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Cross-Over Volleyball Games


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A series of fun volleyball lead-up games and other teaching suggestions for grades 4-8.  
Submitted by Connie Adkins, West Virginia.


BACKGROUND: This is a fun progressive activity you can use with your 4-6 students to motivate them to set the ball up for the “ideal” play in the sport of volleyball. My kids love it! Before we play the game, let’s start off with a neat warm-up activity.

Be Ready for the Ball: This is a drill I often use after we have stretched for 2-3 minutes. I first review and practice with my students how a good volleyball player “moves after the ball” on the court. We practice side stepping left and right and moving forwards and backwards. We also add imaginary volleyball practice such as the bump, set, and spike to this drill. I look for the correct hand/body position on these basics as we practice with an imaginary ball.

Be Ready to Play with the Pros: Next, I show my students various videos for a few minutes. I taped the U.S. Olympic team from the 1988 Olympics and show the class how they do the skills. We practice the same skills and pretend that we are the Olympic Volleyball players!

After these warm-up activities, we practice the volleyball basics: bump, set, volley, spike, serve, one hand dig, and the dink shot. During these skill practice times, the students sometimes work by themselves by hitting the ball against the wall, or they work with partners. As they get better at each skill, I put them into larger groups of equal skill levels. During the last 5-8 minutes of the class, we play a variety of Cross-Over Volleyball lead-up games. Here’s how to play ‘em:


After teaching the “bump,” I have my students line up behind one side of the volleyball court. I stand on the other side of the court, just behind the net. The first person in line comes to the center back position on the court and stands in the “ready position.” I toss the ball over the net to the player, who must in turn try to bump pass the ball to either the left forward, center forward, or right forward positions – - not over the net. If the player makes a good bump pass, he or she stays in the game and goes to the back of the line.

If his pass is not good, he or she is eliminated and comes to my side of the court. To get back into the game, the eliminated player must either set or bump a ball that is accidentally hit over the net. Once your students understand this game, you can have several games going on at the same time by having a designated student being the tosser. By having several games at the same time, more students will be involved in this lead-up game.

You can develop an assortment of Cross-Over Volleyball games. Try playing “Set Cross-Over.” A leader tosses the ball and allows each player on the opposite side to do a good set pass.

“Serve Cross-Over” can be played using the sidearm serve, underhand serve, or the overhand serve. A good serve lets the player stay in the game, a bad serve causes the player to cross-over to the other side. A player is allowed to come back into the game by using either a set or bump pass.

If you happen to have more than six eliminated players, allow for more than one player to get back into the game. If a player does a good set or bump pass so that other players can continue setting or bumping the ball, each player making a good pass is able to return to the game!


Here’s another lead-up game for your 6th – 8th graders. Students form groups of threes for this activity. The first player (center back) bumps the tossed ball to the setter (center forward); the setter “sets” the ball for the spiker (left or right forward) who must spike the ball over the net. Since there are three players at a time, if any one player makes a mistake, all three players cross-over to the other side. To get back in, one player of the group of three must perform a good bump or set pass.

Enthusiasm is very high in this game because the kids know it’s the “ideal play” in the sport of volleyball. If they can do it, they qualify for the Olympic Tripples Team.

The students love “Tripples” and really try to move in and get in good position to hit the ball properly. It’s fun to see the other kids rave and cheer when a group gets back in. Try and see which Tripples team can last the longest!

Other Thoughts: Of course, you can have several games going on at the same time. One game to work on the bump pass, one game for the set pass, and one game for Tripples!


At the end of my unit, I award certificates and take group pictures of all of the students who consistantly were able to show progress in the skills and who were not eliminated during several “testing” games.

For example, I record the names of the students each day who were not eliminated during the various Cross-Over Volleyball games. These students were given certificates and were selected to be in one or more of the following clubs:

Super Bumper Club

Super Setters Club

Super Servers Club

Olympic Tripples Team

I hope you enjoy these fun volleyball lead-up games! We do!!

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