Players in a Wash Drill Must Achieve a Certain Number of Consecutive Plays, or Start 
Again From “0
Players in a Wash Drill Must Achieve a Certain Number of Consecutive Plays, or Start Again From “0

Volleyball: Wash Drill Teaches Performance Under Pressure

Dick Moss, Editor

Champion volleyball teams are filled with players who thrive in pressure situations—players who can come back from a 14 to 9 deficit, or win several points in a row when necessary.

How do you get players with this ice-cool mentality? You train it into them during practice. If they experience pressure repeatedly during practice, they'll be less affected by it during crucial games.

The Wash Drill is a concept you can use during scrimmages to teach your players to perform under such pressure. It was used with great success by Coach Bill Neville with the USA Olympic team, before winning gold in the 1984 Games.

The Wash Drill
The concept is simple. Have your players conduct a regular scrimmage, but with  the goal of scoring on five consecutive serves. If they fail before reaching five, they must start from scratch—even if they've made it all the way to four successes.

You can vary the scrimmage depending on your players' level of ability and your available time—these scrimmages be quite lengthy. To modify a scrimmage, you might use a three-serve game for less consistent players.


  • The wash drill can be used on other aspects of the game besides scoring offensive points. For example, you could require five successful service receptions, spikes, defensive digs, etc. As long as the requirement is consecutive successful plays, your players will have to overcome pressure to perform.

1. Sally Kus, Coaching Volleyball Successfully, Kindle Edition, Human Kinetics, 2013.
2. Carl McGown, (PhD—Editor), Science of Coaching Volleyball, Human Kinetics Publishers, 1994.

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© 2013, Physical Education,

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