Donan Cruz: Practicing with a Purpose

Donan Cruz: Practicing with a Purpose
Item# VD-05413
Availability: Usually ships the same business day

Product Description

Tighten up your team's focus for each practice to boost their overall growth!

  • Learn to create a goal for each practice session to keep your team focused on what you want to accomplish
  • Gradually add layers to each practice to supplement the overall point of emphasis
  • Use team and individual feedback to improve your players immediately and motivate them over the long run

with Donan Cruz,
Grand View University Head Men's Coach;
2018 NAIA Men's Volleyball National Invitational Champions;3x AVCA NAIA Men's Volleyball National Coach of the Year ('14, '15, '17)

In this video, Donan Cruz demonstrates how to create a practice plan that builds to focus on a specific skill. He will help you understand how to streamline your practice to focus on one or two skills and how to provide feedback to your players to encourage growth in that area.


Many times, the warm-up period of practice is spent doing non-volleyball specific activities. Cruz suggests creating a theme or goal for the practice and shows ways to warm-up with the intention of improving a specific skill. From there, you will want to build layers or progressions that build up toward meeting your goal for the practice.

For example, if the goal of a practice is to improve out of system attacking, then practice could begin with partner setting. From there, players could progress to setting over the right shoulder, setting over the left shoulder, and self-passing with a set to the right or left hitting position

Adding Layers to a Practice Plan

Coach Cruz has his team demonstrate by extending the concepts of a single drill until the team has progressed to scrimmaging while focusing on a specific skill. He explains how each element of the practice creates a new layer toward incorporating the skill throughout the team. Next, Cruz extends the original warm-up drill with new elements to provide an example of improving out of system attacking.

Live Drills and Feedback

Finally, Cruz demonstrates ways to provide feedback to your team collectively so that the focus of the practice remains at the forefront of the team's attention. Additionally, he shows how to provide feedback to individual players that helps them focus on improving that skill.

Among the many points that Cruz makes throughout this section, you should especially consider:

  • Players should feel safe to make mistakes in practice. Coaches should allow athletes to practice being aggressively smart with their attacks.
  • Each practice should be organized and well thought out, but you may need to deviate from the original practice plan if an injury happens or key player cannot attend.
  • Individual skill development will occur more or less depending on where the team is at in the season. Most skill development takes place before the season, but there may be stretches during the season where there are fewer games, which allows for additional in-season development.

This video demonstrates how to practice with a purpose. Coach Cruz spends a great deal of time explaining how teams can add layers or progressions to their practice plans in order to achieve their goals for the day. Cruz-coached teams have an excellent track record for improving year after year, and this approach can be implemented with any team.

46 minutes. 2018.

Volleyball Videos