Injuries are an ongoing problem for volleyball players, especially those at the club and high school level. Stress fractures, back problems, knee and shoulder injuries are all unfortunate realities for many young athletes during seasons filled with practices and multi-day tournaments.
The good news is, you can help your players lower the risk of these injuries (and their severity) by teaching them the exercises shared here by AOC fitness expert Marie Zidek, an assistant coach at University of San Diego and Wave Volleyball Club.
As Marie discusses in the video, there are four phases to prevention training for a club season. Here, we’ll cover Phase 1, which consists of exercises for both preseason and the early part of the regular season.
Before practices, players should get in a good dynamic warmup. Here are 8 exercises that Marie recommends to get your players warm, loose and ready for volleyball. Each of them is demonstrated in the video that follows.
- High knees: Knees up, arms swinging forward to a 90-degree position, shoulders moving.
- Butt-kickers: Bring heal up to butt.
- Lateral lunge: Sit back and down, keep the shoulders up and back. Don’t lean forward! Press on the back of the heels and feet.
- Half skips: Like high skips, except you cut it in half. Focus is on knee drive and staying in a straight line. Hips should not be moving side to side.
- High skips: Going for hang time here, so the arms should be loosened up from the 90-degree position they used earlier for high knees.
- Sumo squats: 2 or 3 backward arm circles, then spread feet wider than shoulder width apart and sit back and down, like sitting in a chair.
- Inchworms: Crawl on hands and feet while leaving feet in place, then stop the hands and walk the feet up to the hands.
- Lateral bounds: face one direction, press off the back leg, cover a lot of distance. Keep the back leg long and stiff.
Circuit workout: Part 1
Following the dynamic warmup, a circuit workout further prepares the athletes for practice. For these exercises, Marie divides her 9-player team into 3 groups of 3. One group is on the service line with med balls, another is at mid-court and the third is at the net. The numbers can obviously be adjusted depending on the size of the team. Watch the video to see a demonstration of the first circuit workout.
- Service-line exercises: Giant circle with a squat – 10 reps clockwise, 10 reps counterclockwise. One squat for each revolution.
- Mid-court exercises: Plank. Held until squat-circlers are finished.
- Net exercises: 20 meter-step block jumps at the net.
Circuit workout: Part 2
Like Part 1, the second circuit has 3 players on the service line with a med ball, 3 at mid-court and 3 more at the net. This time, the athletes do these 3 exercises:
- Service-line exercises: Med ball pickup to overhead press – 10 reps on one leg, 10 reps on the other leg.
- Midcourt exercise: Scissor switch jumps. Go for length and drive through the heels.
- Net exercises: Negative pushups. (Good for young players to develop upper body and core strength.) Players start with knees on the floor, chest on the ground and legs crossed, then press up and then lower themselves back to the floor while counting to 5.
Circuit workout: Part 3
The final circuit also has the players do 3 exercises. Once again, they start from the service line, mid-court or the net, then switch. This phase of the workout includes:
- Service-line exercise: Squat to overhead press, 20 reps total. Emphasis is on keeping heels on the ground for the squat and shoulders and chest up and back. Medicine ball should be on the body as the athlete moves upward. The move finishes with the ball above the head and the biceps hugging the ears.
- Mid-court exercise: Side-to-side hop and hold, 10 reps in each direction. Movement is similar to that of a speed skater. This exercise helps with single-leg strength and balance.
- Net exercise: Volleyball shuffle, 20 reps. Helps build leg strength and endurance.