Suggested workouts for volleyball players in the pre-season



Original by Marlene Piper, University of California, Davis
Chapter 23 in the book, Volleyball's Cadre Collection

"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.

1. Cardiovascular Fitness

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.

2. Flexibility Exercises

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.

3. Sprints

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.

4. Weight 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.

5. Plyometrics

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.

6. Daily Compulsory Tasks

There are a few exercises that can be done every day with no equipment and no excuses.

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

Swim, SKWIM and Water Polo coach and publisher in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Executive Director of SKWIM USA, a nonprofit advocate organization and webmaster to the International Swim Coaches Association. Head varsity and middle-school swim coach for The Ellis School. Former candidate for public office on multiple occasions.

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