Unique Teaching Cues and Progressions for Beginner Volleyball Players

Volleyball is a hard sport to teach to lower grades but with the right equipment and proper cues and progressions it can be a fun engaging unit in your physical education program. Using unique teaching cues and progressions can help students learn proper form and develop movement skills to prepare them to be successful in volleyball as they enter middle school.


Unique Teaching Cues:

  1.  Meatball on a plate
  2.  Your heel (of your strong hand) is the fork to hit the meatball off the plate.
  3.  Never throw the plate and meatball up in the air. You must hit the meatball while on the plate with the fork (heel of your hand).

Key Points to emphasize:

  1. Don’t throw the ball up.
  2. Hit the ball on the bottom corner of the ball with the heel of your strong hand.
  3. Step with the opposite foot as you swing.
  4. Keep your eye on the ball until contact is made with your heel.

Passing (Bumping):

Unique Teaching Cues:

  1. Make a hotdog with a fist and thumb up
  2. Wrap bun around the hot dog (other hand wraps around fist)
  3. Put ketchup and mustard on it (put thumbs down next to each other)
  4. Put hotdog out on sticks to cook over campfire (straight arms)
  5. Don’t swing the hotdog or it will fly off the sticks and land in the bushes
  6. The ball lands on the sticks (wrists), no ketchup or mustard on the ball (don’t hit hands)
  7. No cement blocks on your feet (move to the ball)

Key Points to emphasize:

  1. Correct hand position (hotdog and bun)
  2. Arms Straight out with thumbs pointing down
  3. Pop, Don’t Drop (with arms straight out, pop by lifting shoulders as thumbs point down)
  4. Don’t bring your arms down before you pop or hit the ball on the wrists
  5. Make contact on the flat platform on your wrists
  6. Do not swing your arms
  7. Bend and extend your legs as you hit
  8. Move your feet to get to the ball


Unique Teaching Cues:

  1. Hold your hands up like drinking from a big water bottle (hands close to your nose)
  2. Wave thumbs up and down to show they are in the correct place in front of your face
  3. Superman finish with hands (fingers and thumbs point up and no wrist bending)
  4. Crimelab would find the ball having fingerprints from all ten fingers after the hit, no palms
  5. No cement blocks on your feet (move to get under the ball)

Key Points to emphasize:

  1. Fingers spread with hands over your face while looking up
  2. Elbows bent and spread wide
  3. All ten fingers making contact with the ball
  4. Hands shoot up with thumbs and fingers pointing up (no bending wrists)
  5. Bend and extend your legs as you set
  6. Move your legs to get under the ball

Progressions for K- 5th Grade Volleyball Drill and Activities:

  1. Use balloons and work on keeping balloons up with different assigned body parts (fingerprints, elbows, heads, knees, thumbs, etc.)
  2. Use balloons and work with a partner taking turns to hit the balloon and keep it up
  3. Use balloons to work on the correct form for serving, passing, and setting
  4. Use beachballs with your partner taking turns to hit the beachball and keep it up. (10” beach balls work great)
  5. Use beachballs to serve and catch with partners
  6. Use beachballs to pass or set back and forth.
  7. Use beachballs to serve and return with passes and sets in a rally.
  8. Use soft trainers for serving over the net (lower the net to 6 feet).
  9. Use soft trainers with partners tossing to each other and returning with passes or sets (also platform passing with the passer on one knee).
  10. Use soft trainers to pass or set back and forth.
  11. Use small cones to catch a fleece ball to work on form and movement skills for setting.
  12. Serving relay races. Teams of 3-4 line up to serve and retrieve. Compete to a certain number of successful serves over the net. Two balls per team keep students continually moving to retrieve their serve and improve their fitness levels.
  13. Play clean your backyard, serving balls over the net.
  14. Play Newcomb Volleyball Game. This game starts each play with a serve but then uses catching and throwing to return the ball.  The focus is on learning the volleyball rotation, good serving, and moving to the ball with communication.
  15. Foam Paddle Volleyball Passing Drill: Use foam paddles and foam tennis balls to work on form for passing (see video).

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