and shot selection are underdeveloped and seem to disappear when the third match in pool play comes around?

In this presentation, Tara Cross-Battle helps you train players on how to reach the next level of play by improving ball control, reading opponents’ play and choosing better shot selection.

By developing ball control and reading skills, this video is great for teaching younger, developing players how to implement awareness of play and communicate that awareness so they are equipped to handle whatever their opponents throw at them.

Ball control

Lack of ball control is a huge issue with middle school and high school aged players. By using several variations of ball control drills, your players will work on movement control, ball control and communication. The drills get players to work on contacting the ball in a variety of ways while working with a partner to keep the ball from hitting the floor.

The large group ball control drills work on communication and reading the situation. These drills also allow all players to get reps setting and playing defense, no matter what position they usually play. The drills in this section are great for both warming up and improving ball control skills


One big issue younger players often have is they do not react or see what’s going on with the ball until it’s on their side of the court. Coach Cross-Battle explains and demonstrates how to train anticipation and reading of what’s going on while the ball is on the other side of the court. This will help your players get into better position on the court to make a play on the ball.

Coach Cross-Battle introduces a series of drills that will help your players learn to track the peak of the serve, allowing them to read it before it gets on their side of the net. She also explains how it’s best for players to read the pass on the other side of the net. This helps blockers understand where they’ll be going, depending on the pass.

The drills shown here will help defenses stop guessing where the attack will come from and teach them to hold and react to the pass and set.

Hitting shots

Hitters need to be able to do more than one thing with the ball. Coach Cross-Battle gives you drills to help your hitters craft different shots and add more to their offensive repertoire. She demonstrates drills that help train attackers on the proper mechanics of rolls shots, deep corner shots and attacks off of the blockers hands. Players will work on their different shots while also focusing on reading and calling out what they see.

This video is perfect for coaches who have always scratched their head trying to figure out how to get their players to see what’s happening on the court and get them in better position defensively. Your players will have a better understanding of reading serves and analyzing what the other team is doing offensively.

Produced at the 2015 AVCA National Convention.

50 minutes. 2016.