Agility Drill with Penn State Soccer and Volleyball

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By Chad Zimmerman

Soccer has strict rules against using hands and arms to contact the ball, whereas volleyball allows those exact same body parts to score with kills, blocks, digs and hits.

On the surface, the two sports couldn't be more different. But look under the rules and you'll find similarities, especially in the skills required of the players. "Both soccer and volleyball players need to be able to move horizontally, backpedal and drop step, and move forward quickly," says Chip Harrison, Penn State University's head strength and conditioning coach.

Here, Harrison lays out the Box Drill—an exercise that with a few adaptations can benefit players of both sports.

• Set up four cones in a square
• Start at Cone 1 and sprint to Cone 2
• Shuffle laterally to Cone 3
• Drop step and backpedal to Cone 1
• Repeat in opposite direction, starting at Cone 4
• Complete 8-10 reps to each side

Size Difference

"Since the soccer field is much larger than the volleyball court, there is more ground to cover and less chance of running into people. So, we use 10 to 15 yards between cones with the soccer team and 10 to 15 feet with the volleyball team."

Movement Difference

"When the volleyball players get to the backpedal portion of the drill, our volleyball coaches make them pivot their hips toward Cone 1 while keeping their head toward Cone 3. The soccer players use a normal backpedal.

Surface Difference

"Soccer and volleyball are played on different surfaces, so of course we don't work with the volleyball team on grass or Astroturf or with the soccer team on hardwood."

Rest Difference

"Soccer has a greater endurance component, because the activity is more continuous. Volleyball is discrete, with points or side-outs causing breaks in play every few seconds. Since being tired cardiovascularly doesn't influence their game as much as soccer players, volleyball players get a slightly longer rest time. For soccer, we shorten the rest interval so the players have to function in a fatigued state. To create these rests, we place maybe two or three soccer players per station and four or five volleyball players per station. No player can go until the previous player completes the drill."

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock