A volleyball-specific strength and conditioning program can optimize a player’s performance on the court. Whether athletes are still developing or competing at the highest level, spending time in the weight room building a strength foundation can be the difference between winning and losing a game. Here are three key reasons why volleyball coaches should incorporate strength training in their program:
Strength and Power
Volleyball is a sport dominated by strength and power. Players need power in their legs to get high in the air and strength in their upper body to spike, block, and dig balls. Lifting weights stimulates muscle fibers to grow, which allows athletes to produce more force at faster rates. Thus, as players get stronger their explosive power also heightens on the court. Strengthening volleyball-specific muscles ensures that athletes are able to reach their maximum performance potential. For example, core strength is vital for a player’s stability and allows hitters to transition power more efficiently from their lower body to their upper body and arm swing. Muscle fibers grow when directly stimulated by the stress of strength training, which makes lifting an athlete’s best tool for developing the power to jump higher and serve more forcefully.
Jumping and Agility
Volleyball requires explosive jumps and rapid changes in direction. The ability to jump high is treasured amongst volleyball players because of the importance for spiking the ball as well as defending spikes from opponents. Vertical jumping is all about ground force production, core stability, and quick hips. In order for players to improve vertical jumps, they must spend time in the weight room doing deadlifts, squats, and other exercises that strengthen leg and hip muscles. Additionally, being able to track and quickly change directions to keep the ball in play is key to winning points. An effective strength and conditioning program incorporates agility drills and lateral movements to improve foot speed. Putting in the extra effort in the weight room will make players more dominant on the court.
Injury Prevention and Flexibility
Not only do volleyball players need to be skilled, strong, and powerful, they also need to be healthy. Volleyball is a high-impact sport and with all the jumping, landing, cutting, and planting, an athlete’s body can take a beating. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding joints help protect from injury, but strenuous volleyball movements can cause these joints to temporarily weaken. Without sufficient recovery time or muscle strength, players will experience injuries over time. Overuse injuries include patellofemoral syndrome, shoulder impingements, shin splints, and back pain. Undoubtedly, increasing strength levels will lower the risk of injury and muscle vulnerability. Stronger muscles are better able to absorb the shock from landings and quick change of directions. Additionally, developing a foundation of balanced strength and flexibility allows muscles to work together to minimize stress on the joints and ligaments. Flexibility increases range of motion, improves technique, and enables more force to be exerted. Therefore, implementing a volleyball-specific strength and conditioning program significantly helps prevent injuries.
A volleyball-specific strength and conditioning program optimizes athletic performance and takes players to the next level. Working hard in the weight room, translates to wins on the court.