Conditioning a Better Volleyball Athlete
This article is my first of many posts dedicated to Volleyball Specific Training. The first thing girls and guys do when they go to college is hit the gym. Whether your coach chooses kettle bells, bosu balls or Olympic lifts for explosive volleyball movements, it is one of the biggest changes from high school volleyball to college volleyball.
Because of “tradition” nearly every collegiate coach thinks that if they make their athletes stronger they will be able to perform at their best. As I take a look at Olympic athletes from many countries in the sport of volleyball, it doesn’t seem that they are extraordinarily muscular. So what is it that makes them so good?
Volleyball nutrition is a key element that I will not address right now. I just want to make a note, that there are very very few elite volleyball players with extra weight around their mid-section. They watch what they eat! Eat to train, train to win!
So how should be condition for volleyball? Let’s first ask, what are you trying to accomplish by conditioning? As both a volleyball coach and player I am 99% sure our primary focus is to be a better volleyball player individually and to win more games as a team.
Our goal isn’t really to jump higher, hit harder, or become stronger. Our deep down most basic desire is to be better and win games. What everyone is really trying to do is actually create better players. It’s just another way college volleyball coaches and high school volleyball coaches try and make their teams better.
Below is a quote from www.teachpe.com. (emphasis added)
This usually occurs when the two skills in question are similar in some way. Having already mastered one of the skills, makes learning the second skill easier. Coaches can aid this positive transfer by making sure the individual understands the similarities between the two skills and by making sure that the basics of the first skill are well learnt so that they transfer more easily into the second skill.
This occurs when having learnt one skill, makes learning the second skill more difficult. This more often happens when a stimulus common to both skills requires a different response. For example, a squash player who takes up tennis may find it difficult to learn to not use their wrist during shots. Negative transfer can be avoided by making sure the athlete is aware of the differences and making practice sessions similar to match situations to ensure a larger, generalized motor programmed.
Positive skill transfer is what many coaches always believe is happening. The research is not definitive on if positive or negative transfer is more common, but we do know that negative transfer does occur.
As a coach the last thing I want my volleyball conditioning program to do is to create a negative impact on my game performance. So while your performance and conditioning coach still tells you that “power cleans” are most similar to your vertical jump, he may not realize that if you train to power clean, your jumps will become more like a power clean (positive transfer) and limit your ability to jump forward for a back row attack. (negative transfer) My goal as a coach is not to develop skills to improve lifting performance, but rather develop skills to increase volleyball performance.
No you are saying, “Okay Coach, we get the point!” So what should we be doing? If you feel you absolutely have to hit the weight room, I suggest the least similar movements to volleyball. Avoid doing squats and power cleans.
I haven’t come up with a catch name yet, but I will be coming out with a training program designed specifically for volleyball. The program will consider all the things mentioned above plus many more reasons why you have to stop doing the crap you have been doing. It will all be explained in detail with videos.
For now, let me give you an example of a great exercise for volleyball. The forward lunge is an excellent exercise for volleyball. It is one of the most strenuous exercises on the entire leg musculature and it is a very rare movement in volleyball. Rarely do I put my right or left leg more than 1 foot in front of the other. There are specific of how and when to do them, which I will include in the first release.
Stop thinking in the box! If you want to be better in games, you have to be better in training and in practice.
See you on the court!