Volleyball and soccer are very similar games despite using opposite limbs during gameplay. Many of the drills and techniques performed in volleyball enhance skills and attributes that are also crucial in soccer, including hand-eye coordination, focus, footwork, reflexes, timing, positioning, and quickness. It is for this reason that soccer teams, both club and international, have started to incorporate a version of volleyball into their training sessions.
Soccer Footwork vs. Volleyball Footwork
To get a sense of how similar the two sports are, take a look this 3-step footwork pattern (see below video), which is used primarily in volleyball training. The drill looks rather simple, but if performed at full throttle, as in an actual game, the drill improves footwork, coordination, vision, and positioning. Shuffling full speed from one side to the other develops footwork. Keeping an eye on the ball while moving enhances vision and coordination. Getting under the volleyball at the right time and in the right stance, meanwhile, improves positioning. This type of footwork movement is commonly used in soccer training sessions.
Two Sports; One Love
There is also the element of mixing things up, which is an understated yet critical aspect of training. Athletes in a particular sport devote so much of their time to sport-specific training that things can sometimes get monotonous. It is always a good idea to break the monotony every once in a while by introducing something new, like a game of volleyball. Likewise, if you're a volleyball player, you can mix it up by trying these soccer exercises with your backyard volleyball net at home.
Footvolley Marries the Two Sports Together
The skill sets involved in playing both soccer and volleyball actually merge so well that a hybrid version of the two sports called footvolley was played in an exhibition game at the 2016 Rio Olympics . Brazilian Octavio de Moraes, officially credited as having invented footvolley, is even confident that this cross between two popular sports will one day make it to the Olympics as an official medal sport. The new sport is clearly catching on as Argentine superstar Lionel Messi incorporated footvolley into his training routine , along with some of his FC Barcelona teammates. The footvolley game worked on their agility and technique, and more and more student athletes are trying the same technique with their portable volleyball kits.
Footvolley Takes a Small Part of Center Stage
In its off-the-field coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Ladbrokes caught a spirited game of footvolley being played by Costa Rica. The game of footvolley certainly reflected the team’s confidence after they had beaten the highly fancied Uruguay and perennial powerhouse Italy to book a place in the round of 16. As the footage shows, players from the South American nation put up a makeshift net, marked off the playing area, and played a six-on-six footvolley game that involved some good-natured fun, a few well-timed lobs, and a handful of high-flying bicycle kicks. This turned out to be the perfect preparation for their next game, as they went on to beat Greece via penalty shootout. The team made it to the quarterfinals before losing to the Netherlands in a match that again ended in a penalty shootout.
While footvolley will never be large part of a soccer team’s training session, these examples show how it is still a useful component. The Costa Rica footvolley match shows the sense of camaraderie and teamwork being forged among teammates through playing a game other than soccer. And for anyone who has ever played sport can attest, a team is hard to beat when everyone is on the same page and working well together.
If you'd like to try Footvolley or just a few of the soccer training exercises you've seen here, you may need to invest in a portable volleyball net. We invite you to look through our selection and give it a try!
Exclusively written for cobravolleyball.com