No matter what level of volleyball you coach, it’s important to include some type of sports performance program in your team's training routine.
To guide you in this area and help you map out a fitness plan that will suit your athletes, Art of Coaching Volleyball has enlisted the expertise of Marie Zidek, an assistant coach for the University of San Diego women’s volleyball team. She has master's degree in sports medicine and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist.
In the article and videos below, Marie shares her thoughts on the importance of sports performance training, why it’s necessary for coaches to understand the basic movements of volleyball and how they can begin establishing a foundation through which exercises can be built to train these movements. She also talks about how proper jumping technique can reduce wear and tear on the body.
Marie's advice and instructional videos will be featured regularly on TheArtofCoachingVolleyball.com.
Zidek talks here about the primary objective of a sports performance program: To prevent injuries so your athletes can train at 100 percent and maximize their chances to improve.
When a coach includes strength and conditioning, plyometrics and a sports performance program in the team’s routine, it goes a long way towards minimizing shoulder injuries, abdominal problems and other injuries that are common to volleyball.
Young players can benefit greatly from sports performance training. As Zidek explains, a 12-year-old’s training will likely be different than the training of a high school athlete, but she encourages an early start so players can establish good habits that will help them as they move up to higher levels of play.
According to Zidek, four important movements in volleyball are:
- Triple extension
- Rotation around spine
- Multiplanar plyometric movement that is fluid in execution
- Overhead stabilization
In order to properly train the four important movements listed above, Zidek says it is imperative that coaches teach athletes at a young age how to lunge, squat and throw with proper mechanics. She says it's also important to train them how to jump and land correctly.
Let’s start off with the jump and the jump landing. This is a good place to begin for the simple reason that jumping is obviously a huge part of volleyball. Statistics indicate that college volleyball players jump between 120 and 180 times in a single practice. Certainly, club and high school athletes log a lot of jumps, too.
In this video, Zidek demonstrates the simple mechanics of a stable jump and landing. Note the way she lands and cushions the impact on her body by bending her knees as her feet hit the floor.