I recently wrote a post in which I made the statement that I hate the ‘drill’ we normally call Free Spiking. Given that I used the word ‘hate’, which is a pretty strong word, I thought it was incumbent on me to explain why.
For clarification, ‘Free Spiking’ is the spiker initiated drill that happens in most training sessions. Click here for a good description. What I will call ‘Alternative 1’ is the drill that I use for the same purpose that involves a coach playing the ball over the net to begin the action. Click here for a good description. Normally, I would do this from both sides of the net in an alternating manner. To compare the two drills, I have prepared a table which looks at different elements in the drills and analyses whether or not the drills are more or less closely related to volleyball. Click on the table to expand it.
NOTES ON TABLE
* In both of these cases, the players could start in the correct positions, but don’t necessarily. Therefore we can call it a wash, or an advantage for Alternative 1.
**This is an important point. Two man pepper is an equally appalling drill, but has the advantage of more contacts in a shorter time. In this case, that advantage does not exist.
So it turns out that Alternative 1 is better than Free Spiking in at least five game specific areas. Free Spiking is better in exactly zero game specific areas and crucially, does not provide more contacts in a given time.
I would conclude that there is never a reason to include Free Spiking in your practice.