T Nation

Volleyball and a New Training Program

My 15 y/o daughter just finished with varsity volleyball and is in the off season. She wants to go to the gym with me and lift to improve her verticle jump and her hitting power.

Has anyone worked with volleyball players and set up a program with this sport in mind?

I am planing on starting her with the main lifts, squat, deads, bench, rows and chins. I figure if she is strong all over it will improve her overall performence.

Any sugestions would be kindly axcepted!

I coach boys HS volleyball and have advised some kids on lifts they should be doing off season to become more explosive, the big compounds are first and formost, with focus on powerlifting style. Heavy and explosive lifting. Plyometrics, jumping rope, wall jumps (she should know what these are).

Hitting power is mainly a function of proper form and armspeed, it really has very little to do with actual strength. Some of the skinniest kids on our team and other can crank the hell outta the ball. The process of hitting the ball is much more involved than a simple arm swing, with proper form the shoulder and torso will “open up” and then close creating a moving base on which the arm swing occurs. This is where you can add some real power, much the same way a javelin thrower employs rotational power into throwing in a linear path, or a golf swing transfers torsional power into sending the ball in a linear path.

The hitter should hop into a 2 footed launch platform, feet shoulder width apart, and use your body wheight to deepen the crouch thus causing more muscle tension and greater elastic response of the muscles. the arms should be slung backwards like a downhill shiers poles, straight and back, then upon accelerating up, the arms swing foward and up, aiding in the jump process and setting the arms in the correct hitting position. the hitting arm should be slung back into a cocked hitting position, again using the momentum of the upswing to drive the arm further back than it would normally go just raising it into that position. This causes more muscle tension again and allows for an elastic muscle response to accelerate the arm fatser. The non hitting arm is held out in front sort of as an aiming device. It really improves contact with the ball to “size it up” with the non hitting arm good ball contact also affects how hard the ball will hit the floor or the defender. ( I like to visualize it like my body is a gun, with my left arm being the scope, and my right arm cocked back in the hammer position like a real gun would have. then when I feel the target is in my crosshairs, I fire the gun and this also helps to create the feeling of explosion. So when you pull the trigger, (your shoulders should have naturally opened by having one arm in front and one behind you), you drive the non hitting arm backwards, and the hitting one should unleash like a whip (Think of a pitchers arm mechanics), with your hand being at the end of the whip and generating tremendous speed right about the time it is approaching the ball. the rest is history, your eyes are locked on the ball, your hand is on a terrorizing path to collide directly with the center of it, driving it down in a fury of white leathery hell.

Ok so maybe I got a little carried away, but she should work on her hitting technique as well as getting stronger overall to hit more powerfully next year.

One of the best things this site has done for me and my boys is to let me know that the best strength coaches in the world will respond to my questions. I have been on this site since it started, and in an article was introduced to a coach named Al Vermiel. He sells a program called Success Through Training. It contains a work-out and accompanying video that explains the nuts and bolts of the workout, and the rationale behind the program. It is easily administered. My sons really progressed in this work-out over the years, and I was able to coach them through it. Volleyball is explosion, vertical jumping, strength and power. This program helps you get it. Technique training coupled with this would get your daughter where she wants to go. It builds a great “base”, and then progresses with lifting, plyos, sprinting, medicine ball, and conditioning. Good Luck to your daughter. People who train hard and smart get what they want.

In addition to the suggestions listed above, I would highly recommend looking into a device called the “Russian Leaper” if increasing vertical leap is a high priority (which it should be). It’s basically a platform with thick surgical tubing connected to the sides. The tubing connects to a harness, which is worn around the torso. You put the harness on and connect the tubing, and then try jumping off the platform. The elastic only allows you to get a few inches off the ground, and then snaps you back down.
There are many different training programs designed for this device. My high school track coach used it for his sprinters, and I used it when I was playing high school volleyball. I increased my vertical jump to 37".
This has been the cornerstone of every jump training program I’ve ever used (I’ve coached all levels from girls club volleyball to D-1 Men’s college.) It should be combined with box jumps, jump rope, and many of the other things already suggested here…but in my opinion, this is the ultimate tool. You should definitely look into it.
My other suggestion would be for her to just play a ton of volleyball in the offseason and focus on her technique. The best way to jump higher and hit harder is to LEARN to jump higher and hit harder.

Thanks for the input guys!

SHe has a great coach who’s an ex-professional beach player and puts in all the time she can at the court.

AAU starts soon but will only be once a week at first, with clinics and open court times.

In the mean time, getting her stronger is my focus. I’ll let the Coach teach the technique.

Thanks again