January is an exciting time of year for volleyball players. The extensive hours spent practicing and the first tournaments of the year help athletes build their skills for the coming season as well as a common bond with their teammates. To make the most out of your January training this year, set realistic goals that will help you focus on one piece of the puzzle at a time.
- Pick Up a Good Habit
The beginning of the year is an excellent time to set expectations for yourself, including how you will execute daily tasks in training. Every athlete can think of a handful of skills they can improve upon. Small details in your sport can make the difference between winning and losing come championship season. Pick a skill or two, this can be footwork at the net, engaging your core while hitting, or even mental, to be hyper-disciplined on in practice now so they become second nature when it matters most.
- Learn a New Technique
The corollary to cementing good habits with existing skills is dedicating time now to harness new ones. Whether you focus on a more complex exercise in the gym or a technical skill on the court, January is the time to push the boundaries on your athleticism. Incorporate a dynamic warmup, graduate to the higher box jump, or improve your serve. Actively dedicating yourself to a new skill reinforces the notion that you can always improve and simply keeps you more engaged in early season training.
Seated Box Jump
- Build Your Strength
If there’s one component of your training that can dramatically improve this year—it’s your strength training. There are countless movement patterns to learn and perfect, so get comfortable with being constantly sore in preseason and even during the week throughout the season. These workouts focus on re-engaging muscles to activate them after the period of rest in the offseason. In January, you’ll need to be both conditioning to build a foundation of endurance and strength for the year and to be improving your volleyball skills. In addition to cardiovascular training, which builds obvious endurance, strength training is essential in the preseason to regaining eccentric force, power, and isokinetic strength. Additionally, strength training builds the necessary musculature to protect high-risk joints from injury – see more on preventing ACL injuries. Your goal here should focus specifically on becoming a better volleyball player through this work. Here are a couple exercises that are valuable for every position on the court.
1-Arm MB Throwdown
TRX Mountain Climbers
- Record Your Baseline
The best athletes take note of where their starting point is for the season. With an organized strength and conditioning program aided by BridgeAthletic, athletes can document their baseline at the start of the year and follow their progress. One can only continue to challenge their body by understanding their progress to date and recording both quantitative and qualitative aspects of their development. Note how much resistance you can move with through an exercise and how well you technically execute such movements. Once you’ve got your baseline set, then you can track your progress as you build your strength and athletic ability.
- Enjoy the Game
These next few weeks are going to be hard with heavy practice and training, no doubt, but a large part of getting into and through the season in one piece has to do with your attitude. Spend time with teammates in between practices to recover mentally as well as physically. January is about sharpening your skills so you and your teammates are ready to make a championship run come late spring and summer. Stay warm, stay hungry, and, with these tips in training, you know all you need to have a successful start.