How To Do Ball Control in Volleyball

Ball control is an offensive strategy to control the movement of the ball to set up and execute plays. It’s the main focus of volleyball, and firm ball control is essential to winning. 

You must be able to control where the volleyball goes to work with your teammates and score a point. This is learned and perfected through practice, drills, and techniques. 

If you adopt the following habits, it will help you refine how you work with your team to control the ball. 

Importance Of Learning Ball Control in Volleyball

Without ball control, volleyball plays and strategies can not be implemented in gameplay.  Beginner volleyball players need to start practicing this early to improve their skills and work better with a team. 

How well a player controls the ball directly reflects their experience level and skills. And the team that controls the volleyball controls the scoreboard. 

How To Have Better Ball Control in Volleyball

The main components necessary for ball control are speed and technique. The goal is to beat the volleyball to its destination and then pass it accurately. This means that to accomplish the level of ball control you want, you’ll need to focus on two things: speed and setting up for a pass. 

Increase Foot Speed

To get positioned behind the ball, you will need to work on increasing your foot speed. Increased speed will allow you to reach the ball faster and get behind it to set up for a pass. 

Stay light on your feet, so you are ready to run in any direction. Keep in mind you may only need to shuffle or sidestep slightly. The initial explosive move from your stopped position is crucial to getting to your destination quickly.  

Be focused and anticipate where the volleyball is going to land. Then, the goal is to be at that spot before the ball gets there. 

Be Stopped When Passing

When you meet the volleyball at its destination, you will need to set yourself up for the pass quickly. The proper passing technique is key to ball control. Have a plan where you want to send the ball and execute that. 

Beginners need to find their balance and posture before making contact with the volleyball. Do not try to run and pass at the same time, as it is much more difficult to aim correctly. 

For more accurate ball control, follow these steps when setting up a volleyball pass:

  1. Stop and focus on the ball.
  2. Find your balance with both feet on the ground or in a grounded position.
  3. Square shoulders and body to the net.
  4. Quickly find your posture. Make your platform with your hands clasped and elbows together, thumbs pointing down and forward.
  5. Plan where your pass will go and complete the pass.

Stay focused, and do not wing your arms when you pass the ball. A pass should be a tightly controlled motion. If you use too much of your upper body, it will be more difficult to aim accurately.  

Volleyball Ball Control Drills For Beginners

Ball control drills help improve core volleyball skills. These drills will increase:

  • Reaction speed
  • Foot speed
  • Setting skills
  • Hitting form
  • Passing techniques

Most drills can be done at home and individually; all you need is a volleyball. 

The following ball control drills help you learn and perfect how to better control the ball for more successful plays on the court.

Individual / Solo

  • Pass and Set Drill: In this drill, alternate passing and setting the ball to yourself. The goal is to practice adjusting the height and power of a hit to improve your aim. You’ll want to complete this drill without running all over; instead, focus on aiming the ball back to you.
  • Sit and Stand Passing: Start by passing to yourself while standing. Then, go to one knee and transition to sitting on the ground. Work your way back up to standing while passing to yourself. You can do this drill passing, setting, or alternating. This drill helps you find your balance quickly and improves mobility.
  • Footwork Drills: Footwork drills improve balance and foot speed while increasing ankle and leg strength and stability. These drills come in many forms. An example would be to start in an athletic stance and jump from side to side, left foot to right foot, and pause on one foot, holding your balance.


  • Partner Passing Drill: Passing to and from your teammates is a foundation skill for every player. Working on this with a partner will help improve aim and overall ball control.
  • Target-Based Control Drills: Target drills are an easy way to start applying ball control techniques. These drills can be modified for any skill level, and you can increase the difficulty as you improve. Simply set a target and aim to hit it. The target is usually your setter or another teammate, but you can also do target drills on your own with a visual target.


  • Three Hit Switch Drill: This is a fast-paced drill to help improve speed, ball control, and team communication. It is usually done in groups of three. First, the three players will bump the volleyball. The third player will bump it over the net and all players will run under the net to continue.


A circuit incorporates multiple drills and exercises to make a series. Circuits are a great way to improve technical skills, stamina, and teamwork. Modified circuits can also be done alone as conditioning. 

A circuit can be any combination of exercises. Typically, it includes a passing drill, a running drill, and a strengthening exercise. They are a great way to simulate gameplay and keep players focused during practice. 


The key to improving ball control is consistency. Practicing drills truly does hone muscle memory, increase strength, and improve speed. Over time, you will see an improvement in passing skills and your ability to get the ball to its target. 

There is nothing quite like playing the sport you love and excelling at it. To do so, always continue learning and practicing your technical skills.