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"Olympics" Drill

Peter Smith
Peter Smith, varsity
Men's Coach at the
University of Southern
This drill for a large group of players has been provided by Peter Smith, varsity men's coach at the University of Southern California.  Smith has coached three different schools to Top 5 national rankings during his career and led USC to the 2004 NCAA semifinals.

It can be very challenging to keep a large group of players on a court busy, happy, and productive.  Everyone loves to play games, but the key is to make them useful.  If you have 10 people on the court, typically the only thing you can do is work on doubles or variations of doubles.  The drill that team members, campers, and everyone I have ever worked with loves is a game we call "Olympics."

You pair everyone up into groups of two and put one team on a side by themselves.  They are the "champions" until they get knocked off.  Everyone else is on the other side waiting against the fence for their turn to challenge the champions.  If one of the challenging teams wins two points in a row then they replace the champions.  This can be done with a coach feeding balls in or the paris challenging the champions starting the rally with a feed of their own.  I like to make this very high energy by putting some music on and getting everyone running when they win, lose, or get replaced.

It is even more fun if you have a group of 40 and can use four or five courts.  In this situation, have everyone keep track of every point they win (no matter what side they are on) and at the end of a song the team with the most points moves up a court and the team with the least points moves down a court.  To mix it up even more, you can change the way the games are played.  For example, you can say the challenger can only win a point at the net, have the champions start each point at the net, disallow winners, or you are out if you hit the ball into the net.  Be creative and you'll have fun while being productive!