"Since each team has only two to three weeks of preparation time prior to competition, each player must do something over the summer."
Volleyball coaches face the month of August with a certain amount of apprehension. "Will their players return to school in top physical condition after the summer vacation?"
Since each team has only two to three weeks of preparation time prior to competition, each player must "do something" over the summer.
There are many variables involved in designing a program. The challenge for each coach is to put a schedule of activities together that accommodates the needs of each returning participant. The following paragraphs include some components of a training and conditioning program for these critical months.
The athlete should work on cardiovascular fitness three to five times per week for 20 to 30 minutes with the heart rate above 140 beats per minute. Activities such as running, biking, swimming and rowing are suggested. Do the running on grass or a beach.
It is possible to enhance the ability to perform volleyball skills by increasing the range of motion in the shoulder, trunk and legs. Each coach should diagram and describe eight or ten exercises that the athletes should do, based on individual needs. Partner work with a PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) emphasis is recommended. Stretching should be done every day.
Sprint work should be incorporated into the overall plan and performed twice per week. Early June work-outs should include 200 meter sprints and by mid-August the emphasis should be on 20 and 50 meter dashes. In addition, short bursts of five to eight steps (similar to a quick sprint for a wayward ball on the court) should be part of August training.
This component is important but also difficult to incorporate. The athlete needs instruction and practice from January through May and then each athlete should continue an individualized program over the summer months. The athletes need supervision and experience before they can be expected to perform the exercises and the weight training program properly and safely.
Lifting two to three times per week is recommended and some favorite exercises include: squats, power cleans, push press, bench press and lunges. Various circuits can be used as well as inner tubes with sand, surgical tubing, bales of hay and other things.
Exercises should involve the arms as well as the legs. A medicine ball, plyo ball or even a basketball can be used to get the arms absorbing and tossing as quickly as possible. The leg work should include depth jumps, spike approaches, block jumps, bounding and bleachers. One favorite is the bleacher jumps with an aggressive arm action that is similar to a spike approach. Another favorite is jumping two stairs at a time up the bleachers as quickly as possible on wooden bleachers. Do three sets of eight repetitions with ten or so jumps per bleacher. Plyometric exercises should be done one to two times per week. Don't over train.
CAUTION! If you don't know what you are doing, -- Don't do it!
A water work-out in the pool is highly recommended. Include block jumps, sprints, arm action of spiking and of course cool down with water massage.
There are a few exercises that can be done every day with no equipment and no excuses.
A friend from long ago, B, swam the fastest 400 IM in the NCAA Division 2 -- in prelims. Then the meet was called off. He couldn't swim in finals. He posted a great summary and some verses that I've replayed at the Facebook group, Pittsburgh Schenley Swimming.
Our PIAA swim meet for class AAA had its day 2 finals called off too. At least everyone got wet there, as the 2A meet didn't even begin -- yet.
With the ending of sports for now, how does one sum up the frustrations?
More sports are calling from the future. For our high school swimmers who saw their seasons end, then it is College Club swimming that calls. Sure, most won't be NCAA athletes, but, there is still life in the pool to come. Life is long.
Lucky for us, swimmers and coaches, we are in a life-long sport and aquatics opens up plenty of doors. Water polo, Lifeguard competitions. Open water, Coaching, being a swim instructor and even being an on-deck official. This bitter time -- let it be a seed of motivation to help to make sure none of the other youngsters yet to come to these ages are denied opportunities.
Turns in life are often full of surprises. Here is mine: My son didn't swim as a HS senior. I was his coach. Now as a college senior, he is signed up for a 10K swim in Miami and a 12.5 mile swim in FL Keys. These events, may or may not happen too. Who knows? But, take the long view. Plus, my son's college water polo club team (co-ed) goes to Texas A&M for a tournament in a couple of weeks. That won't happen either I expect.
We hope to see all of those kids in open-water swims for the decades to come.
To the athletes of other sports, coaching, being an official, playing in master games and rec leagues is often a blast. Pick up the triathlon, and do it with some friends.
Peace. Stay healthy.
The word-cloud graphic was flashed on an ESPN pre-game show between the Memphis Tigers and the Penn State Nits at the end of 2019.
The Memphis Athletic Director, Laird Veatch, held up a word cloud used in the coach-selection process at the Dec. 13, 2019, presser. "Ryan won this job," he said. (Geoff Calkins/Daily Memphian)
What is of interest here -- is that the largest word is CARES.
Use the comments to shout out to one or more of your favorite sports coaches, present or past.
Sorry about the stuck CAPS lock.
Coach Tim Welsh, now retired from his position as the head swim coach at Notre Dame, has been a leader in American Swimming for decades. Way back when, Tim coached at Johns Hopkins and the Ohio University teams always swam a dual meet there in January.