AAU Coaching Girls Volleyball Series: Winning Defensive Systems

featuring Anne Kordes, University of Louisville Head Coach;
2010 and 2011 USA Select National Team Lead Coach; former St. Louis University Head Coach, 3x A-10 Coach of the Year; 2012 AVCA President

Every coach has struggled with which defense to use at some point in their careers. Which defense covers tips the best? What if my setter is not very fast? Whose ball is it anyway?

In this video, 2010 and 2011 USA Select National Team Lead Coach Anne Kordes answers these questions while teaching you the pros and cons of three most common defensive systems. You will see how you can customize each system to the needs of your team – or even the needs of an individual match – so you can have your best passers and hitters in each rotation.

When deciding which defensive system to employ, knowing your team is just as essential as knowing your opponent. Coach Kordes takes local 7th and 8th graders through a “rotation-by-rotation” explanation of the strengths of each system, when to use it, and how to teach it.

  • Setter Up – This defense emphasizes tip coverage and easy transition for the setter.
  • Perimeter – Allows your team to focus on defense against deep hitting teams.
  • Rotation – If your team puts up a strong block, this system is great to use against teams who hit deep line and angle but also tip.

Kordes takes time to discuss mini alterations – useful when using perimeter and rotation defenses – that will help your team pick up tips in a perimeter system and cross shot in a rotation system. She also makes a point to demonstrate how to put your setter in position to easily transition to the net.

Kordes gives coaches of all levels the keys to teaching each defense, the keys to transition to offense, and then back again. With four simple cue words, training each defense is made simple:

  • Base – Know where to place each player on the court before the play develops.
  • Read – Athletes adjust their position based on the developing play.
  • Stage – Players defend the ball and transition to offense.
  • Cover – Team defends against the block.

Using these same cues for each defense, Kordes thoroughly explains where players should be and why helping to answer that age old question, “Was that my ball?” Kordes covers a variety of situations, including sharing her own “Card Red” adjustment, preparing coaches for whatever comes their way. Drill work is demonstrated for each defense, first without a ball (to focus on proper positioning) and later adding a ball to make implementation quick and easy.

No matter the level of your team, knowing how they best move on the court is important to determining which defensive system will be most successful for them. Use this video to help effectively match an appropriate defensive system with your team’s ability and start picking up those killer tips and tough digs.

(This series of videos was produced by Championship Productions in association with AAU (The Amateur Athletic Union).